Each year, Midwest Real Estate News elects a new class to its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Here’s a look at one of our new inductees, Deborah Tomczyk, co-chair of the real estate practice at the Milwaukee office of law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.
Deborah Tomczyk never lets anyone outwork her. It’s one of the keys to her success in the workd of commercial real estate law.
This simple promise — to always work harder than her competitors — has helped Tomczyk build a thriving legal career. Today, she is the co-chair of the real estate practice at Milwaukee-based law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.
“Hard work and drive usually come out on top,” Tomczyk said. “I appreciate, too, that this is a small world. You will encounter the same players over and over again. So I try to treat everyone with respect and compassion.”
In her position at Reinhart, Tomczyk represents local, regional and national developers and municipalities, businesses, individuals and taxing jurisdictions. She focuses on counseling her clients in all aspects of real estate development, including structuring deals, obtaining financing and permits and overseeing projects to their successful completion.
“I enjoy learning from, and working with, top-notch professionals to impact the built environment,” Tomczyk said. “I am very fortunate to be able to work with creative people on all sides of a transaction to positively impact our community, often in high-profile ways.”
Throughout her career, Tomczyk has counseled clients working on several high-profile projects. This includes representing a government body developing the largest TIF district in Wisconsin’s history, representing the owner redeveloping Wisconsin’s largest regional shopping mall and representing the developer of a severely contaminated brownfield site in partnership with the local municipality in which it sat.
This doesn’t mean that Tomczyk hasn’t faced many of the same challenges that most women face when building a career in CRE. As Tomczyk says, this is still an industry largely populated by Caucasian men from wealthy families.
“Growing up in a family with means and successful role models establishes a mindset of opportunities and success that the rest of us have to learn,” Tomczyk said. “And while women now graduate from higher education and enter professions at greater rates than men, women are still far behind in achieving true success.”
Tomczyk said that she was fortunate to work with wonderful mentors. Today, Tomczyk continues to serve as a mentor to other women and professionals from nontraditional backgrounds.
Tomczyk has found time to contribute to her community and profession. She is the former chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Association’s Real Property and Probate Section, former national delegate of National Commercial Real Estate Women and former president of the Wisconsin chapter of CREW. She is also a former board president of St. Catherine Residence, former president of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and former board member of the Milwaukee Chamber Theater.
When not working, Tomczyk enjoys finding ways to apply her business skills to volunteering, both in church and with other charitable endeavors.