Many people know Pontiac, Michigan for the bus burnings and social strife. But what many don’t know is that it’s an incredible state with a very rich history. Bob Waun, with his company DIRT Realty and DIRT Intel, is making sure they can revitalize Pontiac to become a real estate haven. Join your host, Jordan Levin, and his guest Bob Waun. Jordan and Bob will talk about the real estate industry in Michigan, primarily Pontiac, Flint, and Lansing. Learn about the history of these cities and why Bob is preserving them.
Listen to the podcast here:
Bob Waun – Principal At DIRT Realty & DIRT Intel
Bob Waun’s knowledge of finance and real estate has been a driving force fueled with leadership and innovation from his early days creating one of the first in-house brokerage real estate firms at twenty years old to being the CEO of a major pressure holding company that is structured to increase economic development in Flint, Michigan since the water crisis. Bob has focused on urban redevelopment and reinvention especially in Pontiac among other business ventures. Bob is the Principal of DIRT Realty. It’s safe to say that Bob has a vision. Bob, thank you so much for being here.
I’m honored to be on your show, Jordan. Thank you for the invitation.
When I first started the show, you are one of the first five people that I had on my list of people I want to talk to because as you and I know, every time we have met and talk is always a good time.
It sure is, Jordan. We would love to get you, Downtown Pontiac, soon.
Every time I talk to you, I always learn something new. That’s why I appreciate the relationship that we have.
It’s mutually felt, Jordan.
Let’s talk about a few things here. What will be your development department as a rising city if you think the closing mortgages alone? What or who initiated your passion for real estate?
I fell into it, honestly. I dropped out of college at nineteen. I caught a summer job at a savings and loan, and had to look up the word mortgage at the time, which most people don’t realize is the word mortuary as in death and the word gage is engaged. It’s a loan that kills itself or causes its own death. At nineteen, you are not thinking about mortgages. Pre-savings and loan crisis, I started doing mortgages backed by real estate and that’s how I’ve got interested in it.
My uncle, who is my godfather, was also an inspiration. I would like to give a shout-out to my Uncle Bill, who passed out several years ago. Bill Waun was one of the driving forces in Downtown Plymouth and he developed the old Station 885, the old train station. He turned it into a restaurant. My aunt Lorraine is the namesake behind Lorraine’s doll. Both of them were great inspirations to me as a young man. I watch them turn Plymouth from a sleepy suburb into a cool downtown. That was part of the motivation to buy buildings in Pontiac in 2012 when I started.
You have to preserve, protect, and tell the good stories that happened in history.
To talk about changing the city but you have to have such a vision, foresight or understanding of all things, not just real estate but mortgages and everything else. You developed such a knowledge of that. As we talk about education, one of the things that I appreciate when I’m talking to you is education. That’s what makes people successful because they are willing to learn but they are also willing to educate others on understanding how and why making something technical. For me, the first time I met you, we took a nice tour of Downtown Pontiac. You took me through all the different buildings. You knew every single detail about the history of these different buildings. That to me is a cool concept to be able to have that knowledge for that. What was it about Pontiac at that time that made you decide, “I’m going to put myself right here and see what I can do?”
To rewind, the idea of history became important to me when I was fifteen. I saved up to buy my first car. Instead, I took a trip with the French Club to Paris. We went down to the town of Orléans, France. I was busy chasing young girls at the time, not paying attention to the history of the place that we were in but we took a picture with the old cameras with the film in them. I’m standing in this town square, me with all these girls around me, it was fantastic. I’ve got home and I was watching PBS and noticed that the square that I was in was the square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Orléans. I thought, “I stood in that square and I had no concept or appreciation for the history of that place.”
From that point on, I always promised myself that if I took the time to go somewhere, I would take and give it the respect of trying to learn as much about the history that I could about that place where I stood. When I came to Pontiac originally, it was with a humbling belief that the ground on, which Pontiac is built has layers upon layers of history underneath that. The first building we bought, which was 31 North Saginaw, the old whiskies bar, down in the basement that was all dirt floors we found another basement below the basement.
Anyone who has ever done the tour knows that that’s a historic spot because it was the foundation of the Yellow Tavern where Alexis de Tocqueville and Beaumont stayed when they walked up Woodward Avenue, which was Woodward Trail or the Saginaw Trail at the edge of the known wilderness. When I found out the history of that place, it made me realize that we only know a little bit of the history. We know the history of the decline of Pontiac. We don’t know the history of the rise of Pontiac, clearly because the people who wrote that history have long since passed on.
