Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Careers’

Student Profile: Aileen Halligan

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

aileenhalliganAcademic researchers who study social, behavioral, and organizational psychology have spent the previous decade studying how people make judgement about people they meet. Some of these researchers believe that your brain, specifically the emotional centers, work incredibly fast to make snap judgements about people, a trait that was crucial in our species history, when ascertaining friend from foe was often a life threatening decision. The common phrases for these experiences are “gut feeling” and “a hunch”, and contradictory to the general belief that these emotions are irrational, scientists are increasingly discovering that they are actually the product of an incredibly complex system of sensory analysis, memory, and a syntax that follows a precise logical argument. This insight becomes all the more powerful when one begins to realize just how accurate that gut feeling is when the situation is appropriate.

Considering the opening paragraph of this interview, it is without surprise that Ms. Halligan makes a significant first impression, worthy of the pretense. Very confident, driven, intelligent, well spoken, and conscientious  are the gut feeling(s) I experienced when Ms. Halligan began answering my questions. Aileen’s career, education, and goals are all reflective of these traits, and it would appear a solid bet that her future holds plenty of successes.

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Student Profile- Lane Thor

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

DSC_5428“The (best part of the UST MSRE program is the…) whole package; having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and learning, first hand, their opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb.  These connections will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.”

Real Estate Matters has had the opportunity to sit down with several MSRE students in the graduating class of 2011 and get their impressions of the program, their plans for the future, and their advice to perspective students as their time in the MSRE program draws to a close. The first 2011 graduate, Lane Thor, has been working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office as an Appraiser. Lane was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

What is your background and experience?

I grew up in St. Paul, and have lived in Lino Lakes since 2006. I earned my undergraduate degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, where I majored in Political Science. I was fortunate enough to play football for Hamline while I was a student there, which provided a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about life, responsibility, and leadership.

So who do you route for in the MIAC?

I have to route for Hamline.  But I promise, I alway route for St. Thomas to win.  If they play Hamline I just hope for a tie…

Where have you worked since earning your undergraduate degree?

I am fortunate, in that my first job out of school is one I have really enjoyed. I began working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office in 2006.  My day-to-day duties involve the appraisal of real estate for tax purposes. I specialize in residential property and am currently one of 52 appraisers working for Ramsey County. The thing I like most about the job is the unique nature of each property.  Each property presents new challenges and opportunities for me every day. As an undergrad I was interested in getting into business law, but after a few law classes I changed my mind.  My passion for public sector work, especially the parts of the government that support the real estate industry, has remained which makes my current position a great fit for me. Also, my job affords me the opportunity to keep a healthy work-life balance, which is something that is very important to me.

Why did you decide to get an MSRE, and how did you choose UST?

I wanted to strengthen my skill set and knowledge of real estate issues to compliment my current background, with the goal of having more opportunities  in the field of real estate. Looking back on my time in the program I can definitely say that I have broadened my skill set and given myself many new and exciting options. Furthermore, my sophistication in real estate has increased two fold, (1) I have learned more about the theoretical aspects of the real estate industry than I ever imagined, and (2) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of practical knowledge I gained, with regard to the different aspects of real estate. I am certain that this experience will benefit me in any area of real estate that I get into.

I chose St. Thomas, because the program and the school is regarded in the Twin Cities, as the gold standard in real estate education. UST has an extensive professional network, including the real estate advisory board, which is basically all the heavy hitters in the Twin Cities real estate industry. I looked at a few other programs but ultimately chose UST because I wanted to have classroom experience - that personal level, face-to-face contact with my professors and peers is important for me. Because of this I have built life long friendships.  The small class sizes have allowed me to meet everyone and make valuable connections. The classroom experience and the relationships that stem from this structure is what brought me to UST.

What is the best part of the program?

The whole package – having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and getting first hand opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb and will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.

Do you have some advice for perspective students?

If you have a passion for real estate, this will be a great opportunity.  As with any graduate degree program, the workload gets heavy at times.  But, if you have taken the time to prepare for the program, taken the GMAT, etc. you will find a way to manage the out of classroom work. This program is great for people who love real estate.

What are your career goals?

Right now, I am working on a couple of ideas that I have been formulating for a long time. I wanted to wait until I graduate before I really focused on one plan, as I needed to really see what was involved in each part of the industry, and where my passions really were. I think for the long-term, I would like to go into business for myself. . For the time being, I will continue to pursue high level positions in the public sector dealing with real estate or real estate related issues. After I get settled in, I would like to begin my own business, doing both at the same time, public sector and private. My private business will consist of a full service real estate company focusing solely on  niche markets that  have not been tapped. With good marketing and perseverance there is a lot of upside to  some areas that  remain untouched.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

At Hamline, my football coach told me to be successful you need to surround yourself with the right people. That means making the right connections, having the right network, as well as putting good people near you. At UST you get that, professors who are helping you and working so you succeed. My new network is due in large part to UST.  This alone has made my decision to enter the MSRE program a great one and makes me very excited as I look forward to my future career.

