Striking it RICH: Franklin Street’s Tom Rybak Keeps Things Light

Welcome to the next post in our “Striking it RICH” blog series! This series features Atlas clients, vendors, employees and supporters who embody one or more of our company’s Core Values:

Relationships

Integrity

Collaboration

Humor

This month’s post features Tom Rybak at Franklin Street, an Atlas client representing the Core Value of Humor.

About Franklin Street

Established in 2006, Franklin Street is one of the fastest-growing full-service commercial real estate firms in the Southeast. The firm offers commercial real estate brokerage, landlord and tenant representation, capital advisory, insurance, property management and project management services.

Headquartered in Tampa, Franklin Street has five locations in Florida and one in Atlanta, and 325 employees. In 2019, the firm exceeded $1.1 billion in company-wide sales volume.

IT at Franklin Street

Franklin Street’s IT team includes three full-time professionals, including Chief Information Officer Tom Rybak. Rybak brought in Atlas Professional Services several years ago to assist his internal IT team at Franklin Street with special projects.

“Atlas has helped us with things like firewall issues that were beyond our knowledge, some domain controller issues and also with helping us think through bigger-picture planning,” Rybak said. “Atlas has been a great partner. It’s like asking a friend for advice. I trust them and know they’re providing honest feedback.”

A Laughing Matter

Anyone who has had direct experience with Atlas’s company culture or follows us on social media knows humor is a key part of who we are. Rybak says keeping things light is a trait he embraces at Franklin Street, too.

“For me, humor comes naturally. I’m fairly sarcastic. I always say it’s a sign of intelligence,” Rybak jokes.

Since Rybak joined Franklin Street 10 years ago – originally as IT Director while also overseeing the marketing department for several years – he’s concentrated on creating an environment that “doesn’t feel like work.” From embracing humor to hosting happy hours and themed department parties to playing music in the office, Rybak likes to keep things casual.

“Of course, there’s still a level of respect and accountability that we expect from our team, but we have a lot of fun and a lot of team-building activities,” Rybak said. “We pride ourselves on our culture and our people.”

Similarly, the Atlas office is equipped with a pool table, video games, lounge space and is the site of frequent birthday and holiday celebrations. And, there is joking aplenty, with co-workers and clients, like Rybak.

“I have Polish grandparents and Tom is Polish and speaks the language fluently,” said Atlas CEO Greg Zolkos. “When Tom needs help our help with something, he has to use the code word: pierogi.”

To conclude with a quote from former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower: “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

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