May 13, 2016

Kitson has led Palm Beach Gardens-based firm since 1999

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

By Susan Salisbury – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, May 13, 2016

Sydney Kitson is Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, a Palm Beach Gardens-based real estate company specializing in the creation and development of master-planned communities such as Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach and commercial properties.

Kitson, a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, had a notable career in the National Football League, playing offensive guard for both the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys.

In 1992, he helped create the residential division of Gale & Wentworth, and then founded Kitson & Partners in 1999.

Name: Sydney Kitson

Age: 57

Hometown: I grew up in the small town of New Providence, N.J. It has a world-class public education system with incredible participation in the arts and athletics. It’s a place where generations of families have lived and everyone knows their neighbors.

Where you live now: West Palm Beach

About your company: We are real estate developers focused on environmentally sustainable properties that include master planned communities and retail centers. We are building a new solar-powered sustainable town called Babcock Ranch that will have 19,500 homes and 6 million square feet of commercial space. We hope Babcock will set a new standard for smart responsible growth in Florida.
How your business has changed: People are more focused on place-making and healthy living and less on golf. Technology continues to influence the buying experience and where they choose to live.

First paying job and what you learned from it: Paper route at age 11 — hard work does pay off!

First break in the business: Being named the master developer for Cherry Valley Country Club in Princeton, New Jersey. It is where we learned the value of creating great places.

Best business book you ever read: Good to Great by James C. Collins. A reminder that we can improve our behaviors to be better leaders and better companies.

Best piece of business advice you ever received: Be passionate and excited about your work — everything else will take care of itself.

What you tell young people about your business: It is extremely complex and risky, but incredibly rewarding. You can truly leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County: Continuing to emerge as one of Florida’s great places to live, learn, work and play.

Where we can find you when you are not at the office: Playing golf, hiking, skiing or in the gym. When I was young my parents would kick us out of the house in the morning and tell us to be home for dinner. We’d spend the entire day playing and exploring the town. To this day, I still have a strong desire to be outside exploring new places.

Favorite smartphone app: Wall Street Journal

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring: Integrity