NAIOP Wisconsin Developing Leaders Lunch with a Leader Series-2012
“Be prepared. Reputation is everything in this business,” said Mark Irgens of Irgens, speaking at the April DL “Lunch With A Leader” event in April. Irgens, a Milwaukee native and co-founder of the NAIOP Wisconsin chapter, shared this piece of advice at the end of a lunch with several Developing Leaders (NAIOP members under the age of 35). During a wide-ranging discussion, Irgens spoke about his career, growing a business, and why starting the NAIOP chapter in Wisconsin was important to him.
After growing up in Wauwatosa and graduating from UW-Madison (where he stumbled upon Jim Grasskamp’s Real Estate Development class, and knew immediately that this industry was the right fit for him), Irgens spent several years in underwriting and appraisal analysis before convincing the Boldt Company to start a development arm and hire him to lead it.
Irgens spent several years with Boldt, but after a while the Boldt family decided to move away from development and it became apparent the two would split. Irgens and his employees started their own development company after that, growing quickly and even expanding into Phoneix. However, the market downturn would slow the progress. “After a long and conservative development career managing risk, we lost sight of that and made some bad decisions.”
Irgens recovered, and today is looking to acquire distressed properties.
Starting the NAIOP Wisconsin chapter with Jerry Franke (WISPARK) and Mike Mooney (MLG Commercial) and serving as a president of the association was very rewarding to Irgens. Having a mentor, he says, was also important to him. “Warren Parsons (former CFO at Boldt) and my father (an architect) had a big impact on me, and I learned a lot from Bill Ornstein as well,” he says.
Irgens ended the lunch with advice for the Developing Leaders, “This is a country where you can make a huge financial mistakes, but if you don’t do anything wrong or dishonest you can come back from it. Also, be careful. Right now the economy forces you to be careful, but things will get easier. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Things change and they can change fast. Always be prepared and careful.”
Andrew D. Hunt
Assistant Director, Center for Real Estate