Part of our dedication there has been to preserve, protect and tell the stories, which are the stories of Pontiac before the bus burnings, the social strife, the building of the Ottawa Towers, the Ring Road or the loop highway. Giving some dedication to the people that built the city before us so we don’t rip down the history willy-nilly but we build upon the foundation that our forefathers laid there. That’s a long way of saying, I respect the history of this place that we are in and I want to know more about it. Every time we open a wall, we find something new and interesting.
Jordan, on our tour, I may have shown you that we tore out a ceiling one time and out of the ceiling fell all this paper. My guys were throwing the paper in the trash can and I happened to be there at the moment. I picked up a piece of paper and it was a canceled check from 1865, the end of the Civil War and it was made out to Mr. Dibble for $37. Mr. Dibble lost the naming rights of Dibbleville, Michigan to Mr. Fenton in a poker game. If you go to Fenton, Michigan now, you can sit on the life-size bronze statue of that poker game. You can sit in the empty chair and play poker with Mr. Dibble and Mr. Fenton. I found his canceled check in the ceiling of a Pontiac building that easily could have been thrown away in the trash or could have been burned a long time ago if there had been a fire in the ceiling.
Great history here. You don’t find this in solo strip malls around America. It was an interesting winter because I had the good fortune of doing a lot of traveling in 2020, road-tripping and saw a lot of towns that look the same. There’s a Subway, a Culver’s, a grocery store and a Starbucks. America has become homogenized with all these chain restaurants, chain stores and businesses. There’s a Speedway and a Chase Bank but there aren’t a lot of cultural history like we have in Pontiac that’s being promoted. We hope to make that different here.
I have been following this whole process for quite some time. You are involved in the Ottawa Building in the judiciary so I believe you purchased that. Did your company purchase it?
Everything I do, Jordan, is with the help of incredible partners. The giant misnomer is, “Bob Waun does things. Bob Waun doesn’t do anything. Bob Waun works with great people who help me do things then I help them do things,” but everything I do is with partners. I own nothing on my own. Everything that I have been involved in when I try to find people smarter than me because I am not the smartest person in the room, admittedly and I have partners. In the Ottawa Towers, I have some smart partners that helped us put together a complicated deal.
With the great leadership of Mayor Waterman, the majority of members of the City Council and with my partners out of Chicago and here in Michigan, we were able to purchase that building. We have some incredible plans, which I’m under NDA and I can’t discuss in great detail. I can tell you that the colors of the buildings will change, which what we call baby poop brown now. There are some great things to come. I’m one of the partners who have bought the Ottawa Towers. There’s some interesting history there too, Jordan if you are curious.
Don’t rip down history; build on it.
I’m always curious.
The buildings were purpose-built for GM in the early ‘80s when, if you recall, the last great recession happened. They were fortified buildings. The Phoenix Center parking deck is a raised 7-acre park. The buildings are hard to find your way in the front door because that style of architecture is inhuman. It’s Cold War-esque. I like to call it Reaganesque architecture. We hope to soften the approach. We are working with a group of great architects that understand the human scale and human aesthetic, and try to make these buildings greener, more nature-filled and human in scale and touch so that they are places people want to go to work. If there’s one thing we learned in 2020, we don’t need to go to an office anymore. If an office building is going to survive, it’s going to be someplace people want to go to work. That’s a big challenge for Ottawa Towers. We are going to change the name of the Ottawa Towers too because that’s a historical misnomer.
That’s the thing. You are trying hard to preserve what’s already there. You read these stories all over the country, all over the world of people knocking down these historic things. There’s a whole big thing going on with the Michigan State Fairgrounds. There’s a whole big dilemma going on. People are trying to preserve it but yet you’ve got Amazon potentially coming in there to do something. Amazon also has a facility down in Pontiac. If I remember right, a couple of years ago, when I talked to you, you are like, “Amazon is coming into Pontiac by the Silverdome.” How is the effect of their help with everything at Pontiac?
The Silverdome project, part of it is open this fall of 2021 but it’s a small part. It’s only a few hundred thousand feet. If you remember, the Silverdome was a deep hole in the ground. The mayor called it the World’s Largest Bird Bath because it goes down about five stories into the ground. What you see when you look at the Amazon facility now as you drive up by I-75 are only the five stories that are above ground, not the five stories below ground. It’s 3.2 million square feet of logistics warehouse. There was nothing historic about the Silverdome. It outlived its useful life by many years.
