Careers

From Defending Freedoms to Securing Our Cyberspace

Cory, a cybersecurity engineer, shares his journey from being a Marine tanker in the Gulf War to securing CBRE’s cyberspace.

Cory H
I joined CBRE in November 2021. I’m the senior principal cybersecurity engineer. To really simplify it, if someone tries to break into cbre.com with the intention of stealing credentials, we're the ones making sure that doesn't happen. We protect it. Now that we have different ways to access the internet from wherever you are, we use a tool to ensure you have a secure connection every time. That's just one of the many things that we do to safeguard our cyberspace.

Another example is if someone tries to send you spam mail, with the click of a button, you can send us that link and tell us that someone sent you a phishing e-mail and it will quarantine the e-mail immediately. Those are the kind of tools that that we build, operate, or deploy to keep our systems safe. 

Team Spirit

We work in different locations, but we talk and communicate more than any team I've ever worked with. We joke with one another, and we meet when we need to. That was my reason for leaving my previous company. I've got a decent retirement from the military; I don't really need a lot. I wanted a more technical role and I wanted to be happier.

I've never been able to really truly say this and mean it, but my boss—Alan Sebastian—I've never had a leader that is as effective as he is. And I'm not just saying that because he signs my check! He's not a micromanager. He not only has a very high delivery team, but a very strong-willed team. Managing that kind of high-value and high-production team is very difficult, but he does such a great job of managing people by really letting us manage ourselves. That gives us the tools and resources we need to be successful and not be stifled. And he does a phenomenal job of managing up. Often, everything moves fast and there are so many little details. He does a very good job of filtering out the noise and allows us to focus on the work that needs to be done.

From Tankers to Microchips – Journey to CBRE

I joined the Marine Corps in 1987. I was there for 10 years. I was in tanks for six years, and I was also in tanks during Desert Storm. When I went to re-enlist, I was going to be a tanker forever and die a Marine—the whole 9 yards. Then, a guy that I knew said, ‘hey, what are you going to do when you get out? You know, you can’t drive tanks for Chrysler!’ I said, ‘well, I like that computer thing.’ This was back in ‘93, so he said he can get me a computer billet if I was willing to go to school and get out of tanks. I went to school for almost three years. Then, a major technology company came to Okinawa, Japan to a job fair and recruited me as a computer programmer when I was still in the Corp. When I got out, I went to work for them in Portland, Oregon.

I loved the work – I was writing lithography scripts for the microchips that went into the computers, but the work was too structured, especially after getting out of the Corps. So, I left and went to work for a coal mining company based in Pennsylvania whose parent company owned some real estate at the time. Their real estate arm got so large, it became its own entity. I was asked to run the IT group when the company moved to Philadelphia. I loved the culture. I love the kind of swashbuckling, get-it-done attitude that real estate has. That was a really great group and my first experience in real estate.

I eventually worked for a few companies that took me back to Washington State and then to Arizona where I worked for five years as the director of security operations at a large financial services company. There are trillions of dollars involved so it’s very regulated. Everything was prescriptive and I wanted to get back into a role that required thinking a bit more. That is why I came to CBRE. A colleague I worked with previously came to CBRE a few years before I did. He said it was a good environment, and I trusted him. When I had the interview, they kept saying how amazing the culture and the people were, how different leadership is. That was exactly what I needed.

Life at Play

Family Photo
It took me a long time to find the right woman, the right partner, that gives me the ability to do anything and everything I want to do and supports me 100%. I love her to death. And I love my grandchildren... love my babies. I’ve gotten closer to them. You spend a lot of time in your career trying to juggle a lot, thinking ‘how do I do it all?’ Now, I've gotten to a point in my career where I really can do it all.  I'm just happy I can give myself to my family, my kids, my dreams, and be 100% in. Be 100% at work and then be 100% off when I’m outside of work. That's what CBRE is giving me—the ability to truly say I can give all of me. I can step back and give the rest of me to the things that matter the most—my family, my kids, and my grandbabies.

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