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CEO of ShopCore and LivCor visits Real Estate Club

Posted By Paige Riemann, Wednesday, November 13, 2019




On November 7, 2019, the Real Estate Club hosted Luke Petherbridge, Chief Executive Officer of ShopCore and LivCor.  Mr. Petherbridge spoke to the Club about his companies' extensive portfolios in retail and apartments.  He also shared career and personal life lessons he has learned along the way. 


Mr. Petherbridge began his career with ShopCore in May of 2016 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Currently, their portfolio includes 20 million square feet of retail, consisting of best-in-class open-air retailers concentrated in densely populated sub-markets. In addition to ShopCore, he became the President and Chief Executive Officer of LivCor in July of 2019.  LivCor has a portfolio of 68,000 apartment units. Both ShopCore and LivCor are affiliates of The Blackstone Group. 


Dmitry Lyamichev (BBA 2005) from ShopCore joined Mr. Petherbridge to moderate a fireside chat discussion which included professional and personal advice. Mr. Petherbridge discussed the importance of working for a strong but tough leader. He suggested that students look for leaders that will challenge them when considering job opportunities. Speaking from experience, he said that it might not be fun at the time, but in the end, it will push you to accomplish things you didn’t know you could do. Additionally, he discussed the importance of recognizing and seizing an opportunity. Mr. Petherbridge himself moved from Australia to Cleveland, Ohio and shared his firsthand knowledge of the difficulties and benefits of making big life changes to seize opportunities. 


As the Chief Executive Officer of two firms, Mr. Petherbridge brought a unique perspective to the students. When asked what challenged him the most in his career, he said that one of the toughest things about moving up to senior leadership positions is letting go of the tasks that you enjoy.  He said that it becomes much easier to delegate to others if you surround yourself with smart and hardworking people. Additionally, he discussed the importance of a work-life-balance and shared that it is something that he still finds difficult. One goal he pursues in this area is to be 100% present when he is at home to make his time there more meaningful. He also made small tweaks to his schedule to carve out more time at home. For example, when traveling for work, he flies back late at night, as opposed to flying back the next day, so he is at home and awake in the morning to spend time with his family.


Mr. Petherbridge spoke to the Real Estate Club last year. In fact, his presentation inspired Caitlin Tirakian, a current senior in the real estate program. She explained that “Luke’s presentation last year was what inspired me to pursue an internship at ShopCore Properties and I hope his presentation on Thursday encouraged other students to do the same. Luke is one of the most engaging, motivating and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure to know. We don’t always realize how lucky we are to have this exposure to leaders of the industry at the undergraduate level. Thanks to the alumni who have generously given their time and the Real Estate Club for providing the opportunities!”


Thank you to Mr. Petherbridge for speaking at the Real Estate Club and Mr. Lyamichev for leading the discussion. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the retail and residential sectors and gained insight from the lessons shared.  The Club is looking forward to their next meeting on December 5 when it will determine the executive board for next semester. They will also tour the new Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 6.


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The Real Estate Club in the Mile High City

Posted By Paige Riemann, Monday, November 4, 2019



The Real Estate Club traveled to Denver, Colorado on October 23, for their fall field trip. The trip was an opportunity for students to experience the booming city, meet with Denver alumni, and get to know one another. Students were joined by Gregory Reed, Associate Director of the Graaskamp Center, and Joe Walsh, Faculty Associate of the Graaskamp Center. Sharon McCabe, former Associate Director of the Graaskamp Center, was also able to join the trip. 


After landing in Denver, the Real Estate Club took the RTD Rail System to Union Station, near the hotel. Later, while touring Union Station, students learned about the crucial role the light rail system, Union Station and the speed of transportation played in the development of the city of Denver. After arriving at the hotel on Wednesday night, the Real Estate Club discussed the upcoming trip and met alumni. It was exciting to learn more about the city of Denver from people who lived there, such as recent MBA graduates Brian Cleary, Joel Schneider, and Hans Helland who have relocated to Denver. 


Thursday morning, the Real Estate Club started the day at CBRE with a market overview by Tim Richey (MS 1988), who introduced the Denver market and shared information that gave context to the other tours and presentations planned for the students. Mr. Richey earned his MS under Jim  Graaskamp. He shared with the club that when he once spoke to Graaskamp about where to find a job after graduation, Graaskamp told him to figure out where he wanted to live, think about what is best for his family, and then find a job there. In his market overview, Tim shared that Denver’s industry is far more diverse than it used to be and is in the middle of a rapid growth phase. Mr. Richey took the time to give students an excellent visual overview of Denver, pointing out three micro markets; the lower downtown, midtown, and uptown, highlighting the upward growth of the development friendly River North (RiNo) area. He also pointed out the light rail system and how it connected the city.


