RubiCrown’s Founding Team

September 8, 2020


RubiCrown is a new commercial real estate services firm that uses digital tools, analytics, and deep relationships to drive value for users of office and industrial space. We were established in the middle of a global pandemic by a group of optimists. Who? is an essential question when hiring a real estate team, so I want to introduce ours.

John Furnace: Addressing the Grit

As I mentioned in the last post, project management is at the heart of what we do. We never leave our clients with a signed lease, but we are there mitigating risks until you move in. John Furnace is a project manager who gets involved early in the process with our clients and addresses the build-out related risks from the beginning.  He’s all about the grit. John has a raving fan base among tenants who have worked with him. I know Fortune 500 tenants who have paid him extra bonuses without being asked because he saved their bacon. He also has ground-up development experience, which allows us to offer build-to-suit and design-build services to businesses in need of custom spaces.  He has 30+ years of project and construction know-how from working all over the country.  Check out his full bio.

Mike Barnes: Economic Incentives Cowboy

When starting a firm that focuses solely on the needs of tenants and users, it’s critical to have a player who understands economic incentives and how these factors drive site selection, especially for headquarters and manufacturing deals. I immediately thought of Mike Barnes, and I’m so proud of the experience and depth he brings to our team. Mike understands cities and municipalities, as he provides consulting services to help cities make their markets attractive to industry players. He knows the inside. He has great relationships. In addition, he’s represented dozens of tenants and users of commercial space across the country. I think of him as my economic incentives cowboy, as he works from his hill country ranch. He also has 30+ years of incentives know how.  Check out his full bio.

Robbye Kirkpatrick: Finding the Right Site

And, then there’s me.  If we haven’t met, I look forward to knowing you. My father was a developer of industrial buildings in Dallas. I grew up touring sites from the backseat of his car and watching cranes transform my hometown of Plano, Texas, into a thriving hub of corporate headquarters. I started my career right out of Texas Tech at the Trammell Crow company where I worked for two founding tenant representation teams— in Dallas and Los Angeles.  After a couple of career adventures and the adoption of three kids, I eventually moved back to Texas and went to work for Newmark Knight Frank where I worked from both Houston and Austin.  In my ten combined years in the industry, I’ve worked on tenant representation transactions in every major U.S. market and lots of little map dots in between. To date, the largest deal of my career has been a 1 million-square-foot headquarters for our nation’s second largest school district in Los Angeles. The smallest was a 1,000-square-foot sales office for a technology company in Round Rock, Texas. 

Regardless of the size of the deal, I find absolute pleasure in finding the right site and executing the right negotiation strategy to produce wins for the organizations that we represent. I was trained and mentored at big firms, but I am fiercely independent and wanted to build something from scratch to drive value. This is why I launched RubiCrown, named after one of my most inspiring clients and the violet crown city of Austin, where we call home.  View full bio.

Together, this team is building the full-service real estate firm of the future. Because of our size, we’re humble, but we’re nimble. We believe that despite COVID, the future is bright. It’s the greatest time to be alive and to work. Companies may change their relationship with the office, but ultimately most will go back, and industries will still search for the greatest location to build their widgets.  We will be here, building relationships and digital tools to conquer the grit on behalf of our clients. We hope you will join us or hire us!

Until we meet, be safe and well.


Catch up on the rest of this blog series by reading part one, part two, and part three.