Greg Walz, Northwestern Investment Management Company, Mentor
I have been involved in mentoring programs previously and I have to say that I have gotten the most out of this program. I say this because not only do I have a good partner in Mark Theine but also the Chapter did such a good job in organizing the program and setting appropriate expectations for the mentor and mentee. There are a few things during the program that surprised me the most. One is the form of communication Mark likes to use. My daughters use texting and social media outlets for a large part of their communications. I assumed that most Millennials do the same. But Mark is “old school”, he likes the personal touch so he likes to communicate with people via the phone. Mark also specializes in medical office buildings (MOBs). Despite being in commercial real estate for almost 40 years he has taught me things about investing in MOBs. Lastly, I work for a company that I don’t have to worry about investable funds. Northwestern generates over $1 billion a month in cash to invest. Mark’s company on the other hand has to raise capital whenever they want to do new investments. It has been a real learning experience of how they did it. Right now they are talking to a company about trying to do a JV that might eventually lead to taking the JV public. So I feel that I have benefited from the relationship and have made a new friend.
Mark Theine, Ziegler Health Care, Mentee
In December 2011 I was extremely excited to learn that I had been paired with Greg Walz for the 2012 NAIOP Mentorship Program. Greg is a Managing Director for Northwestern Mutual Real Estate Investments and member of the national NAIOP Executive Committee. Prior to this position in Milwaukee, Greg managed Northwestern Mutual’s Atlanta Regional Office for 25 years and was responsible for both debt and equity investments. Over the course of the year, I’ve been fortunate to meet with Greg for lunch three times and also been able to connect and network with Greg at a Developing Leader’s lunch in which he was the featured speaker and at the NAIOP Boat cruise. At our first meeting we had plenty to talk about both personally and professionally, starting with Atlanta. Although based in Milwaukee, the healthcare real estate funds I help manage have acquired several medical office buildings around Atlanta so Greg and I shared numerous stories about deals done in Southeast. We also discussed career paths leading to the our current positions and realized that we are both proud alumni of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Each time we have met, we have not only share great food (like ribs at the Smoke Shack) but great stories of past deals and lessons learned in each deal. It has been incredibly interesting to learn about the investment selection, process, and strategic planning of Northwestern Mutual, who has a real estate portfolio of $30-$35 Billion (yes, that’s a “B”). Greg has also offered invaluable career advice each time we’ve met and unique prospective on the current market conditions. Whether discussing the option to purse an MBA or a more entrepreneurial venture, Greg is always very honest and sincere in his advice and thoughts. Outside of this mentoring program, I don’t know where Developing Leaders can experience such a great opportunity learn and network from someone outside of their own company. I am very grateful for the opportunity and look forward to keeping in touch with Greg long after the formal mentorship program has ended.