Following the stop at CBRE, the group met with leasing agents Alex Durkee and Kelly Martines for a tour of the recently opened, 40-story Hines Tower at 1144 15th Street. The building is the first Class A office tower developed in Denver in more than 30 years. The leasing agents pointed out the level of detail that went into the building, from the facade imported from Italy to the scents infused into each room. The team is also proud that the Hines Tower is  a LEED-Gold-Certified building. Through innovative design, the  structure has a 10% higher energy efficiency rate than competing buildings. The Real Estate Club toured the lobby and visited the common space and gym on floor two. They also got to visit a vacant white box space that is yet to be leased, which was a unique opportunity for students to see an unfinished office space with a stunning view of the city and the mountains. 


1144 Fifteenth Street


After the Hines Tower tour, the Club met Denver alumni for lunch at Tamayo, a restaurant located in the Lodo district. The lunch was hosted by Kevin Kelley (MBA1980), Tom McCahill (MBA 1980) and Mike Komppa (MS 1975). Over Mexican cuisine, students updated alumni on what is happening at UW-Madison. Alumni shared stories of their student days, discussed the different economic cycles they’ve experienced, and shared the importance of perseverance in times of adversity. The alumni also discussed the lifelong friendships they have gained from the program and advised students to take advantage of the unique opportunities the UW-Madison Real Estate program offers. 


Next, the club met with CU Denver Professor, Ken Schroeppel, to talk about the development and urban planning behind Union Station and the surrounding area. Union Station is a pinnacle of downtown Denver and has had a recent makeover since it was built over 100 years ago. It is now regarded as Denver’s “living room” and walking in you can see why. The inside of the station has comfortable seating areas that are busy with people waiting for their train, catching up with a friend, or getting some work done. Union Station was developed to combine various operations and railways. In 2001, RTD purchased the site and there was a massive effort to redevelop the station and the surrounding area to create a main transportation hub. Mr. Schroeppel pointed out the renovation of the property relied on the fact that Denver is a progressive city that supports tax increases. He also talked about the development in the surrounding area, which included adding three new pedestrian bridges. The bridges were created as a powerful pedestrian walkway to connect parts of the city. Just the day before, the Real Estate Club used the bridges to go from their hotel to the Ale House. Mr. Schroeppel shared that many Denver citizens, himself included, use the bridges to walk to work every day. The area between Union Station and the pedestrian bridges has only been  developed within the last 11 years. 


After the tour of Union Station, the students went to The Source Hotel, which is in the River North (RiNo) district. The club met with Justin Croft of Zeppelin Places, the company that developed the property.  Justin gave the students a tour of the Market Hall, which began life as the Colorado Iron Works foundry in 1880.  The hall is now host to many independent food and artisan vendors and breweries. One of the vendors in the Market Hall is Isabel, a juice and cocktail bar named after Isabel Nesmith Even, the former president of the Iron Works. The Source Hotel honored her legacy as the first female industrialist in Denver by naming the bar in the center of the Market Hall after her.  After touring the Market Hall, the students went to the hotel on the property. The hotel is inspired by both Scandinavian and Japanese design and provides for a unique lodging experience the minute you check in with New Belgium beer on tap at the front desk. The hotel also has a rooftop bar and the pool with breathtaking views of the city and mountains. Mr. Croft discussed the importance of the River North neighborhood, which honored the historic legacy of Denver’s former manufacturing district in its redevelopment as a destination in Denver’s culinary, retail, and art scene.



The Source Hotel


To complete the day, the students enjoyed dinner with alumni at Liberati. The restaurant had delicious food and is home to Oenobeers. Oenobeers is a beer/wine hybrid, with beer using wine grapes in fermentation. Liberati is the only brewery in the world that is dedicated to Oenobeers.


Friday morning, the club went to Northwood Investors, where they met with former Real Estate Club President, Brian Cleary (MBA 2019), to talk to him about his new job and to hear about Northwoods recent projects. Northwood Investors was founded by John Z. Kukral, the former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. The firm invests across a wide range of asset classes including hotel, office, retail, residential and industrial properties across the United States and Europe. Northwood Investors targets long-term value creation with longer holding periods than other real estate opportunity funds.    


