Bravo! Entrepreneur award
CEO and manager
Irgens Partners LLC
Opportunity was everything for Mark Irgens, chief executive officer and manager of commercial real estate development firm Irgens Partners LLC.
He got his start in real estate as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the class “Introduction to Real Estate and Urban Land Economics,” under the tutelage of professor James A. Graaskamp.
“I really liked it. He inspired me,” Irgens said.
After college, Irgens worked in several positions, first as an analyst and then as a commercial loan officer. He helped finance an office project for Boldt Construction, and at the age of 27, approached the company about establishing a real estate development branch.
“They were interested in development, but didn’t have a formal division. There was a common interest at the time,” he said.
In 1998, Irgens and three partners purchased the assets of the company, hired the people who worked in that area of the business and established Irgens Partners LLC.
“I always wanted to be involved in controlling my own destiny,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just a matter of seizing the opportunities in the cards you’ve been dealt.”
Irgens was informed of the opportunity in January, and by April he and his partners had put together the financing for the project.
The company experienced some early success and paid off its debt relative to the purchase of the company in just a few short years. Since then, Irgens Partners has experienced a steady growth trajectory, he said.
The organization has undergone an evolution over time to include additional office locations, expanded divisions and market managers.
Today, Irgens employs more than 100 people nationwide and has offices in Milwaukee, Phoenix and suburban Chicago. It is one of the most prominent commercial real estate development firms in the Milwaukee area and recently completed a new downtown office building.