Chief executive officer, MLG Capital
13400 Bishop’s Lane, Suite 270, Brookfield
Industry: Private real estate investments
What was the smartest thing your company has ever done?
“In some ways, the private commercial real estate industry is dysfunctional. People take money out of a diversified stock portfolio and invest into one to two real estate assets. The concept of diversification is usually ignored when investing in private real estate. In MLG’s private real estate funds for investors, we have a unique strategy that allows investors to be diversified by asset class and geography.”
What’s new at your company in 2017?
“We recently introduced our third diversified MLG Private Real Estate Fund, with $150 million of equity. Fund III targets quarterly distributions to investors with targeted net returns of 13 percent to 15 percent per year.”
What are your company’s main challenges?
“It’s really hard to find great investments. We’ve addressed this challenge by having a dual sourcing strategy that includes MLG’s historic acquisition markets of Wisconsin, Texas and Florida and our private equity strategy focusing on real estate investments in about 15 more states. We’ve generated a great amount of deal flow to selectively consider 50 to 55 deals per month, on average.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“The growth and development of real estate crowdfunding. While access has become common and easy, investors should be aware of the risks of these crowdfunding platforms. What due diligence is being done on these investments? What is the business deal with investors? Are fair fees being charged? Are the assumptions reasonable? Is the debt excessive and risky?”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“Selectively hiring top talent is critical to our business. For example, we’ve added over 100 employees in our Brookfield and Dallas offices in the last three years. With the launch of our latest fund, we will target investing into $300 million of real estate investments this year.”
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“We once had a large 150-foot-high top soil pile. My partner Mike Mooney and I got the bright idea we could drive the company suburban over the top of it. Needless to say, it got stuck at the top and we had to call AAA to give us a tow.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I actively spend time with my family. My wife, Julie, and I have been blessed with eight children (four biological and four adopted), so we are involved in their lives. We also have a passion to serve the needs of kids at risk. I am on the board of Lifesong for Orphans, which provides orphan care for over 5,700 kids in 11 countries. I’m also on the board of Positive Programs for Families, which serves the needs of kids and families in Milwaukee. I enjoy golfing, skiing and a good glass of wine.”