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Meet a NAIOP Chicago Developing Leader | Doug Houser


Name: Doug Houser
Company: Seefried Industrial Properties
Position: Vice President of Development
Age:  34
Education: Civil Engineering, University of Illinois
Years in Real Estate:  12 years




1. What led you to work in the Real Estate industry?
In school, I was better at math than other subjects which led me to pursue an engineering degree. While at Illinois, the geometry, infrastructure, and construction management classes were the most interesting to me. Design-build general contracting seemed to be an ideal combination of those subjects with site planning, entitlements, and building execution. I was fortunate to land an internship at such a company in ARCO/Murray, which led to a full time position out of college. After 6 great years at ARCO, learning and developing a work ethic, I got an opportunity to join Seefried in industrial real estate development. My responsibilities include sourcing and executing build-to-suit and speculative industrial development projects across the Midwest. Execution consists of site selection, financing, due diligence, entitlements, land acquisition, design, construction, and leasing.

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
I’ve been lucky to have many great influential people in my career. Two of my bosses: Elliot Mata at ARCO and Dave Riefe at Seefried, have been so helpful in my growth as a developer and as a person. The biggest influence has been my dad. He just retired after a nearly 50-year career in the real estate business doing everything from appraisals to industrial development.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Hopefully the next 5-10 years see continued career growth and development in this great industry where I can connect with new people and businesses while developing exciting new projects.

4. How long have you been involved with NAIOP and what do you view as the benefits of your NAIOP Developing Leader membership?
I have been involved in NAIOP since joining Seefried in 2018. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone in the industry and provides such a great platform to grow and develop your network and skills.

5. What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given?
Early on in my career, a business development leader with our group said: ‘You’ll have success if you simply do what you say you’re going to do.’ I think that line has a lot to do with setting and meeting expectations, as well as being true to your word. A pretty simple rule but a good one to fall back on when you’re moving a million miles an hour.

6. What characteristics do you consider most important in your role and in the industry?
It’s important to be trustworthy and hard working. I think it’s important not only to be able to react accurately, but quickly: with respect to an RFP or a new site opportunity for example. Creativity can also be the difference between winning and losing a deal.

7. What’s something interesting you’re working on right now?
We recently sold land and remained onboard in a fee capacity to develop a 65-acre campus for a data center operator group. We are currently completing the first building on the campus which is a 2 story, 24 MW, 210,000 sf structure. There are a lot of synergies between the data center and industrial development worlds, and it has been very interesting to learn the data center development side.

8. Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
I like hanging out with my wife, my 2 yr old daughter and 1 yr old son. I like playing golf when I can.

9. What’s your motto or personal mantra?
My motto in college was “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute.” I try not to procrastinate as much now 😊