Real Estate Matters would like to thank Lane Thor for taking the time to share his insight and experience in the MSRE program. We would also like to congratulate him on his graduation and look forward to keeping track of his promising career. To find out more information about the UST MSRE program, please visit our website.

Executive Insight Series- Dennis Doyle

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Dennis-Doyle“My life is lived from the inside out. My principle values, experience and leadership come from the inside, and guide my life on the outside. It’s an inside job. It seems that everyone is wired differently. Some of us want to make a lot of money, while others want to save the world and help people. You CAN do both! Everyone needs to figure it out. Work is a huge part of it. If you find the right work and path, life can be a real joy and blessing.”

Dennis Doyle, Executive Chairman of the Welsh Property Trust, started his career in real estate as an adolescent who spent his summers working construction for his neighbor, George Welsh. During that period, Mr. Doyle’s passion for construction and development grew exponentially, part of the credit, according to Mr. Doyle, belongs to his older brothers who forced him to work harder to keep up. He left real estate briefly to attend college on a football scholarship, with the intention of becoming a coach, however Mr. Doyle soon realized that this was not his true goal, and returned home to continue his career developing and constructing buildings. In 1977, Mr. Doyle and Mr. Welsh (same childhood neighbor) entered into a handshake agreement, that formed the Welsh Companies, and has shaped the last 30 years of Mr. Doyle’s life. Reflecting on this story, and on his subsequent career, Mr. Doyle lamented,  ”I love being able to put my personal touch on buildings, and am very fortunate to have found my life’s passions and being able to continue working in this field.”

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News Brief: CoStar Study Wins Top Academic Honor from American Real Estate Society

Monday, April 25th, 2011

$11,000,000,000,000

How does one comprehend the above figure? It is a very large number with many zero’s, in fact, it’s so large even a fancy BAII+ financial calculator has to express the number as a exponent of the 10th power (11 * e^12). The name for this sum can vary depending on which country you are in, and unfortunately since the US and Britain saw fit to simply swap the names around, a trillion is 10^12 in the US, and in old english it is considered a billion (a trillion in the old system is 10^18, or a quintillion in the US). Since the definition of this figure does little to aide in the quantification of this figure, it is necessary to use tangible comparisons. 11 trillion dollar bills stacked on top of each other would be 737,000 miles high, in relation the moon is approximately 240,000 miles. Besides the United States and the European Union, 11 trillion dollars surpasses the GDP of every other nation in the world (according to the CIA fact book).

The attempt at quantifying this figure was done in the hopes of imparting the sheer magnitude of this number as well as the mind-boggling size of it, constructing a model that represents data and economic factors that are able to compute the necessary macro and micro forces affecting this figure is simply amazing. This is precisely what researchers at CoStar did in their comprehensive study of the United States commercial real estate market, with their findings and analysis published in the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management (JREPM). While this is undoubtably a very exciting study, there has never been a comprehensive valuation of the entire countries real estate, the data collected is far from novel. Having the ability to quantify and value one of the largest asset classes in the world (the only one larger that comes to mind is the US stock exchange at 16 trillion) will allow investors, developers, the government, and anyone else involved in commercial real estate a powerful new model for analyzing the macro effects of economic shifts on the entirety of the asset class. In recognition for their outstanding work, the authors received the best paper of 2010 by The American Real Estate Society (ARES).

The press release from CoStar is below, including a link to read the paper as published in the JREPM.

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Executive Insight Series: Boyd Stofer

Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

“No one was doing anything, I mean no one was even talking about starting a new project. Sure I was scared, we paid too much for the building during the worst real estate market in my lifetime. However, we needed to play offense, someone had to make the first move, and it was us. That got a lot of attention, and we were able to get the building 90% leased before we started renovation, that’s just unheard of, and it worked to our benefit.”