Following Northwood Investors, the group met  with Matt Joblon from BMC Investments located in Denver’s upscale neighborhood of Cherry Creek. The office building, called the Financial House, is a  BMC Investments development. Mr. Joblon talked about moving from Los Angeles to Denver and the power of an entrepreneurial spirit. He told students that in order to create a business your idea must meet the “Three S’s”, it must be saleable, sustainable, and scalable. He also discussed the relationship in real estate between risk and reward, and the importance of protecting ourselves in downturns. He talked with the students about BMC’s development of Steele Creek, a high-rise luxury apartment building, where they were able to identify the pent-up demand in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. Mr. Joblon emphasized the importance of looking at past developments and asking for feedback to help improve future developments. He even asked students for feedback on the BMC Investment properties that they were touring that afternoon. After the development of Steele Creek, BMC Investments developed more ultra-luxury apartment buildings in Cherry Creek North called the St. Paul Collection. In this development, BMC utilized features from their success in Steele Creek while incorporating improvements from feedback received. The Real Estate Club got to tour the St. Paul Collection apartments, including their rooftop pool, community area on the second floor, and model unit. 


The St. Paul Collection


The trip concluded with a final lunch at Elway’s located in Cherry Creek. The lunch, hosted by alumni Bill Evans (MS 1984) from Madison Realty Investors, was an excellent way to wrap up another incredible Real Estate Club Trip.


Thank you to trip organizers, WREAA Market Representative Chad Messer (MBA 2015), Real Estate Club Presidents Andy Evans and Jared Schnoll. To the Denver alumni, thank you for your time and commitment in welcoming the Real Estate Club, talking about your time at UW, and introducing the students to the Denver market. The effort of all who were involved made this an amazing trip!


We look forward to the Spring Real Estate Club Trip!


For more photos from the trip, please view our video on Facebook.


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UW-Madison Student Team in Top Two at Debt Case Competition

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, October 31, 2019


A team consisting of both MBA and BBA real estate students brought home second place from the 2019 CRE Financial Council Real Estate Debt Case Competition in New York, New York on Tuesday, October 29th. 

Evan Gorder (MBA 2021), Carolyn Kane (MBA 2021), William Han (BA 2020), and Michal Von Schledorn (BA 2020) excelled among a formidable field of 12 of the top real estate programs in the country, including UNC Chapel Hill (1st Place), Wharton, Yale, Columbia and Rutgers.


The team developed a refinancing proposal for their bank's underwriting committee for an office and industrial property in Chicago, IL.  Their proposal included underwriting of cash flows (lease by lease analysis), determining lender risks, mitigation strategy for risk with covenants and terms, balancing borrower desire for max cashout while generating appropriate risk-adjusted returns for the bank. 


“This is our first time participating in a debt competition, which makes this achievement truly extraordinary.” said team faculty advisor Arif Qureshi. “The team prepared methodically in the week prior to the case, worked tirelessly for 7 days, gave an outstanding presentation and were excellent ambassadors of the UW-real estate program.  They embodied the key components of a successful debt underwriting team, working well together under stressful conditions and demonstrating the ability to make decisions without ego.”


The team was able to add this competition to the roster thanks to a generous donation from David Kim of the Bascom Group.


Congratulations to Arif and the team!


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Real Estate Club Invites Senior Housing and Destination Developers

Posted By Paige Riemann, Wednesday, October 30, 2019



Following a very successful Fall Career Fair, the Real Estate Club was fortunate to have two incredible speakers visit in the first weeks of October.

The Real Estate Club’s second meeting, held on Thursday, October 10th, featured Milo Pinkerton (MS 1979), CEO of MSP Real Estate and Heritage Senior Housing. He shared with the students his over 30 years of experience in architecture, real estate, and construction. In addition to his MS in Real Estate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mr. Pinkerton received a Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The MSP Real Estate portfolio consists of affordable housing, commercial offices, and senior living. They focus on high quality properties and utilize their own general contracting and construction management to ensure their quality standards and to save on cost. 

“Milo Pinkerton was such an interesting speaker, it made me realize active living is something that can help senior citizens live happier and healthier lifestyles,” said Zac Bertucci, a senior in the Wisconsin Real Estate Program. 

The following week, on October 17th, the REC gathered at the Rooftop Plaza Bar at the Edgewater for a social event.  The club networked, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, and heard from Stuart Zadra (MS 1985) of Landmark Development. 

