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Meet The Team

Adam Gilbert is a third-generation resident of Palm Springs and an entrepreneur involved in various fields related to real estate. Adam began his career as a civil litigation attorney and quickly found his passion for real estate focusing his skills on Sales and Development. As a principal and President of The Firm Commercial, Adam leads a team of dedicated agents with offices in Palm Springs & Palm Desert, CA, specializing in: commercial real estate sales, leasing, land acquisition, development, government relations and value-added entitlement deals. As a principal of Gilbert Avriette Vacation Rentals, Inc., Adam managed 35+ vacation rentals throughout the Coachella...

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Brian Rix brings a wealth of experience as a highly successful business entrepreneur to his new position as Executive Vice President of The Firm Commercial. For the last 10 years, Brian has owned and operated Burke Rix Communications, a marketing and advertising company, working on national, state and local campaigns. He has been very involved in land use issues, including entitlements, licensing and community outreach for large commercial and government projects. Brian was a commercial real estate owner in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, and supervised the management and leasing of a large commercial office building in Valencia. Additionally, he owned a commercial ta...

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Joel Handshuh is a 2nd generation Palm Springs Native who graduated from Palm Springs High School in 2003. After attending college at the University of Arizona, Joel fell in love with the Culinary Arts and pursued this passion, working tirelessly to develop his necessary work-ethic, organizational mind-set and problem-solving mentality through fine-dining and Michelin starred restaurants before becoming a private & personal chef for Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Afterwards, he went on to be the executive chef of the critically acclaimed Lakehouse in Bellevue, Washington and win Rising Star Seattle from Star Chefs. Post Covid and the collapse of the restaurant ...

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A long-time resident of Palm Springs and more recently the high desert, Mat understands current market trends and has extensive knowledge of commercial and residential property in the area. He has reentered the real estate industry after successfully owning and operating an international organic textile company. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mat rose to prominence in the auto industry managing the luxury brands of Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin, where he learned about exceptional customer service, building long term relationships, excellent communication, and ALWAYS following through on your commitments. Mat was appointed to the Planning Commission in the ...

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Joshua Gilbert is a 3rd generation resident of Palm Springs, CA. After receiving his B.A. from Chapman University in 2011, Joshua moved to Los Angeles to attend music production school to pursue his love for music. He went under the stage name “Apek” to perform on multiple world tours and successful radio campaigns, producing multiple releases and charting on the Billboard Top 40. Following his music career, he moved back to Palm Springs to become the Vice President of Operations for Desert Fire Extinguisher where he manages a team of 40 people and has expanded the business to San Diego, CA. His introductory experience into the world of real estate was succes...

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Nic was born & raised in the Coachella Valley and always had ambitions of working in real estate. After graduating from The University of California, Santa Barbara, Nic set his sights on real estate, devoting all of his efforts to the industry. Studying from various books and online platforms, he focused on wholesaling properties, where he began to virtually buy, hold, and sell investment properties in New Orleans, LA from his home in La Quinta, CA. After having some early success in this endeavor, Nic utilized his newfound skill set to help land a mentorship job at The Firm Commercial with Adam Gilbert, one of the Coachella Valley's top agents, investors, and ...

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As a second-generation real estate professional and born native to the Coachella Valley, Kara’s love for helping clients embrace the Palm Springs lifestyle comes naturally. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Television Production from California State University, Fullerton; Kara’s career first led to an internship with News Channel 3, where she worked part-time as a reporting intern. Following her internship, Kara was offered a position at Wyndham Destinations as a Marketing Coordinator for their Vacation Rental Program. Surrounded by industry professionals, Kara quickly found her strength in sales, and set out to achieve her real estate license. As of...

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Ryan Berkowitz is a 3 rd generation Palm Springs Native and has lived there nearly his entire life. After High School, he left the desert to the greater Los Angeles Area to pursue a degree from UCLA. Through college, Ryan waited tables at celebrity chef and Michelin Star Restaurants developing skills in hospitality. After graduating, he began a decade long career in financial services as a Registered Investment Advisor in which he has managed assets for hundreds of households in the LA and desert areas. After returning home to the Coachella Valley, Ryan switched gears and realized his skill set and passion for helping others is best showcased in Real Estate where h...

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Michelle brings more than 20 years of commercial banking, business management and real estate experience to her role as Executive Vice President. Michelle launched her career with Palm Desert National Bank in the 80’s. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1990, where she worked for eight years at the largest Nevada based bank and gained much of her experience working with clients at the highest level, serving all of their financial needs. In 1995 she decided to transition to sales and marketing in the bustling hospitality industry, where she found success as the VP of vacation rentals. Michelle moved back to the Coachella Valley in 2005, where she worked as the Vi...

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Courtland has lived all over the valley. From the beautiful Palm Springs Indian Canyons during his childhood, centrally located Rancho Mirage, to La Quinta more recently so he could be closer to his horses at the polo fields. Courtland started his real estate career in acquisitions and underwriting of foreclosed properties in Orange County but eventually found his way back home to focus on developing the cities close to his heart. Now at the Firm Commercial, Courtland focuses on helping people find their dream homes and businesses to find the perfect location to foster success.

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David Rios is an energetic designer with an eye for fusing modern art, mid-Century homes, and boutique resort styles together. He's been selling, flipping, and designing homes in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs for the past 26 years and breaking sales records in Southern California consecutively for the past 5 years. David loves bringing the design dreams of his clients to life often going beyond expectations of what can be accomplished. David's passion for design and people is evident through his outgoing and over-the-top personality. He works professionally with major design brands and will be featured on a new motel renovation show debuting this June...

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