The quotation above does a superb job in summing up the career, strategy, and philosophy of Boyd Stofer, president and CEO of the Marquette Real Estate Group. Over the past 32 years, Mr. Stofer has helped United Properties (Now part of the Marquette Group) grow into one of the most successful and profitable real estate development companies in the country. Attending a lecture from Mr. Stofer is somewhat like listening to a Harvard (one of his Ivy degrees) Economics professor give a semesters worth of lectures fast forwarded to a speed that condenses the information into one hour. During his talk it appeared as if he continued to talk as he inhaled, and didn’t miss a beat or misstate a figure as he outlined the micro and macro forces that are effecting the national commercial real estate market. His charisma stems directly from his incredible intelligence and ability to conceptualize and connect the vast set of variables that made up the contents of his talk, ending with the weaving of details to present the Marquette Group’s current standing and plans for the future. It’s no wonder that the Pohlad Family entrusts Mr. Stofer with a significant share of their fortune, as very few individuals can impart their razor sharp intellect and cunning in such a succinct and complete manor. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the room (full of real estate professionals, academics, and students) walked out questioning Mr. Stofer’s understanding of the real estate market, actually, it highly unlikely that anyone who meets him ever has doubtful thoughts.

Biography |

Mr. Stofer’s educational credentials mimics his career as nothing short of top tier. In 1971 he graduated from the Cornell School of Engineering, and followed it up with an MBA with Honors from Harvard. Immediately following his MBA program, Mr. Stofer was hired by Hines Interests, a national real estate development group based in Houston. After three years in Houston Mr. Stofer left and came to Minneapolis to join United Properties, then owned by the Hamm family. Since his hire, Mr. Stofer has led the companies development initiatives, and has amassed an amazing portfolio of work. In 1996 he was named president and CEO, since that time Mr. Stofer has grown and merged United Properties into what is now the Marquette Group. Today, the combined entities of the Marquette group employ over 1,000 people, has assets around $750M and services more than $40B worth of real estate loans. The current operational structure of the Marquette Group is the culmination of Mr. Stofer’s vision for a vertically integrated property firm that is unique in the services that it can provide. The vast array of real estate products that Marquette Group is far from novel, in fact it is probably the firms best financial hedge, in that the organization is prepared and capable of earning revenues in any market and any economic climate.

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Executive Insight Series: Bob Lux and the 14 Million Dollar Question About Block E

Thursday, April 7th, 2011
Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

“So, what is the plan for Block E?”

A simple question that was definitely on every attendee’s mind at the most recent Real Estate Executive Insight Series. However, the answer isn’t so simple, and if it were not for Bob Lux’s (principal at Alatus LLC) charisma, intelligence, and experience in leading major, press-worthy development projects the answer might not have been as well received. As any gifted public figure would, Mr. Lux skirted the question, but in his sidestep, alluded to several important things concerning the future of Block E, as well as the kind of person Mr. Lux is. Before his answer can be assessed properly, it is important to understand Mr. Lux’s history, professional accomplishments, and his philosophy on development (and life).

Mr. Lux grew up in a Long Prairie, a small community in central Minnesota, a town that most likely does not have a building higher than the many crop silos that dot the agrarian landscape. Like many young men from small towns, Mr. Lux left home in search of success and the experience that can only be found in the “big city”. After earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Lux returned to Long Prairie with the intention of starting a home building business in the area. He purchased a lumber yard with his father and began building farmers homesteads in the immediate area. Although this was quite different than the projects he would eventually oversee, Mr. Lux quickly learned the importance of adding value to differentiate his product, otherwise it would simply be a commodity.

After a short time at home the urge to return to city life became to great to resist, and once again, Mr. Lux left Long Prairie for the Twin Cities. His first employer, The Dominium Group, was developing high-density suburban real estate, which faced major issues surrounding obtaining approval from the community and local government for the rezoning of  land for this use. Suburban homeowners are very protective of their communities, and the amount of space that each homesite has was a reflection of the owners desire for privacy and quiet living. Mr. Lux’s first assignment was in Eagan, MN, where he faced opposition form the mayor as well as landowners surrounding the proposed site. To change the attitudes of the landowners surrounding the site, who were a critical stakeholder in the success of the project, Mr. Lux used a mixture of logic, emotional appeal, and financial acumen to reach out to each of the parties and work with them to develop a compromised plan that met the needs of everyone. In the end this project was approved, and through it, Mr. Lux learned one of the key lessons that has helped him throughout his career. During the lecture, he repeatedly cited the ability to listen to, and connect with people as the most important skill he has, and the main reason why projects fail or succeed.

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The Week: March 5-13

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Here is an aggregated list of the most influential stories that are shaping the conversation about the real estate industry…

From the Mortgage Bankers AssociationMBA Weekly Application Survey - The MBA index of mortgage applications has risen at an adjusted rate of 15.5% over the week prior. Furthermore, the seasonally adjusted four-week moving average of the market index is up 2.7%.

