On any given day, you might find Sanford “Sandy” Sigal, President and CEO, playfully maneuvering a radio-controlled car or bowling a ball down the hallways of NewMark Merrill Companies’ corporate offices in Woodland Hills, CA. Sandy, who was an incurably curious child, conjured up early dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. His parents nurtured those dreams, no matter how unrealistic, which bolstered his confidence and allowed him to not only achieve many of his early ambitions, but to also launch one of the fastest growing privately-held retail development companies in California. Although Sandy is still a playful kid at heart (he’s been to Disneyworld every year since his 30 year-old son was one), he takes his leadership role at NewMark Merrill very seriously.
Sandy’s ambitious drive emerged early. At the age of 12, he was already exploring and identifying solutions as a programmer and software developer for the personal computer industry, which at that time was in its infancy. Learning accounting and project management, he turned his newly acquired skills and knowledge into a business, writing and selling accounting software and computerizing companies of all types during his teen years. While attending UCLA (Political Science), Sandy, a self-proclaimed introvert, ventured his way into the real estate industry doing what he knew best — computer consulting. He was hired by West Venture Companies, a small Southern California-based homebuilder, for a two week assignment to computerize their accounting and financial process. That two-week assignment started his real estate career, where he founded West Venture Commercial, their shopping center division, where he built or redeveloped more than 25 shopping centers and oversaw their management. In 1993, Sandy was promoted to President and CEO of the parent company, West Venture Companies during which time he was given responsibility over the home building, shopping center, and mortgage divisions. In 1997, Sandy departed West Venture, co-founded NewMark Merrill Companies and purchased the West Venture retail assets, including 15 retail centers and 4 development projects. Since NewMark Merrill’s inception in 1997, Sandy has acquired, developed, managed and repositioned more than 100 retail centers, always infusing his technological expertise into his decision-making processes and strategy development.
The company’s accolades are many. The Los Angeles Business Journal has named NewMark Merrill as one of Los Angeles’ Fastest Growing Private Companies seven times as well as a Top 10 Property Management Firm and a Top 10 Development Firm in their prestigious annual business rankings. NewMark Merrill currently owns and manages 85 shopping centers throughout California, Colorado and Illinois representing almost 11,000,000 square feet with a collective value in excess of $2 billion dollars.
Sandy’s notable “tough and tender” leadership style extends beyond the walls of NewMark Merrill. He serves as Board Vice Chairman for Camp Bob Waldorf Foundation, a camp for underserved children, which Sandy attended when he was a child. He was the recipient of the William Shatner Humanitarian Award in 2007 for his work for this Foundation and the Camp. He also serves on the executive board of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS). Sandy is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the leading organization of CEO’s and Presidents in the World. He co-founded and is on the Board of YPO Pacific Coast Gold, and in 2013, his chapter YPO Education program won “Best of the Best” for all YPO Chapters Worldwide. And in 2017, he again won “Best of the Best” internationally for his Education Program, “House of Cards”, the only Learning Officer to win that distinction twice. He also served as a the Chair of the YPO Real Estate Network, developing and overseeing programing for over 3,000 real estate CEO’s. Sandy was a finalist for the 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Awards Program, winning that same award in 2016 in the Services Category for Greater Los Angeles. Sandy regularly mentors young adults interested in real estate through the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) sponsored by the Jewish Federation, where he was former chair of the Real Estate Principals Organization (RPO). In 2019, he was the honoree for the Real Estate Division of the Jewish Federation at their annual recognition dinner. Sandy is passionate about a number of causes including the blight of those experiencing homelessness and he co-founded with other YPOers, the “YPO Alliance to End Homelessness” to use his real estate and community expertise to find ways to eliminate homelessness and serve those who need support. “Doing good things” is woven into the fabric of the NewMark Merrill culture, and Sandy has made “giving back” a life mission. He finds pure joy in the community field trips he takes with company employees, making a difference in each community they serve.
Away from the office, Sandy enjoys time with his family – reading, playing pool and pinball, and skiing. He’s proudly watched every season of West Wing five times and is a huge Jeffrey Archer fan. Although he never became a Disney Imagineer (one of his early dreams), he still looks forward to those annual trips to Disney World with his family.
When asked what drives him, he unequivocally answers—the NewMark Merrill team. “How can working with the best, kindest, most driven, passionate people not drive you to do something great?”