Doug Bolton has gone from reporting the news to helping make it as managing principal at one of the Tristate’s largest commercial real estate firms.

Bolton, who turns 53 this month, gave up a 25-year career in journalism in 2011, the last 10 of which he spent as president and publisher of the Cincinnati Business Courier, to take on the role of managing principal at Cassidy Turley’s offices in Cincinnati and Dayton.

“I knew enough about real estate to be dangerous,” he says. “I was a real estate reporter before I was an editor and publisher. I knew all these guys because they were good sources of mine.”

But he says anyone thinking of making a switch in mid-career should give it plenty of thought.

“My biggest fear was I didn’t know anything other than journalism,” he says. “What happens if doesn’t work out? I was 47 at the time. I thought if I make a change and make a mistake, I still have time to recover and go back to journalism or find something else.”

He also says making a mid-career switch isn’t questioned as much as it once was. “The lifespan of careers in organizations has gotten short and shorter,” he says. “Today’s economy forces companies to make decisions about leadership that are sometimes short-term. The other thing is that as a leader of an organization, whether a news organization or whatever, there are certain things you do no matter the company’s size or industry.”

Bolton, who grew up in Trenton, says he knew from junior high school that he wanted to be a journalist. But he says in the summer of 2010 the growing role of digital media in publishing was giving him second thoughts.

“I loved my job and loved journalism,” he says. “I knew I could do the job for another 10 years but I wasn’t sure I wanted to.”

He says it wasn’t that he feared the change but that his role as publisher was becoming more of a sales-and-marketing job.

“We were being asked to do more with less,” he says. “It’s something affecting all media. It just wasn’t any fun.”

Towards the end of that summer, Tom Powers, a long-time broker for Cassidy, and one of Bolton’s long-time sources, called him to gauge his interest in joining the real estate firm as managing principal. Two years earlier Powers had approached Bolton about the same job but he had declined. But now, because of his changed feelings, he told Powers: “OK, let’s talk.”

Powers says, “I had known him a long time from the Courier. I was impressed with how he presented himself. I knew he knew a lot of people in town. He seemed like a well-rounded person and we were trying to think a little out of the box instead of just going with someone from the commercial real estate world.”

After weeks of soul-searching through the end of 2010, Bolton joined Cassidy Turley at the start of 2011. But the real estate industry, much like the media, is going through a consolidation and within the space of about six months in 2015, the firm went through two ownership changes.

On Jan. 1, 2015, St. Louis-based Cassidy Turley with about 60 offices nationwide, was sold to three private equity firms that owned DTZ, a commercial real estate company with a small presence in North America. Even before that sale closed, the group that controlled Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, put that business up for sale. The DTZ ownership announced that they bought Cushman & Wakefield in May 2015 and merged the businesses keeping the Cushman & Wakefield name.

Bolton says the consolidation didn’t have much impact on the Cincinnati operations, other than another name change.

“We had all the jokes about how we were keeping all the sign companies busy with the changes in our name,” he says.

The consolidation did increase the size of the staff Bolton was responsible for from about 130 to about 300 from Cincinnati to Dayton because Cushman had a facilities services business in Cincinnati and Dayton with employees imbedded in some large employers like Patheon Inc. in Reading and Cargill in Dayton.

Managing a commercial real estate office can be demanding, Powers says.

“You have a lot of very Type A personalities who are your producers and you’ve got to be able to juggle all those folks,” he says. “It takes a lot of time and effort and you’ve got to be good with all kinds of people all the time. He’s been great for Cushman & Wakefield as far as being out there in the community.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is Bolton’s interest in community activities. He’s chairman of the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau, the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and in January will become chairman of the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

He’s a life-long Boy Scout who achieved Eagle Scout. “It’s among my biggest passions,” he says. The lesson he still carries is the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. “It’s so true for everything in life whether I’m preparing to speak before an audience of a thousand people, or preparing for a client meeting or a one-on-one with an employee.”

Bolton says he misses the daily news flow and community impact of newspapers but finds real estate has its own information impact.

“We’re in the flow of information as well getting deals done, getting jobs produced and finding spaces for businesses so they can expand,” he says.

“This industry touches everything, no matter the size of the company. I enjoy this business as much as I enjoyed being a journalist for 25 years.”