It’s over 100 acres of land. It’s a perfect logistics facility. It will employ over 3,000 people when it’s finally built. I’m told that they do construction 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they have since last May 2020 and it will be open sometime in July 2021. It’s an incredible facility. It’s an incredible statement about Pontiac being a great location for this type of facility. For the readers that don’t know anything about real estate, there are three rules to what makes great real estate. Location, location and location.
United Shore has nearly 10,000 employees, Amazon with 3,000 employees and Williams International now have all decided they want to be in Pontiac. That tells you a lot about this location that we are in. It’s also why the Indians settled here first. Indians knew good real estate. They knew everything in our region and they decided to have their pow wows, their annual meetings on the hilltop, which is Downtown Pontiac. From a purely fundamental standpoint, I have never brought anybody through town that understands real estate, placemaking and development that said to be anything other than, “This is the best location in the whole region.” We are bullish on the future here.
That’s the thing though you said you talk about the location because you’ve got all the freebies right there so where would they be coming from? North, South, East and West. “Let’s find the Central location.” It makes everything easier. That’s why it’s great for Amazon and with you guys in terms of people moving into Pontiac. I have seen it downtown. The downtown itself is pretty slowly coming around. I’m sure the pandemic hurt things a little bit but what have you seen specifically with the pandemic in terms of real estate in Downtown Pontiac or even we could talk about Flint. You have been much involved with Flint. What’s your take on that?
Before Amazon was the largest company in the world, there was a little company called General Motors that was the largest in the world. Both General Motors and Amazon share the ability and a giant stack of real estate professionals that they could be anywhere. They could locate their businesses anywhere on the planet. GM decided they wanted to locate their businesses in Pontiac, Flint, Lansing, Saginaw and Detroit. When I’ve got into real estate as a commercial investor, I thought about these simple fundamentals of location, location, location and I thought about these big companies like GM, Amazon, United Shore and Quicken Loans. Where would they want to be? They would want to be in the best locations. If GM said that Pontiac, Flint and Lansing were the best locations in our region, and in the case of Detroit was already bought by a guy by the name of Dan and his friends over at the other pizza shop there, nobody was looking at Pontiac.
I thought, “What an amazing opportunity to buy in Pontiac.” As we’ve got into Pontiac, Governor Snyder reached out to us and said, “Can you do something in Flint?” My friends in New York called me up and said, “We are out to look at Lansing too.” Pontiac, Flint and Lansing have been my focus for the last several years. We have properties in all three cities in the prime CBD areas and the prime manufacturing hubs of each city’s.
If you look at the fundamentals, you will always be good. You pay good fundamental prices for things, you buy in great world-class locations. Pontiac, Flint and Lansing are world-class locations, especially in a logistics economy. When it comes to COVID and 2020, all it did in my mind, Jordan, was it accelerated the future. We saw the demise of retail. We saw retail was shifting into a new type of model. We saw that restaurants were going to ghost kitchens and delivery. We saw that Uber was taking over the world and parking decks might not be as needed in the future as they are now.
All of these future trends were accelerated in 2020. Things were pushed forward 5 to 10 years. Drone delivery happened in 2020. It would have taken another five years of electrification of our grid, solar power, wind power. All of them got split up by what was the pandemic. We all have a lot more time at home to think about what our future lives would look like when we return to the office. The Hoteling of office space is going to be extra big in 2021.
One of our goals in the formerly known as Ottawa Towers will be an incubator and hoteling type office space where people have a flexible office environment where people who do podcasts and videocasts have a professional studio located so that my backdrop isn’t a painting behind me but a green screen. All of these things are future trends that got sped up in 2020. As much as I didn’t want to see the ones that happened in 2020 that did, meaning the crash of the economy and what felt like a slowdown. It’s like a slingshot. We were being pulled back to be propelled forward quicker.
I understand that concept. I read a quote, don’t quote me on this, it was a high number. It’s something like 85% of the jobs in systems now in 30 years probably won’t be in the systems because the pandemic increased the timeline because everything is online. Much of what we are doing right now with podcasting, radio and all of that and different types of outreach nowadays. I thought that was an intriguing statistic. Real estate has its bubble but I feel like for whatever reason in 2020, real estate should survive. It’s like looking for a residential home. Everybody is home now, nobody is spending money in their homes because we are in the home and people are spending more time with their families.