Landmark Development is known for projects that create destinations including sports stadiums, health complexes, and waterparks. One project that Mr. Zadra spent a lot of time discussing is Landmark Development’s involvement in the renovation of Lambeau Field. They discussed the value that they put on tradition and preserving the history of the sports team. In a discussion about how stadiums utilize the space outside of the football season to have business all year round, Mr. Zadra gave the example of the development of Titletown, a mixed-use development just west of Lambeau Field.  Title town was created with the goal of creating and sustaining a community of fans. The development contains a 10-acre park, featuring a sledding hill, ice rink and ice lounge, a hotel and shopping, Additionally, Titletown provides year-round programming for local residents and tourists, such as game day activities, fitness classes and social events

 Mr. Zadra also discussed Landmark Development’s renovation of the Edgewater Hotel, which was completed in 2014.  Since 1948, the hotel has been regarded as one of Madison’s finest hotels. The hotel, which is located on the waterfront, provides fine dining, lodging, and meeting space.  “It was special to hear about the effort and passion put into renovating the Edgewater Hotel, especially since we were gathered there for our meeting” said Kathryn Stern (BBA ‘21).

Students of the Real Estate Club are grateful that these two alumni took time to share their experiences and insights. The next Real Estate Club meeting will be Thursday, November 7th.

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2019 Trends Conference Recap

Posted By Paige Riemann, Wednesday, October 16, 2019


A record-breaking crowd of 260 Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni and friends gathered on September 25-26 for the 2019 Wisconsin Real Estate Trends Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Conference attendees networked, met new contacts and heard industry experts discuss “What’s Next?” in real estate.


The Conference Planning Committee which was co-chaired by Jaime Fink and Michael Zelin and included Alexis Block, Cody Langeness, Lamar Newburn, Jim Roemer, and Daniel Sherman, planned a stellar program with up-to-the-minute topics.  Many thanks to the twenty-five sponsors whose generosity made the program possible. Thanks also to all who attended the event.  We hope that you found the conference beneficial and enjoyable!


Conference Highlights

The conference kicked-off on Wednesday, September 25 with a VIP Reception where board members, guest speakers, Partners and Event Sponsors networked on the rooftop garden at the Radisson Blu Aqua. Immediately following, all attendees gathered for the Welcome Reception, on the roof deck at One Two Pru. The perfect weather, fantastic food and breathtaking views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, made this a special and memorable event. 


On Thursday morning, attendees gathered at the Mid-America Club where the day's program began with Keynote Speaker, Jimmy Hinton. Hinton, the Senior Managing Director of Investments & Analytics of Transwestern, shared his thoughts on late cycle investing and what he foresees for the real estate markets for 2020. He discussed the uncertainly in the industry caused by current events, including the trade wars, BREXIT, and impeachment proceedings, as well as a number of other considerations that will impact investments in 2020. He left the audience to consider the possibility, that transaction volumes remain constant in election years, so investment strategies should also remain constant.


Jimmy Hinton


Morning Panel Sessions

Following Jimmy's market outlook, panel session offerings included the topics of opportunity zones and capital markets. Duane Lund, CEO of NAI Legacy,  Will Murphy, Managing Partner at CEDARst Companies and Mark Stern, Managing Partner at Cresset Partners,  participated in “The New O-Zone Layer: Opportunity Zones and Their Impact on CRE” panel, which was moderated by Brian Davis, Partner at Mayer Brown LLP. This panel discussed the use of Opportunity Zones that were added to the tax code in late 2017.  While development decisions are not necessarily based on Opportunity Zones, panel members did share that they have benefitted from having developed in locations where opportunity zones are present. Additionally, they discussed the advantage of layering Opportunity Zones on top of their pre-existing business models.


The second panel of the day, “Capital Providers: What Inning are We In?” was moderated by Alexis Block of J.P. Morgan Chase, with Barrie Bloom, Senior Vice President at GEM Realty Properties, Karen Case, President, US Commercial Real Estate at CIBC, Chris Kosonen, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan and Collin McKenna, Vice President of Acquisitions at Golub & Company.  The panel examined numerous perspectives on where we currently are in the economic cycle and whether caution or optimism should prevail in strategies, moving into the next year.


