Please describe your professional background and your current career goals.
I began my career as a residential real estate broker before beginning the Portland State Master of Real Estate Development (MRED). During the MRED program, I started my infill development business, DBS Group, with two partners, and also began focusing on commercial brokerage.
Both sides of the business have grown since graduating. I hope to continue to grow our development business with a focus on middle-housing and pedestrian-oriented multifamily projects, while simultaneously growing my commercial brokerage business.
What drew you to real estate and PSU’s MRED initially?
I enjoy the tangible, project-based aspect of real estate. It is very rewarding for me to drive by a project that we developed and see people entering and leaving their apartments or houses and enjoying what we built. Likewise, on the brokerage side, it is rewarding to see businesses and individuals thrive in locations that I helped them lease or purchase.
I knew that I wanted to work in commercial real estate (CRE) in Portland and expand my knowledge of the subject, and PSU was the only grad program in the city focusing on CRE. It is also a very well-connected program, which I knew would be important if I wanted to work in Portland long term.
What MRED courses did you find most engaging?
Housing Economics and Market Analysis were the two courses that I found the most engaging and applicable to my own professional experience. In my final project for Housing Econ, I did a deep dive into price-rent theory and how it applies to Portland housing. The results of this project changed the philosophy of our development business, and have helped us better see development opportunities based on location. The understanding that I developed in Market Analysis on how to study an area and anticipate the demand for new products has helped me with both brokerage and development.
Congratulations on your CCIM certification! How does that certification impact your career?
The CCIM certificate has impacted my career, particularly on the brokerage side, by giving me another level of credibility as a broker. Hanging my license at a smaller, mostly residential firm, it can be hard to be taken seriously by brokers from larger firms who I haven’t worked with before. The CCIM certificate also helps me engage the commercial real estate community in general.
The fast track process at PSU made getting my CCIM designation a lot easier, essentially cutting the course work down to only one major course. The major principles learned in the MRED curriculum were key components on the CCIM designation test that I felt I had mastered through the graduate program.
What has surprised you most about the graduate student experience?
I am pleasantly surprised by how the connections with other MRED alumni have played a big part in my professional life. I continue to work with and catch up with other MRED alumni regularly, and they have been an important part of my professional network.
I would advise prospective and current MRED students to engage other students in their cohort. Don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni, and try to attend as many of the social gatherings as you can. If you want to work in CRE in Portland long-term, you will be surprised with how many MRED alums you run into and who will become a part of your network.