Development education

Developing Leaders Spotlight: Building Bridges from Classroom to Career

In a relatively young career, Andrew Hunt, a recipient of the 2021 Developing Leaders Award, has accrued a remarkable number of accolades. His experience as a broker, regional portfolio manager and investment analyst help him provide real-world applications to the undergraduate students taking his real estate course at Marquette University. In his role as Vieth Director for the Center for Real Estate at Marquette University (a NAIOP University Member), Hunt works tirelessly to prepare students for fulfilling and successful careers in commercial real estate. He also serves in leadership roles for two programs that provide education and support for underrepresented individuals in commercial real estate at both the student and adult levels.

Andy Hunt

He has an MBA from Marquette University with a specialization in finance. The Milwaukee Business Journal awarded him the “40 Under 40” Award. As a member of NAIOP Wisconsin since 2007, he has served on several committees and volunteered with chapter events. He is known for working extensively to connect students with NAIOP through programs, mentoring and events like the CRE.Converge annual conference. NAIOP Wisconsin recognized him with both the Associate “Rising Star” Award and the Associate Member of the Year Award.

Hunt is the youngest director of a center for real estate in the U.S.; the Center for Real Estate at Marquette University is ranked among the top undergraduate commercial real estate programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Working closely with the real estate program faculty, he is responsible for carrying out the mission of the Center and oversight of all day-to-day administration of the Center’s programs, activities and outreach. His duties include oversight of all fundraising initiatives; oversight of the Real Estate Asset Program (REAP), the first undergraduate-only classroom-based real estate investment program in the nation; management of the Center’s four major annual events in Milwaukee and Chicago; coordination and mentoring of the students in the program and responsibility for maintaining a 100% placement rate for all graduating students; coordination of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate program and curriculum aimed at diversifying talent in the real estate industry; and growing partnerships with local and national industry organizations.

He also works closely with two boards: the Center for Real Estate Advisory Board and the REALM (Real Estate Alumni Marquette) Network Board.

NAIOP caught up with this enthusiastic and multitalented leader to find out more about how he got involved in NAIOP and what advice he would give young professionals just starting out in their careers.

NAIOP: Name a person who has had a notable impact on your career.

Hunt: Two people stand out: first, Larry Pobuda, who was the 2010 NAIOP Chair, hired me as a summer intern in 2007 and paid for my first NAIOP membership. He’s been a wonderful mentor over the years and by exposing me to this great organization he changed my life. Second, Dr. Mark Eppli, who was my undergrad advisor and hired me twice at Marquette, was instrumental in helping me learn how I could have an impact on the real estate industry by using this platform at Marquette. I am indebted to both men deeply.

NAIOP: What are some ways that NAIOP membership has benefited your career during the pandemic?

Hunt: In the first few days of the shutdown in 2020, I was speaking with Jim Villa, NAIOP Wisconsin executive director, and we lamented how no one knew what exactly to do with tenants, paying rent, loan payments, deferments, etc. We came up with the idea to do a “flash poll” of the industry, asking thousands of professionals what strategies they were pursuing in order to get a better idea of what was “market” at the time. The response was incredible, and when we shared the data with our community, I know it was really helpful for a lot of people. To me, that’s NAIOP in a nutshell – always there for you, providing cutting-edge information when you need it, and helping you and your company at every part of your journey.

NAIOP: What is one piece of practical advice you would give to Developing Leaders who are just starting out in their careers?

Hunt: Maybe more than anything else, you need to be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations in order to grow. This is especially true early in your career. That could mean attending a networking event where you don’t know anyone, joining a committee with people more seasoned than you, saying yes to projects at work that stretch your experience, and so much more. You cannot expect to get ahead without being willing to learn, and you learn by saying yes to things that might scare you.

NAIOP: What do you like to do outside of work?

Hunt: Get outside with my family! We have three kids and love to explore, whether that’s local parks and hiking around Lake Michigan or even traveling out to Colorado, where we used to live, to explore the mountains.

Read more about the 2021 Developing Leaders in Development magazine. Applications for the 2022 Developing Leaders Award are open through June 24 – apply today!

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