Austan Goolsbee


Lunch Program

During the luncheon program, Graaskamp Center Director Mark Eppli and Associate Director Greg Reed updated attendees on new initiatives in the real estate program and shared that the program is more popular than ever, with over 500 undergraduate students currently enrolled. Eppli also honored a key figure in the alumni community, Jim Curtis, who passed away in June, following his battle with ALS. He shared that plans are underway for a formal memorial to Jim during the 2020 Biennial Reunion. Guest speaker Austan Goolsbee, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, shared his own economic outlook with the lunch audience drawing from insights gained during his tenure as Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under the Obama Administration. 


Afternoon Panel Sessions

Following lunch, attendees took part in two additional panels on innovative investing and late cycle investing.  An informative discussion with the panel “Innovative Trends for Today’s Real Estate Investor” was moderated by Daniel Sherman, from outlier Realty Capital. The panel featured Alex Antolino, Development, Brookfield Properties Mixed-Use Division, Michael Majestic, Partner at Willard Retail and Britt Zaffir, CEO of Kin. Panel members discussed the development of office, housing and retail spaces, emphasizing the importance of offering amenities in each of those sectors. Current trends in the retail sector include provisions for apartment living, creative workplaces, entertainment, and bars and restaurants. Office sector offerings were cited that included fitness rooms, outdoor spaces, tenant amenity lounges and conference centers while the housing sector offerings focus on utilizing common spaces for programming, meeting the needs for young urban families.


The last panel of the day was on Late Cycle Investing with Timothy Ellsworth, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Transactions for the Americas. RREEF Management LLC, Mary Ludgin, Senior Managing Director and Director of Global Investment Research, Heitman,  Laurie Smith, CIO, Blue Vista Capital Management, LLC and Eteri Zaslavsky who is a Managing Director at Next Realty Capital.  Moderated by Matthew Lawton, who is an Executive Managing Director at JLL Capital Markets, this panel focused on the trends and opportunities that are best for US investors to consider given the current expanding economy. One aspect of the discussion debated the outlook for investing in retail and industrial properties.  Across the panel, speaker opinions varied on whether a solid investment strategy should lean heavily on the retail sector.  Among some, there is still considerable optimism in the retail market as online retailers invest in brick and mortar stores. It was the industrial sector that was viewed as one of the most attractive products. Attendees ended the day with a better understanding of the pros and cons of each product. 

Mark your calendars and be on the lookout for more information about the 2020 Biennial Wisconsin Real Estate Conference, which will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on September 10-1, 2020.

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REC Meeting Features Tips for First Ever Fall Career Fair

Posted By Paige Riemann, Wednesday, October 2, 2019




The Wisconsin Real Estate students have started the fall semester off strong with their first Real Estate Club meeting on September 12th and the Fall Real Estate Career Fair on September 16th. 

The first meeting had a large number of returning members and eager freshmen. It was focused on preparation for the Career Fair with discussions led by Graaskamp Center staff Mark Eppli, Director and Greg Reed, Assistant Director, along with Zach Pagel (BBA ‘16) who is a National Real Estate Representative at McDonald’s. 

Following networking among undergraduates and MBA students, the panel started by teaching the importance of first impressions, including the attention that should be placed on appearance and making eye contact. Eppli and Reed also emphasized the value that the department places on respect, and how students represent the program. The panel discussed the importance of preparation for an interview, and how to leverage the WREAA directory to see if there are any alumni at the firm. It was noted that all students have a complimentary WREAA membership with access to the directory. 

The students utilized the discussion from the first Real Estate Club meeting while at the Career Fair, where over 180 students and 40 companies were present. All real estate students were able to build connections with the goal of acquiring an internship or full-time position. This is the first year that the Real Estate Club has hosted a career fair in the fall. With more and more internship applications due in the fall, it is essential for students to have the opportunity to exchange resumés and learn about internships early into the school year. 

Kelsey Ault, a Junior in the Wisconsin Real Estate Program said, “The Real Estate Career Fair was an extremely valuable experience. The recruiters I spoke with were very personable and informative. For someone who would like to work outside the Midwest, I was happy to see firms from all across the country recruiting.” 

Thank you to all recruiters and real estate professionals who came to the Career Fair, we thank you for taking the time to discuss great opportunities with our students. We are looking forward to the Spring Career Fair! 

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An Interview with Sharon McCabe

Posted By Maria-Elena Svigos, Wednesday, May 22, 2019


This May, long-time UW Faculty Associate, Sharon McCabe, will be retiring from the Real Estate Program after 20 impactful years. As she wraps up her last semester on campus, WREAA Social Media Intern, Maria-Elena Svigos, spent some time with Sharon to learn about her journey through the program over the last two decades. They talked about Sharon’s time as a student on campus, her transition in and out of the professional world, and her experiences as an educator of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students.

