Over the past weekend I received some good news about friends in real estate, and some sad news.
First, the good news!
Real Estate Forum has just come out with a survey of the best CEOs in the real estate industry. Based on their survey results, my friend and colleague Mike Brennan was named "Most Inspirational."
As Real Estate Forum notes,“true leaders are defined not only how they perform, but even more so by the way their people view them.” In the survey, Brennan's employees used words like “caring,” “kind,” “committed,” “nurturing,” and above all “inspirational” to describe Mike.
Mike is co-founder, chairman, and managing principal of Brennan Investment Group, which focuses on industrial real estate. I was happy to meet Mike through another one of his activities: in 2010, he joined us as Executive Director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, when I was Professor and Department Chair. In our time together at Wisconsin, he has succeeded in moving our Center ahead, not just in the usual metrics -- Board Members recruited, funds raised, and so on -- but serves as a first class role model to our students, and with his deep and broad business experience, Mike provides a great complement to the classroom experience with academics like myself. Among other specific undertakings, Mike has partnered with my friend Tim Riddiough to teach our acclaimed Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT). AREIT students actively manage a $1MM REIT portfolio. I've noticed that real money concentrates the mind!
Another of Mike's many initiatives has been his championing of the Graaskamp Center Innovator Award. As he points out at the website, "A rich history cannot be established without continuous improvement in ideas and in practice."
An academic's highest praise is this: "I learned a lot from that (paper, conference, person)." For six years, I've learned a lot from Mike Brennan, both about real estate, and about even more important things. I look forward to years more of the same. Congratulations, Michael!
Photo by Steve Becker