HouseholdNetWorthQ42010.nfscale

Fed Household Net Worth - from Calculated Risk

From Calculated RiskQ4 Flow of Funds: Household Real Estate assets off $6.3 trillion from peak- A telling statistic that shows the current total worth of American’s homes has fallen to levels comparable to vales after the dot-com bubble. Looking into the period before this extraordinary market period, the last time housing equity equaled a similar percentage of the total GDP, a measure that controls for inflation as well as other economic changes, was 1997.

From the Bigger Pockets Blog | Real Estate by the Numbers (March 5-13)- As noted in the last post, a report from Finance & Commerce, new foreclosure filings are down across the country, and new Mortgage applications are up. This combination is good news, signaling more Americans consider their financial prospects positive enough to buy a home, and on the flip-side, less Americans are losing their investments…

From the Economist | Bricks and Slaughter- A unique editorial from the Economist, that poses serious questions about the conventional wisdom surrounding the single largest investment most citizens in rich world countries make, their homes. Looking at the issue from the perspectives of debt financing; and the intertwined nature of the economy, mortgage prices + availability, and real estates prices the create an accelerating effect on a home buyers ROI, the editors argue that serious modifications are still needed before the market can truly stabilize.

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Real Estate Insights: Russ Nelson and the Triple Bottom Line

Friday, March 4th, 2011

speaker_RussNelson “My brand is defined by my involvement in community organizations and the service + value adding work that I engage in to improve the community that I am a part of. Being involved has benefited me a great deal in my own career, both in making connections and preserving relationships, as well as encouraging the development of all members of the community. Giving back to the community is essential, its who I am and part of my values, I strive to add value to every board I’m on, as it is my responsibility to do so.”

On Tuesday evening Russ Nelson, Principal and President of Nelson, Tietz & Hoye, stopped by UST to share some of the wisdom he has accumulated over his 30+ year career in commercial real estate. Russ’s lecture took the format of a question and answer session, in which the audience asked Mr. Nelson questions ranging from market valuations to predictions about the Vikings future. Throughout the presentation several things were clear regarding Mr. Nelsons’s perspective and experience:

Thanks to ECO BROOKLYN INC. – Green Design/Build Firm for the image

Thanks to ECO BROOKLYN INC. – Green Design/Build Firm for the image

    1. Mr. Nelson thoroughly enjoys his job, and displays a fatherly pride when speaking about the projects his firm has worked on.
    2. Mr. Nelson is a big picture guy, he possess an uncanny grasp on the market forces that underly each of his transactions, and the trends that form the overall ethos of commercial real estate.
    3. As Thoreau so aptly put it, “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” Mr. Nelson has a keen awareness of the expertise of others and is quick to give credit to those who have helped him along the way.
    4. Mr. Nelson is an exemplar of the idea of the “triple bottom line”.
    5.Russ has an amazing amount of energy and is committed to the development of the community, as shown by his seat on the board of 10 community organizations.
    Mr. Nelson’s career and achievements span far beyond the world of corporate real estate, and his attitude towards business and its role in the community serves as a sign of optimism, in a time when many executives are more interested in personal wealth and the stock price of their firm only. His accomplishments are a testament to the idea that success can be measured across a broad range of categories, and by any audit method, he has enjoyed a great deal of professional and personal triumphs.

Real Estate Matters to: Robert Strachota

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

th-Bob-Strachota2

“My favorite part of the job is helping others at Shenehon succeed, by providing them the tools and support that gives them the best opportunities possible. Seeing those around me at Shenehon have success is the most rewarding aspect of my work, in the same way that a coach shares in the success of his team when they are playing to the best of their abilities.”

This is the first in a series of interviews with the movers and shakers in the real estate industry. Our first interview is with Mr. Robert Strachota, President of Shenehon Company and Co-Chair of the Real Estate advisor board at University of St. Thomas. With almost four decades of experience, Mr. Strachota was gracious enough to share some of his ideas and lessons learned over the course of his career. As the president of Shenehon Mr. Strachota has had an incredible career, here is his work bio (From Shenehon’s website):

Bob is the President of Shenehon Company. He holds both the MAI and CBA designations and has over 30 years of appraisal experience in the commercial real estate and business enterprise valuations. During that time, he has successfully completed thousands of appraisals, including some very unusual assignments such as: railroads, riverboats, ranches, resorts, etc. Bob serves as an expert witness in Federal, State, and District Courts, as well as for commission hearings and special government proceedings. He is an ad hoc professor for three degree-accredited universities and is frequently invited to speak at valuation seminars and extension courses. He acts as a court-approved arbitrator, commissioner, and magistrate in real estate and business valuation disputes. Bob holds the highest designations from the Institute of Business Appraisers and the Appraisal Institute and he publishes in both local and national trade journals.

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