As part of our series, CRE Future Leaders, we caught up with Anthony Mulé, director of real estate analysis at Valbridge Property Advisors. Mulé has more than 10 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, primarily focusing on commercial valuation and consulting. He joined Valbridge in the Fall of 2017.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I am first generation U.S. citizen, born and raised in Chicago by parents who came from Italy more than 40 years ago. I attended Notre Dame High School in Niles. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, with a double major in commercial real estate and entrepreneurship. My wife (of five years) and I live in Arlington Heights.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
As a child, I was fascinated with dinosaurs and always wanted to be a paleontologist. As I got older I realized the need for a more traditional career path. Originally, I considered law school—specifically real estate law. Over time, due to my family’s involvement in rental property investing, I realized that instead of a law career I wanted to solely focus on real estate.
How did you get your start in the industry?
At a very young age, I spent many weekends and summers helping my father renovate and maintain properties we owned. It set the tone for me. As part of my immigrant family heritage, I learned that hard work and dedication are a must; very important characteristics to be successful.
After high school, I entered Marquette University’s real estate program where in-class and real-world experiences along with the opportunities that the Center for Real Estate offered elevated my passion. I completed an internship at a Milwaukee development firm, TOLD Development Company, which gave me excellent experience.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I have had numerous mentors throughout my life. My parents instilled the values and morals I live by today. Their strong work ethic, which launched a drive to take the opportunities they worked so hard to provide me, gave me an appreciation for all the sacrifices they made. Yet the most important thing I learned from them is that no matter how hard you work, nothing should come first before family.
Academically and professionally, two important mentors have been Dr. Mark Eppli, my university professor, and Gary DeClark, who I have worked with for the last six years. Dr. Eppli’s drive in and out of the classroom helped me learn so much over my time at Marquette. He was one of the driving forces leading me into real estate. Gary has +/-40 years of experience in real estate; he is well known and highly respected both locally and nationally in the counseling and valuation field. The wealth of knowledge he has amassed over his career is incredible. He has also taught me to take on out-of-the box and complex valuation assignments.
What does a day in the life of Anthony Mulé look like?
My days vary and may be split between working from the office, at home or on the road. My early morning routine involves a morning espresso, feeding the dog and browsing the web for news and skimming emails. If there are no inspections or client meetings, I will get a few hours of work done before heading to the office. At the office, work typically consists of report writing, helping co-workers and attending to conference calls and emails. I will typically wrap up at the office between 5 to 6 pm. After dinner, I usually work a few hours to either finish the day’s work or get a jump on the rest of the week. My wife and I say we mean business during the week, and then dedicate weekends to family and friends.
On property visit days, I am often out all day with assignments located all throughout the Chicago metro area and including states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. My real estate work is not limited to appraisal work. I am an active real estate broker and incorporate my brokerage activities into my daily schedule. This provides my clients a great benefit given my perspectives as both an appraiser and broker.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that every day brings new adventures. I like bringing solutions to clients’ real estate needs. As a child, I loved putting puzzles together. I think of real estate as a big puzzle, with lots of moving parts. Putting all the pieces together is rewarding. Both appraisal and brokerage work require well-thought-out strategies. Taking time to think through all the moving parts creates an ability to deliver high-quality results.
I also really like the actual real estate. Chicago architecture is amazing. It is exciting to walk through some of the oldest commercial, industrial and residential buildings in the city and see the history and background of these properties. Each property tells a story if you take a closer look and listen to what the construction of the property is telling you.
I truly believe in the old adage…love what you do and don’t work a day in your life!
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I have a lot to look forward to. I recently earned the MAI designation. This was a tremendous achievement; it took almost 10 years to accomplish. I am proud to have earned this highly regarded designation. I have many professional goals. In the short-term horizon, to better serve my clients, I will pursue the CCIM and CRE designations which demonstrate advanced knowledge and experience. We’re off to a great start after opening of the new Valbridge Property Advisors–Chicago Metro office. I am looking forward to being part of this company and growing it’s presence in the local market to consistently provide our clients with the highest quality appraisal and valuation services.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I enjoy spending time with my family, a big component in an Italian household. I strive to keep the culture and traditions that I grew up with alive, like having Sunday dinners with family. I will one day pass that tradition along to our children. As a couple, our favorite pastime is watching new movie releases on the big screen after catching a relaxing dinner.
I am also an avid upland bird hunter. I grew up taking hunting trips with my father to places in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona and South Dakota. There are still many places where I wish to hunt. This hobby is a great way to escape and get away—and build a special bond between nature and man’s best friend, your dog. It also brings family and friends together.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
I would have to say that my favorite place I have been to is Italy. I still have many relatives out in Sicily, where my family and I use to travel to every few years when I was younger. Several years ago my wife and I took a tour of Italy, including the Amalfi Coast followed by a visit to Sicily to visit our families. We recently returned from San Francisco where we took a trip up to Napa Valley; we also visited the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island and Sausalito. We enjoyed this trip as the geography reminded us of Italy.
To get away from the Chicago weather, our go-to place is Phoenix where we have family and friends. We enjoy the dry heat, climbing Camelback Mountain and the great food scene the city has to offer. We have also wanted to visit Boston and New England.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
I would like to see Andy Hunt, director for the Center for Real Estate at Marquette University answer these questions. Andy was a classmate of mine during my undergrad at Marquette. I am excited to see how the Center for Real Estate and the real estate program at Marquette will grow under Hunt’s leadership.