JLL’s acquisition of Cresa Portland brings Cresa into a global commercial real estate firm whose American chair is none other than former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

Years of crossing paths, working the same deals and, most importantly, competing against each other helped set the course for JLL’s acquisition this week of Cresa Portland.

While JLL is always on the hunt for new talent, managing director Buzz Ellis said the acquisition came about more from the two firms’ prior interactions than any headhunting kind of quest.

“I think what you do after you’ve been in the business awhile and do a number of transactions, you get to know people well and you tend to have conversations that can grow into working together,” he said. “There was a point when we all realized that we could be stronger together than we were apart.”

Craig Reinhart founded Cresa’s independently-owned Portland office in 1993. It specialized largely on tenant representation services in corporate real estate. Over the years, it became clear to Reinhart who posed the biggest source of competition in Portland.

“Our greatest competition in this market was really JLL,” he said. “We compete with Buzz’s group on a daily and weekly basis, so when the opportunity presented itself to link up with what we now see as the greatest brand in commercial real estate, it made sense.”

Even so, Reinhart added that it was definitely JLL that first approached Cresa with the idea of joining forces.

“It started with a question and a sharing of ideas that all coalesced around what we have in common,” Reinhart said.

The acquisition also makes sense for both firms in terms of what each brings to the table. Cresa’s got more than two decades worth of experience in tenant representation services, an area that it hits hard with no fewer than 14 people. According to Ellis, the Portland office of JLL has about five people focused on corporate real estate tenant representation.

On the other hand, JLL has a massive global presence and a wide array of real estate, investing, consulting and research services that Cresa has longed to tap into.

“We’ve been in pitches where clients say we want Cresa for the national piece and JLL for the international piece,” said Chris Elsenbach, another managing principal at Cresa. “This is really going to allow us the opportunity to just really close out and compete at a very high level against anybody in the market.”