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Edward St. John has had four mentors in his life, all giants in the Baltimore community.

It’s not surprising given St. John’s own success, founding St. John Properties 51 years ago and since contributing more than $65 million through his philanthropy, his company and the Edward St. John Foundation. He considers Lou Grasmick, Bill Dickson, Tom Baldwin and John Paterakis as his mentors through it all.

“These four individuals built tremendously successful companies, while demonstrating great leadership in business and as community partners,” St. John said. “I considered all of them my mentors and my friends.”

St. John Properties has developed, constructed and owns more than 22 million square feet of office, flex/research & development, retail and warehouse space, serving more than 2,500 clients in Maryland, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The company is also involved in residential real estate including apartments and mixed use developments.

The foundation, established in 1998, focuses on education and is based on the belief that “education has the power to transform lives and provide a foundation for success.”

St. John said his most important duty for the company is looking at the economy and forecasting what the company should do for the next five to 10 years. He also engages with his employees, challenging them to produce the best commercial real estate service and space available.

If he wasn’t at the helm of his company, St. John would be flying airplanes.

“From when I was a young boy, I had always dreamed about being a fighter pilot,” he recalled.