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MS, Masters Real Estate Development

March 13, 2013

Upon graduation, my aim is to continue a similar, yet enhanced path I began over ten years ago when I first set out to own and operate my own independent real estate development company.  Any developer wants to be the best performer in their field, and yet, I have grown to know that there is something more that is needed, and the market tangibly reflects this through such ideals as sustainability, green materials, energy-efficient, quality construction, affordability, and ethics.  It is interesting to me that it was initially outside the classroom, not from a textbook that I realized a greater portion of these ideals.  Rather, I learned them through interacting with the various stakeholders within active volunteerism with such groups as Habitat for Humanity, whose work I have donated hundreds of hours, and scar tissue to furthering.  Through my own successes, I am intent upon continuing the pace of volunteerism I always have, but giving back in larger, more effective ways than ever before.

 More specifically, I aim to build affordable and sustainable housing for working-class and middle-class Americans.  I do not seek to just advance my position in the residential real estate development sector, but also to make this sector better in terms of sustainability, social and environmental responsibility.  If my work is to truly have meaning, it must be the finest example I can possibly set.  Again, this is not solely for my benefit, or even the extended community, but for my legacy, my pride, my own adopted son.  I want to be a father he can be proud of, and a businessperson that made positive contributions to his corner of the US economy, leading by example, helping to pave a better road for America’s citizens, those yearning for a better tomorrow, and exhausted by a lengthy recession.

 In order to better the residential real estate industry in my area, land use analysis, due diligence/feasibility, concept land planning, entitlements and acquisition developer, tenant/purchaser, and subcontractor negotiations all must be optimized, perhaps completely rethought.  If these changes are not possible industry-wide, then it will begin with my company, my strategy, and proactive example to others.  Therefore, I will be carving out a niche and optimal market position.

 Developer John Knott said it best when he said, “[green development is] a return to climactically, geographically, and culturally appropriate way of architecture and building, in combination with new technologies.”  Gone are the days when we could simply look at local or even regional market forces.  Now, we are looking at the global environmental and market indicators.  The paradigm shift has already occurred and tenants are now looking for developers that can meet their needs, needs that are being outlined by the US Department of Energy, and legislation that will determine who can compete and who is obsolete.  My goals then will clearly include increased energy, and resource saving technologies - ergo efficiency - in all of my works, and environmentally conscious development strategies with a constant eye towards cost-effectiveness, for example, utilizing the highest-efficiency heating/cooling systems, and emission free paints.  Better housing design used to mean ergonomics.  Today it means ergonomics as well as being green and meeting social ideals.  I know we can do better and still keep it affordable at any scale and with any type of development.

 To date, I have always strived to consult with the community I aim to serve or will be impacted by my work.  In my future work, I aim to continue to foster community and cultural cohesion – and therefore respect - and not just consider, for example ecosystems, but also their restoration or enhancement, identifying the solution multipliers and implementing them.  The ideals are beneficial to the developer, tenant and society as a whole.  The developer can make this happen, embracing the transystemic aspects, and reaping the benefits that translate into reduced operating costs of development, reduced liabilities, reduced regulatory delays, and decreased capital costs, through, for example, use of local materials.  By examining what is already here, and what aught to be here, my business will meet and ideally exceed environmental and social needs.

 In the past, real estate development has always gone through cyclical changes, and now, just as in approximately each preceding decade, we have seen fundamental, structural changes.  As more traditional developers – competitors – fail to adapt, the opportunity for average profitability will only increase.  Change is here once again, and it is no longer a case of if, but how the real estate developer will meet the challenge.

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