As Stanford Real Estate’s Managing Director of Asset Management, my primary responsibility is strategic planning for and management of the world-renowned Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, the preeminent real estate asset of Stanford University, comprised of 700 acres and 10.3 million square feet of improved R&D and office buildings. The Research Park’s market value exceeds $7 billion, and Stanford University’s retained ownership stake in the Research Park amounts to $1.6 billion. This portfolio produces more than $60 million in annual income for Stanford University’s general funds. As part of overseeing the Stanford Research Park’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations, I identify opportunities and make recommendations to the Stanford Management Company Board of Directors to purchase or extend ground leaseholds, market new long-term ground leases, negotiate direct leases with tenants, or redevelop obsolete buildings. The key tenants I have recruited to or retained in the Research Park include Tesla Motors, Skype (Microsoft), Facebook, HP, and Theranos.
This role is not a just a job; it’s an opportunity and a privilege! Working for Stanford and playing a role in managing a portion of its vast 8,180 acres provides a unique opportunity to utilize my real estate asset management and project management experiences, deploy the financial, analytical, marketing and leadership skills gained at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and invoke the land planning skills and ideas learned in my Urban Studies classes. My Stanford education taught me to identify and pursue my passion with unrelenting drive and integrity: building well-designed, high-performing real estate projects that demonstrate respect for the environment and promote a sense of community. I am fortunate that Stanford Real Estate’s mission aligns with my personal passion.
My primary goal in choosing my first job out of Stanford undergrad was to develop a tangible skill, and so I worked as a Project Manager for Stanford’s Land and Buildings department, facilitating the planning, design and construction of several on-campus projects. Following Stanford GSB, I transitioned to asset management with an institutional equity investor, sourcing and financing several residential master-planned communities throughout the western U.S. My desire to transition to a hands-on role in managing real estate assets, complete with a more complex set of issues than any other real estate portfolio, brought me to Stanford Real Estate.
First, I am grateful for figuring out my love of urban studies and real estate while a Stanford student, developing the analytical skills for evaluating the complex and competing issues involved in managing the built environment. Second, I am proud to have played a role in increasing the annual income from this real estate portfolio by 86% during my tenure, income which directly funds the University’s mission-critical academic programs.
The benefit of the Urban Studies major is the systematic exploration of diverse topics involved in land use and real estate, which could have led to several careers. With the encouragement of my world-class teachers and advisors, most notably then-Director Len Ortolano, I had the opportunity to explore how our culture and socio-economic patterns are shaped by the physical spaces we design, how social, political, economic and physical forces shape real estate development decisions, and how intelligent land use planning can often solve community problems. My favorite Urban Studies research project was developing a long-term land use plan for the Stanford Research Park, and look where that took me! How lucky am I?