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Grubb & Ellis' Drum Major

May 26, 1998|BOB HOWARD

Jim Rosten finds it easy to drum up enthusiasm around the office. All he has to do is sit down at the set he keeps there and start playing. Often he calls in fellow Grubb & Ellis Co. executive Bob Osbrink to accompany him on guitar.

Rosten is president of the Western Region Management Services unit of Grubb & Ellis, and Osbrink is senior vice president and regional manager for the Los Angeles metro region. Both are based at the company's downtown office.

The two, both former professional musicians, have turned what Rosten describes as an otherwise generic business office into a sometime-showcase for their country-rock-blues blend of music.

The office features a few photos and memorabilia from Rosten's days as an aspiring professional drummer, but the full drum set is the centerpiece of the room. It's a top-quality set, made much more affordable since Rosten's switch from music to commercial real estate.

"One of the nice perks about being an executive is having the money to buy good equipment. When I was a kid, I had to beg, borrow and steal it," Rosten said.

The two friends are given to impromptu jam sessions--brief respites from real estate that energize them, they say, and help promote "a lot of camaraderie and a lot of teamwork" at the office.

"If I have time before a staff meeting, I'll hit the drums for a few minutes. The next thing you know, the room is flooded with people," Rosten said.

Rosten said the jam sessions provide an outlet from the stress of business. He said he has no trouble returning to his work after a few minutes on the drums. In fact, he said, the music relaxes him and enables him to return to work with more energy. "It's a nice little break. It takes the edge off. It's more than a hobby. It's almost therapy," he said.

The Rosten-Osbrink collaboration, which began at the company's holiday party in December and has included performances at company sales meetings, now extends outside of work. The two played for a "Seinfeld" party, for example, and they're working on a recording of a song Osbrink wrote, which they're eager to demonstrate for an interviewer. They're hoping a future demo of it will find its way into the hands of a record company executive, possibly through a fellow Grubb & Ellis broker they know who has a music industry connection.

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