The Back Story on Sharon
In 1975, Sharon came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to begin her undergrad degree in Social Work.  After a year and a half, she realized that social work was not her passion and took a break from school.  In the next decade, Sharon’s motivation, adaptiveness and curiosity became apparent as she looked for new opportunities in the Madison area.  She sampled a wide range of occupations, beginning with a stretch as a semi-truck driver.  She then moved on to purchase and manage a local restaurant.  For a time, she even worked selling houses. 

After a ten-year break from school, Sharon decided it was time to complete her degree and at the age of 28, she came back to the University of Wisconsin. After taking the course “Introduction to the City,” which is still around today, she realized that her passion was for urban planning and real estate. She was eager to join one of the best Real Estate Programs in the nation and officially completed her undergraduate degree in real estate in 1989. She went straight through to the MS program after graduation and completed her Masters in 1992. While completing her undergraduate degree, Sharon held a work-study position with Madison’s Mayor’s Office.  During her graduate degree, Sharon started working for Real Estate Dynamics, Inc., an appraisal and consulting company started by UW alumni and faculty. She then moved to the City of Madison assessor’s office and spent eight years valuing all the commercial property in downtown Madison.  While at the City Assessor’s office, Sharon was asked to teach a graduate level appraisal class during the summer of 1998 for the Real Estate Department.

After teaching this class, Sharon was asked to teach undergraduate classes.  She eventually quit her job as City Assessor and committed to teaching full time.  Sharon was also very involved with the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association over the years, serving as a Regional Director and At Large Board Member.  She continues to be one of WREAA’s most active advocates. Sharon has impacted countless students who have gone through the Wisconsin program, especially during her nearly 16 years as the Real Estate Club advisor, where she attended almost every club trip and biweekly meeting. Over the last 20 years, she taught graduate-level and undergraduate-level Real Estate Valuation courses in addition to the  Real Estate Process course. Sharon also helped to plan international trips for graduate students and led one trip to Expo REAL for a special group of undergrads. 

Here are some interesting insights and reflections that Sharon shared:

What was your favorite class to teach?

All of them, for different reasons! I like teaching Valuation just because it’s practical. I loved teaching 306 (Real Estate Process) because you get to introduce new students to the world of real estate and share your favorite stories.

What are some of the most memorable events or meetings that you have been a part of while teaching at the UW?
Real Estate Club trips! I will always remember going up 40 floors in the skip hoist to the top of a new development in Seattle that boasted the best views of the city. I love seeing historic buildings come back to life with new construction. In 2012, we visited the Liberty Hotel in Boston, which was a renovated historic jail. Also, we went to Union Station in Denver and saw the history come alive with its beautiful renovations.  I really enjoyed the large-scale and mixed-use projects like the Atlanta Braves Stadium, which is developing retail and office around it, as well as the Cowboys Practice Stadium. It was awesome to visit the Google Campus, the Amazon Campus, and Silicon Valley.  One of my favorites was the tour of Wrigley Field. I got to try on the Cubs World Series ring and meet the owner of the Cubs, Tim Ricketts!  Lastly, I like taking tours locally. I enjoyed touring the Hub under construction and remember the most incredible views from the rooftop.  We also toured Grand Central during construction and stood on that rooftop as well.

What is the biggest change that you have seen in the program over the years?
Because of changes within the industry, we now have a more financial-heavy program. This is necessary to keep up with the times and changing commercial real estate trends. Also, it’s great that there are many more undergrads studying real estate now than in prior years. We currently have over 400 undergraduate students in the major where it used to be a quarter of that size!  Another change is that we have WREAA’s online directory, which is a great tool to keep these students engaged with the network.

What has stayed the same?

There is still a passion for the industry. There is more competition around the country now, but we are still regarded as having one of the best Real Estate programs, Alumni Associations and Real Estate Clubs in the nation. The underpinnings of the program have continued; we will always have strong faculty members, lecturers, and guest speakers coming onto campus.

What are your retirement plans?
I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do because I haven’t had the time to think about it! This job has been my life blood and all encompassing.  Even when I have time off, I’m never off. Retiring is giving me a chance to step back from that. I have had a narrow focus over the last twenty years. Now I will have no more tunnel vision. I can go on a walk and see what’s out there in the world and decide what I want to do.

