Blending Design and Development: Emilie Rottman

Emilie Rottman, a graduate student in the Master of Real Estate Development program at the University of Maryland, also holds a Master of Architecture degree from UMD. She works as a project architect in the multi-family/adaptive reuse studio at Square 134 Architects. In this role, she works on numerous multi-family projects that focus on renovation and repurposing existing structures. She participated in the NAIOP 2016 Capital Challenge as part of the UMD Team.

NAIOP: How did you first become interested in a career in commercial real estate?
Rottman: As an architect, I became interested in pursuing a career in commercial real estate after participating in the ULI Hines Competition. Prior to that experience, I had looked at developers as individuals that would exploit every square foot of a building to maximize their profit at the expense of a building’s design and quality. Once I had participated in that competition, I realized that designers and developers are simply not taught to consider the same things or speak the same language. I had decided that in order to be successful in architecture, one must also understand the finances.

NAIOP: In what ways do you think you can make a difference in CRE?
Rottman: Upon graduation, I plan on merging my interests of design and development together. I am currently a licensed architect and my goal is to become my own client. I would like to approach development from a design perspective to create buildings that are thoughtfully articulated and financially feasible. By specializing in both design and development services, I believe I can make a difference in how projects are approached in commercial real estate.

NAIOP: How do you anticipate that NAIOP will help you advance your career in CRE?
Rottman: After participating in the NAIOP Capital Challenge and attending NAIOP’s fall conference, I quickly discovered how instrumental this organization will be in advancing my career. The NAIOP Capital Challenge provided real world experience without the financial risk and the NAIOP conference created a wonderful networking opportunity that allowed me to meet other professionals and utilize their expertise. Upon graduation, I am interested in joining NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program to continue to learn and grow in this profession.

NAIOP: Which CRE trends or technology are you most excited about, or do you see having the biggest impact on the industry in the next 5-10 years?
Rottman: As we continue to experience rapid transformations in technology, it will be interesting to see how the traditional built environment will be altered to accommodate a shared services economy. I am excited to see how commercial real estate will react to disruptive innovations and revolutionize how we build.

NAIOP: Who are your personal or professional inspirations?
Rottman: I am very fortunate to have grown up with parents that fostered my ambitions and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. My parents instilled the importance of hard work and education and I will continue to follow their advice as I advance in my career. I have also had wonderful mentors at work and at graduate school. At my previous firm, I was lucky to find a mentor that has helped me nurture my skill-sets and cultivate my ideas. More than words can say, I am extremely grateful for her continued support and encouragement.

This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2016 Diversity CRE Scholarship recipients. The award benefits students pursuing careers in commercial real estate. Five $5,000 scholarships were awarded to individuals from demographics that are traditionally under-represented in commercial real estate and who are part of the NAIOP University Membership program. Learn more about NAIOP’s strategic initiatives to advance diversity in commercial real estate at the diversity resource center.

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