There was a trend towards smaller housing where you had the tiny house trend, lofts and these micro apartments that were in the rage. Now you see people wanting to be out in farmland and distance from each other. It’s a return to a more agrarian and natural life in a lot of ways. That’s a trend. I don’t think anybody can deny the idea that people from large cities are looking to put a little bit more space to nature around them. That’s not a bad trend. It’s good for society and humans.
At the same time, we can live with less and we have had. We have all realized that mobility is the true luxury, not the idea of stuff ripping things. It will be interesting. In the next couple of years, the look back on 2020, will be enormous at the things that we saw changed in 2020. I hope the masks could go away personally. I miss people’s smiles. It’s hard to read the same level of happiness just out of the eyes. The masks look scary to me even when they have smiley faces on them. I can’t wait for those to go away.
The pandemic is like a slingshot. People were pulled backward in order to be propelled forward quicker.
It’s funny, I always joke with my wife that I want to start everything and we are going to get one of those tiny homes and live as simple as possible. When you think about it, I’ve got to have a certain mindset to be able to do that type of thing to be in a 300 to 400 square foot space, which is everything you have that’s right in front of you.
I tried that in 2020. I spent a good amount of time in an Airstream trailer. I spent most of the rest of the year on a sailboat. n less than 300 square feet in both cases. I’m not sure I have ever felt more liberated in my life to have so few things around me but the mobility of both conditions was luxurious and in ways that a large suburban house never felt right to me. Hammocks, trees and nature, I fully embraced that in 2020. It was luxurious.
That’s amazing that you allow yourself to have that opportunity to do that, being on a boat but also living in an Airstream. That’s a pretty cool thing to do, the fact that you had the time to do that. We all know that materialistic things are the catch-22. Everybody wants to go bigger and greater but a lot of times we start to realize, once you have whatever you have, sometimes you take that step back and be like, “This isn’t so big.”
A hot shower and a sharp razor are both things that I covet now in ways that I didn’t before in 2020. When you are off the grid, a hot shower is something you miss.
Every now and then I sometimes take a cold shower. That’s supposed to be a good thing for your body. It shocks the system. I have done it a few times but I haven’t made the plans yet to do it consistently.
What do you think about that coach? I did do the Wim Hof in 2020. Unlike our friend Tim, I can’t last but a few seconds in a cold shower. I tried jumping in the cold lakes a few times. I still do it almost every other morning but it’s not fun.
It’s not for everybody. It’s like for me when I go wakesurfing. The water was 53 degrees. It’s pretty cold.
It takes your breath away, doesn’t it if you hit the water? Health-wise, though, do you think it helps? There are all kinds of benefits that Wim Hof states water.
They say there are a bunch of health benefits and body benefits of increasing your blood flow and all that. When we get cold, we start to shake but with the proper breathing, we would be able to control it. With somebody like you, you are busy and have a lot of things going on, you have to learn how to center and ground yourself to exclude the external factors. Something like that teaches you how to center yourself and not pay attention to the external factors that are happening around you. It can be beneficial.
I will keep trying. It might take me longer.
Now that we are talking about it, I might do that. If anything happens to somebody like you with all the things that you’ve got going on, I’m sure you have a system that you have in place to make sure that you can get what you want to be done. Do you have anything specific that you do daily? Time management is what I’m curious about.
I started doing Transcendental Meditation several years ago. I was introduced to it by Brad Oleshansky who started M1 Concourse. Brad was a great inspiration for that because I approached him one day. He was in his truck and he was just still for about five minutes. I couldn’t get his attention or anything, then his time was over with TM. He came out and he explained to me how much he got done after that. Twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes at night is like concentrated sleep so you get a lot more focused. I find as I get older now, that I have a harder time staying focused on tasks. That helps a ton.
I went plant-based. A friend inspired me to do this. He was very much an animal rights activist. Ethically, I did it for those reasons first, but the health benefits are enormous. Your energy spikes tremendously through going plant-based. I would recommend that to all of your readers. I know your fan base here is probably largely into health. There’s a documentary called Game Changers. For the readers, it’s a must-watch. I probably discounted the idea of being a vegetarian in my past life for too long. Had I done it earlier, the health benefits are undeniable and fantastic because you are so much more energetic, you get a lot more done in your day.
