Ted Ackmann's job was to fill space.
Whether the Buncher Co. opened a commerce park in Leetsdale or an office building in the Strip District, it was Mr. Ackmann's responsibility to find tenants for them.
It was a job he loved and one that he did well.
Mr. Ackmann, of Washington, Pa., died Tuesday of heart failure at UPMC Shadyside. He was 86.
In his three decades with the Buncher Co., Mr. Ackmann was involved in some of the firm's largest developments, from commerce parks in Leetsdale and Youngwood to the Liberty Commons building in the Strip District and Gateway View Plaza near Station Square.
"I doubt there was a property we developed that he didn't place someone in," said Tom Balestrieri, Buncher president and CEO. "We kept putting up buildings for him, he kept getting them leased."
In many instances, he not only cultivated clients but befriended a lot of them, Mr. Balestrieri said. "Oftentimes, he not only ended up making a deal but making a friend unrelated to the business activity," he said.
Born on Jan. 31, 1926, in Brentwood, Ted E. Ackmann graduated from South Hills High School, Everett Junior College in Everett, Wash., and the University of Washington.
He got his professional start in Everett, where he owned a residential real estate business. In the early 1960s, he moved his family east, settled in Sewickley and started working with Kossman Development Co.
In 1972, he and his family moved to Washington, Pa. He ended up getting a job with Millcraft Industries and worked on Millcraft Center, a 150,000-square-foot office building in downtown Washington.
Jack Piatt, Millcraft chairman, said Mr. Ackmann supervised the construction.
"He was tremendous. He was a very jovial type of guy," he said. "He had a great personality, a good salesman. He got along with people well. He took a lot of pride in the work he did there."
Mr. Ackmann left Millcraft once the project was finished and later landed at Buncher, first working as president of Buncher Management Agency and then as senior vice president of the real estate group.
He stayed for 30 years and was involved in virtually every project the Buncher Co. did, Mr. Balestrieri said. He retired in 2011 but still maintained an office at Buncher and did some consulting work for the firm until his health prevented it.
"He was a special individual. He was a highly intelligent individual," Mr. Balestrieri said. "He had a great wit and sense of humor about him. He was an excellent salesman and deal maker."
His wife, Carmen, said he enjoyed working in real estate.
"He liked the challenge and he had the ability to take his time and listen to his customers and try to make the best deal he could for both the company and the customer," she said.
Mr. Ackmann served in the 17th U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Washington.
In the early 1970s, he owned a majority in the Pocono Downs race track in Wilkes-Barre.
Away from the office, he enjoyed black-tie events and dancing. He was known as a "very fastidious, very formal dresser," Mrs. Ackmann said.
He also took horseback riding lessons and enjoyed tending to his lawn and garden.
Mr. Ackmann was preceded in death by his first wife, Corky, who died in 1994. He married Carmen in 1996 in San Jose, Calif., after meeting her at a high school reunion in Everett.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Melissa of Mount Washington; four stepdaughters, Christine Russell, Valerie Negler, Debbie Nauseda, and Paula Phipps, all of San Jose, Calif.; one stepson, Hugh F. Shyba, also of San Jose; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Piatt and Barnhill Funeral Home, 420 Locust Ave., Washington. Interment will be private.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Washington Area Humane Society, P.O. Box 66, Eighty Four, PA 15330.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.