How will you stay involved within the program?
I will definitely come back and guest lecture, attend Real Estate Club meetings and Graaskamp conferences, and of course attend Alumni Association conferences (someone will have to run speed networking!).

Why should students join the WREAA? Why is this organization so important?
Take advantage of all of this! (Points to the WREAA Directory, aka “the Book”). I encourage students to check out the WREAA alumni directory and reach out to our great alums.  Ask them for 15 minutes of their time to learn about what they do.  While alumni are busy, they always try to find time to help our students.  It is a great way to make connections and learn more about the real estate industry. Why wouldn’t students do this?!

If you could pass on one piece of advice to all students, what would it be?

Get to know your professors!

Also, take advantage of the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association and the Real Estate Club. Show up, take advantage of every guest speaker, every trip, and every opportunity. Do not forsake outside learning because it is just as valuable as what you will learn inside the classroom.

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Student Spotlight - Andy Evans

Posted By Maria-Elena Svigos, Blue Vista Capital Management, Thursday, May 9, 2019


Introducing Andy Evans, one of Real Estate Club’s incoming Co-Presidents for the Fall 2019 semester. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Andy has family roots here in Madison and just completed his first year as an MBA candidate. Andy sat down with Social Media Intern, Maria-Elena Svigos, to discuss his past, his interests in real estate, and his goals for the Real Estate Club next semester. 


Where are you originally from and how did you end up at UW?


Originally, I am from Denver, but I have been making my way to Wisconsin for much of my life. My parents are from Madison and both went to the UW, so it was only a matter of time and a little luck that I decided to study real estate here.


What was your career experience prior to the Wisconsin MBA program? What motivated you to pursue an MBA in Real Estate?


Upon finishing undergrad degree, I worked as a financial analyst within an international IT consulting firm and spent time in Germany. After a couple years, I switched careers to work with a small real estate investment firm in Denver where we acquired multi family projects in Colorado and Florida. The properties we were acquiring had a lot of value created through our initiatives and management, so watching these properties change was truly fun, and that’s when I knew it was something I could do long term.


What are you most excited to do as REC President?


I’m looking forward to working with alumni and all students to bring great presenters to the real estate club meetings. Real world exposure combined with the academic rigor within the Graaskamp program is incredibly important and we want to expand on these principles. 


What are your post-graduation goals?


I would love to work in acquisitions and also work alongside asset management. I would like to end up in a position that offers the life cycle of a deal.


How has your WREAA membership been beneficial so far?


So far, the alumni have been the best. It’s a very unique structure how students and professionals interact. No other program offers this connection and that’s what makes Wisconsin so amazing.


What has been your favorite event or experience as a member of the Real Estate Club or the WREAA?


So far, it has been the Biennial. Talking with alumni and listening to how they have progressed in their careers helps paint a picture of what it could look like for current students futures. Not only that, but they like to have a good time, so that doesn’t hurt either.


How do you spend your free time?


In the summer I love to golf, and I have always spent my winters skiing. 


What are your plans for the summer?


I will be working for MetLife in their Chicago office supporting their acquisition, debt and asset management teams. I’m looking forward seeing their work and how such large deals operate. 

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Spotlight on 2019 WREAA Scholarship Recipients

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Each year, through the generous donations made to the alumni association by dedicated alumni and friends, WREAA administers four scholarships. In addition to the Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Scholarship Award and the Stephen Malpezzi Tradition and Innovation Scholarship, WREAA was able to provide two $2,000 scholarships to undergraduate students in 2019. This post highlights the recipients of the scholarships administered by WREAA, Conor Mc Carthy, Matthew Soffer, William Han and Joan McCarthy.


Conor McCarthy (BBA 2020), a junior from Vancouver Washington, was chosen to receive the Stephen Malpezzi Tradition and Innovation Scholarship for 2019.  Conor is active on campus, serving on the executive board of UW-Madison’s Capital Management Club, where he is spearheading the club’s goal of recruiting female members and fostering their participation.  Conor also volunteers at The Open Seat, an on-campus food pantry. He is a double major in Real Estate and Finance and has secured a summer internship with Hammes Partners in Milwaukee as a Private Equity Summer Analyst.