Beyond that, I probably work a lot less hard now than I did several years ago. I’m trying to do the things that matter and not do the other things that don’t matter so much. That’s about it. I used to have a Franklin Planner for years. I carried 50 to 100 employees in multiple states and businesses. I worked like a crazy person. I had a much lower level of happiness than I experience now. I’m doing less to enjoy more. It has been a practice. I’m still not there. I’m a long way from it. That wisdom comes with age sometimes.
I share the same thing because if you think about what you have done, you go crazy and go nuts for 20 or 25 years, and then you get older and you start realizing the things that we stress out about are not things you should be stressing out about. If somebody comes to you and says, “My goodness.” You are like, “Just do this.” They look at you and go, “What? That’s it?” How you react to that issue or problem allows you to delegate and properly make sure that everything gets done appropriately.
I used to worry about things getting done a lot more than I do now, honestly. Every day ends with a full to-do list for the next day and I have come to accept that if you are doing all tasks in life, you are never going to get through your to-do list. It’s going to be there and stay with you. You are going to carry it along and maybe you prioritize it at best. Acceptance is 9/10 of happiness. Accepting where you are at and accepting that the to-do list doesn’t shrink. As long as there are things you want to do in your life, your to-do list is going to be there. Try to enjoy the time between tasks is a big part of it. An afternoon glass of Vino is not a bad way to do it either.
What’s the best piece of advice a mentor has ever given you?
Mr. Baltazar, when I first started in the mortgage business, my first boss, said, “You always say yes because no shuts down the possibility of everything else after it.” Whatever it is, it’s, “Yes, maybe, yes, I will consider it.” Start with yes. Don’t say no until you know it’s a no. When you know it’s a no, be quick with the no. Try not to say no in your first response to anything in life. That has been the number one rule. My friend and business partner say, “Price and terms will fix any deal.” That’s another great piece of advice for transactional people. Everything is yes. Based on price and terms, you pick one and I will pick the other.
I wouldn’t like that but I appreciate that because to me, generating is the same thing. Never take no for an answer. If you hear the word no, it gives you a negative connotation right off the bat. By saying yes, even if you don’t know the answer, you could always find out the answer from somebody else or a couple of people whatever it takes. You get back to that person and say, “This is my solution for you.”
For me, growing up being deaf, there were so many things that came across the table like, “Jordan is never going to be able to do that. He’s never going to be able to speak. He’s never going to be able to hear.” My parents instilled in me, “Keep talking. Keep asking questions.” Do you remember the first time we met? I probably asked you 1,000 questions and you completely had no issue. You just kept answering questions. I appreciated it.
I respect questions and any of us who have overcome adversity in life. The strongest people are the ones that keep pushing forward. Another piece of great advice from my ex-partner, Tom Blames said it and had it mounted on his wall, “Forward, forward, always forward. If you are always moving forward, you are not being pushed backward.” That’s great life advice, too. I went to a Home Depot and bought a big painter’s drop cloth, a bunch of stencils, spray paint and a magic marker. I made a whole canvas for the wall in my bedroom. It has all these different sayings from friends over the years, mentors and people that I respect. “That which doesn’t kill you won’t kill you.”
I have a whole wall of this now when I wake up in the morning, lay in bed, and read those again before I get out. Anybody who thinks that you can do things in life and not face adversity with a stiff upper lip and forward progress hasn’t either lived enough life and hasn’t been kicked down enough isn’t trying hard enough. If you are not facing troubles, then you are not trying. I respect you and anybody who’s overcome their adversities in life to triumph. You are resilient. Carry on.
Being there positive, both of us, that everything else that we do in life, people need to understand that. Many people tend to doubt themselves. How many times have you said, “I’m going to do it,” but then just turn that switch in your heart and you are saying, “Timeout, let’s think about this? To make this work, I should follow my own steps.” The next thing you know, that happens.
Always say “yes” because “no” shuts down the possibility of everything else after it.
You told me, “Make sure that you lean forward. I’m going to be reading your lips.” Frankly, I forgot that you had to read my lips, Jordan. I didn’t know. You have overcome that so swiftly and gracefully that I blanked on it. I didn’t even think about it. For the people that see your show on Facebook but don’t know any different, how would anyone know? Here, you have gracefully moved over what other people may consider a game stopper. How many other people do we know that are going through something in life, “I might stop and not be able to go any further,” but they are going through it?
