David Stade, MBA 1998

From his first job at the March of Dimes, coordinating fundraising and volunteers for a 13 county area, to his current position as a Principal for FD Stonewater, David Stade has rarely been disappointed in his quest for challenge.  When asked about the best deal of his career so far, David replies "The best deals and projects are those which present an enormous challenge, rather than financial rewards or big numbers.  Any project in which I was able to pull a difficult deal out of the fire and make it work, I find very satisfying.”  

David grew up in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Carleton College in Minnesota.  After graduation, David moved to Madison and took the March of Dimes position while his wife entered the University of Wisconsin PhD Sociology program.  He worked there until he felt the pull to complete an MBA in International Business. When he decided to pick up a second major, he chose the real estate program because it was the best program in the country.  He enjoyed it immensely and narrowed his focus to real estate, earning his degree in 1998.   


MBA in hand, David went on to work for Citigroup/Salomon and later for Eastdil in New York and Los Angeles.  He co-founded Stonewater Partners in 2003, a firm that focused on corporate single tenant acquisitions, asset management and corporate advisory, including sale-leasebacks, just 5 years after receiving his MBA.  In 2011, Stonewater merged with FD Partners, which widened the scope of the company to include the acquisition, leasing, and development of federal government occupied real estate.  Of FD Stonewater, David states "I feel like participating in the development of this small, diverse firm with challenging work, enjoying what I do and the people I work with, is worthwhile” and counts the formation of the company as his most important career accomplishment to date.  

David credits much of his success to the UW real estate degree he earned, along with his strong connections within the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA).  Indeed, the alumni network helped David to land his first job in real estate and is a resource that he continues to call upon daily in his work. 


David currently lives and works in the Los Angeles area. He and his wife have a cabin in the mountains where they love to spend weekends hiking, fishing and just hanging out in the outdoors.  He serves on the Board of Directors of GiveLove, a non-profit founded by Patricia Arquette to develop temporary housing and eco-sanitation solutions in the third world and the Board of Directors for the Carleton College Alumni Annual Fund. He works with Habitat for Humanity and is a special advisor to the owner of Suphanburi F.C., a member of the Premier League in Thailand.


In his own words...

What advice would you give to graduates today?


Do what you are passionate about and do it passionately. We spend too much time at work to struggle with what we do every day.  If you work at what you love, it doesn’t seem like work.


Who is your hero?

I don’t have heroes so much as people I admire.  I admire anyone who goes out of their way, above and beyond, to help others out.  Rod Matthews is one of those people. He was instrumental in guiding me and we are still good friends today.