Matthew Soffer (BBA Dec. 2020), the recipient of the WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship, hails from Tenafly, New Jersey.  He is majoring in both Real Estate and Finance and hopes to work in Public equity at a REIT, or at a private equity firm following graduation.  Matthew is the Campus Ambassador for the International Council for Shopping Centers (ICSC), the BBA Ambassador for UW-Madison, and Treasurer of Alpha Kappa Psi. He will head to Denver this summer to complete an internship as the Portfolio Management Summer Analyst at EverWest Real Estate Investors.

William Han (BBA 2020), is the second recipient of the WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship.  William, who is majoring in Real Estate and Finance, is from Glendale, Wisconsin.  He is involved in both the Wisconsin Investment Banking Club and the Real Estate Club on campus.  William also tutors K-5th grade students in after school programs at Schenk and Orchid Elementary in Madison through the Badger Volunteers program. William is making plans to spend the summer in New York City, interning with BNP Paribas as a Global Markets Summer Analyst.

Joan McCarthy (BBA 2020), is the recipient of the 2019 Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Real Estate Scholarship Award.  Joan is double majoring in Real Estate and Finance.  She was born and raised in Madison and is making plans to move to the West Coast following her graduation next spring.  Joan is active in Badger Business Professionals, where she has served as a volunteer event coordinator, VP of Foundation and currently holds the office of Co-President.  She will intern with CBRE in Los Angeles as a Finance Consulting Intern this summer. 

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Student Spotlight - Jared Schnoll

Posted By Maria-Elena Svigos, Blue Vista Capital Management, Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Today the WREAA features Jared Schnoll, one of Real Estate Club’s incoming Co-Presidents for the Fall 2019 semester. Originally from Milwaukee, Jared earned a BS in Real Estate and Finance from Indiana University and later worked in Chicago for four years before returning to Wisconsin to earn his graduate degree. Jared sat down with Social Media Intern, Maria-Elena Svigos, to discuss his past, his interests in real estate, and his goals for the Real Estate Club next semester. 


Where are you originally from and how did you end up at UW?

I grew up in Milwaukee and went to Indiana University for my undergraduate degree in Finance-Real Estate. After working in Chicago for four years in real estate lending, I decided it was the right time to go back to school for my MBA. I grew up a Badgers fan and have always heard great things about the highly-ranked real estate program at UW-Madison. After researching my options, I decided the Graaskamp Center was the best fit for me. I also had a ton of friends go to UW for their undergraduate degree and I always had a good time visiting them in Madison. It’s a great city to be in for grad school.


What was your career experience prior to the Wisconsin MBA program? What motivated you to pursue an MBA in Real Estate?

I worked at CIBC (f.k.a. The Private Bank) for four years as a commercial banker. During my time there, I was placed in the commercial real estate group where I managed relationships with institutional investors. In my role I originated bridge loans for value-add deals, tracked performance of existing portfolios, and handled legal negotiations for loan closings. Being able to see a variety of deals and business plan strategies sparked my interest to transition from the debt side to the equity side. I want to get my MBA to understand the details of real estate investing and open up an entire new network of real estate professionals.   


What are you most excited to do as REC President?

I’m excited to help the REC continue to get interesting and successful speakers to come to campus, develop networking opportunities for members, and plan cool trips to development sites. Another major goal of mine is to continue to find ways for undergraduate and graduate real estate students to start forming relationships now. Forming these relationships will benefit us all down the road when we are the leaders in the industry. 


What are your post-graduation goals?

After graduation I’m hoping to get a job in commercial real estate development or acquisitions in Chicago. Eventually, I hope to be in a position to invest in the deals myself. 


How has your WREAA membership been beneficial so far?

Becoming a member of WREAA has been extremely beneficial for me. In just one year, I have met countless alumni who are willing to give advice and help wherever possible. The WREAA network is truly an amazingly tight-knit group who values paying it back for the help they’ve received over the years. 


What has been your favorite event or experience as a member of the Real Estate Club or the WREAA?

My favorite experience as a member of the Real Estate Club was the trip to Miami. We got to see some amazing projects and the trip was a ton of fun. I had never been to the city before and enjoyed learning from local real estate companies about the different challenges they face. 


How do you spend your free time?

In my free time I like playing sports (soccer, basketball, golf), traveling (I spent 2 months backpacking in Europe before the MBA program), cooking/grilling, and spending time outside with friends and my dog.


What are your plans for the summer?

This summer I’m going to be interning at Venture One Real Estate, an industrial developer in Chicago. I will be supporting the acquisitions group and am looking forward to learning more about the industrial sector. 

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