I have a good friend from high school who lost his son. The grace with, which he handled that even through Facebook exchanges is impressive. People are going through things in life. The person at the gas station that I bumped into almost seemed like he had a Tourette’s problem. He had so many four-letter words coming out of his mouth on the other side of the gas pump from me. Who knows what that guy was going through? We all move through life without giving recognition to the people around us going through challenges. 2020 was a traumatic year for so many people, personal business and life, and yet, here we are with brand-new challenges and opportunities because of that.
I’m sorry about that. In that same token, having a support system is so important, too. With that, people need to understand don’t be afraid to ask questions and give any help that might be needed to help them get through whatever that may be.
The other one that’s come up a lot, that I love to bring up is the word, assume. The root of that is it makes an ass out of you and me. It seems to me, especially with our work in Pontiac, that there are a bunch of people making assumptions. They are assuming things about, in my case, our intentions for the Ottawa Towers or how we deal with other people filling in the blanks where they don’t have information. They are making assumptions about facts. I caught myself a couple of times making assumptions about other people.
The guy at the gas station, I’m like, “That guy is a real jerk for shouting up and down.” He was going through something. I immediately assumed that he was a threat to me, he was unstable, and he could have taken the gas pump and lit himself on fire. He was out of control. Who knows what that guy went through? The message that I would love to put out there is to stop making assumptions about other people’s lives, what their intentions are and what they are going through. Whenever we do that, we are always wrong, especially if we are assuming the worst. Sometimes, we assume the best about people and we are wrong, too but more often, we assume the worst and we are incorrect.
I agree with that statement because you never know what somebody else is going through. I talk about this with my wife all the time. We talk about it because we are out there and we’ve got clients and we do our work. We’ve got clients that come into the gym and they have things going on, in which I have to coach them through a class and yet somebody is like, “I couldn’t sleep. I’ve got this going on.” Sometimes, somebody would tell me what’s going on. Sometimes, I don’t know and I couldn’t ask so I always make sure I try to show empathy. Empathy is a big thing that people need to have to properly have the right conversation with somebody who might be going through something. If they have all those issues going on, you need to be able to empathize with them. If you can empathize with them, then you might be able to help that person.
More empathy, fewer assumptions.
That’s going to be the quote of the day. Let’s close it up and make it a positive ending. My last question is what brings you joy? What makes you happy?
Many things bring me joy. There’s a goose on my property up by the lake that’s sitting on a bunch of eggs. She’s sitting there waiting for her eggs to hatch. That brought me joy.
I was over to my parents’ house and one of the girls in my dad’s office has a farm and a bunch of chickens and eggs. She brought the eggs to the office and then my dad brought home some eggs for my mom. He said they were great.
Springs bring new life.
How do people get ahold of you? What’s the best way to reach you? Do you have any events coming up that you want people to know about?
Downtown Pontiac, it’s going to be a big year. There’s the Dream Cruise and the Motor Bella, which is an auto show coming to Pontiac. If you come into town, you will see a bunch of scaffolds and construction going on, everything to do with Pontiac. Downtown Flint and Downtown Lansing are coming. We’ve got some great projects in the works, housing projects. Fun stuff. The easy way to reach me is my name is on signs all over town. DIRT Realty, my cell phone number is there. My email address is [email protected]. If anyone needs to reach me, reach out. If you are just calling to chat, let’s postpone that a little bit. I’m looking forward to Michigan summer.
I had a wonderful time. I hope you did, too.
Likewise. Thank you, Jordan. Thanks for the invitation. It’s always good talking with you.
- DIRT Realty
- M1 Concourse
- Franklin Planner
- [email protected]
About Bob Waun
Finance professional, real estate professional, and community activist, Bob has 30 years of experience in finance and real estate. He has held a RE broker’s license since 1991 and has lent over $1.2 billion in real estate loans. He co-founded innovative companies like Vacation Finance, Pike Street Properties, and The Indian Hill Company, an organization committed to the revitalization of Pontiac, MI.
His career includes work for lenders such as Wells Fargo and he helped successfully work out over $700M in real estate projects for Lehman and other institutional lenders. Bob has been a regular contributor at industry conferences and journals; in 2006, he wrote a book about housing demographic trends toward retirement housing options.
An avid traveler, an urbanist, and someone who is passionate about urban renewal, Bob also enjoy sailing. Bob has a BBA in Finance and Economics and an MBA from Walsh College of Accounting and Business Administration.