CREN Member Spotlight – Duane Heckmann

duane heckmann

We are grateful for all of our members who make CREN so great, and want to take the time to thank you! We have initiated a Member Spotlight to help share more information about some of our members who go above and beyond to provide for our organization.

For our second installment, we are pleased to introduce you all to Duane Heckmann – Houston MSA Specialist.

CREN: How long have you been involved with CREN? 

Duane: I am an old guy with a failing memory, but I think it has been 8 or so years.

CREN: How did you originally get introduced to CREN?

Duane: Glenn Lee, who is a long-time member and a customer/friend, invited us to a luncheon and invited us to join.

CREN: What are some of your favorite things about CREN? 

Duane: The people, without a doubt. It is a great group of very friendly people across all disciplines of real estate. The lunches are great as well– CREN always gets the best speakers.

CREN: How long have you been involved in real estate/what made you choose this career path?

Duane: I got in the real estate business in 1984. I was previously working in the retail business and back in those days, stores weren’t open on Sundays. I knew it was a matter of time before they would be open on Sundays and wanted to work in an industry where I didn’t have to work nights and weekends and could still be paid based on performance. A friend referred me to Laguarta, Gavrel & Kirk Real Estate, which was hiring at the time, and it went from there.

CREN: What advice would you have for someone just starting off in a commercial real estate career?

Duane: It is really a pretty simple business, or I couldn’t have made it. As I tell my daughters, and anyone else that asks, all you really have to do to be successful in any line of business is:

  • Show up on time,
  • Work hard,
  • Be honest and
  • Care about what you do.

You have to do all four of these things at the same time on a very consistent basis. You can’t do all four about 50% of the time – that doesn’t work. You can’t do 3 of the 4 all the time – that doesn’t work either. It is really pretty simple.

CREN: If you had to pick a defining moment (good or bad!) in your career, what would it be?

Duane: Electing to go on my own in about 1992 or so, and then joining Land Advisors Organization in 2005 and being able to work with Kirk Laguarta. Every day is different, a ton of fun and never really feels like work.

CREN: If you weren’t working with Land Advisors Organization, what would you want to be doing?

Duane: I really don’t consider what we do as work. It is so much fun to be able to work with so many great people, meet new people, have fun and actually get paid for it.

CREN: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Duane: Spending a lot of time with my family, travel, exercise and running. 

CREN: What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you?

Duane: I paid my way through most all of my college years by working as a guard at what was then called the Texas Department of Corrections. I spent a lot of time on the back of a horse in all kinds of weather.

Also, my dad’s dad was a Lutheran pastor and my dad was a Lutheran pastor.  My dad had 4 brothers and all of them were Lutheran pastors. I have one sister and she is married to a Lutheran pastor. I have a number of cousins that are also Lutheran pastors. With that, there is always someone at a family reunion willing to lead everyone in prayer.


Duane Heckmann is a greater Houston area advisor with more than 37 years of raw land and residential lot brokerage experience in Houston and the surrounding counties. He has developed extensive knowledge regarding utilities, drainage, surface control and other unique development issues, as well as a comprehensive working knowledge of land values and overall market trends. Duane has very strong relationships with developers, homebuilders, banks, funds and investors that are active in the Houston market, and also assists and advises a large number of owners with their respective land holdings.

He has assisted most of Houston’s master planned community developers, commercial developers, lot developers and landowners with their raw land needs as well as selling land and lots to homebuilders, commercial/mixed use developers, industrial developers and investors. Duane has also completed extensive work for national, regional and local banks including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Enterprise Bank, assisting them to analyze their real estate holdings and disposition of various assets.

Prior to joining Land Advisors Organization, Duane ran his own commercial real estate company for 15 years. He is a member of the West Houston Association, Urban Land Institute, Houston’s Commercial Real Estate Network (CREN), The Greater Houston Partnership and is a board member of FiveTwo Network, a nonprofit organization.

Duane received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Sam Houston State University and has held his Texas Real Estate Broker’s license since 1988.