David Mitchell is a senior manager, portfolio risk and operations at Alliant Credit Union, where he oversees the risk management and portfolio management of debt products primarily secured by commercial real estate.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
My family is from a typical small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina where life centered around church and high school football. I have one incredible sister with whom I share a close relationship. My studies took me to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and ultimately Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
Becoming a doctor was my safety plan if NBA aspirations didn’t materialize. Ultimately, I had to confront the realities of my jump shot and deficiencies in organic chemistry. My first economics course in undergrad was a turning point and set me on the path to business.
How did you get your start in the industry?
During my first two years following business school, I worked for an insurance company in a position that wasn’t fulfilling at the time. Through networking, I became friends with the owner of a local CRE brokerage and development firm, who ultimately tired of hearing my complaints and offered me a position as REO property manager. Starting small, we ultimately grew an account to over 1,100 assets in 15 states and disposed of more than $500 million worth of bank-owned real estate.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
Working in brokerage and property management early in my career, I consistently interacted with successful real estate investors and lenders that were instrumental in my development. One such example is my current leader, Charles Krawitz, whom I worked with tangentially on a large assignment. His calm command of real estate and situational dynamics resonated with me. Moving to Chicago for the opportunity to learn directly from him has been a thoroughly educational and rewarding experience.
What does a day in the life of David Mitchell look like?
My day typically starts the night before, reviewing top objectives for the day. In the morning, I meditate for the entirety of my ride on the Blue Line. These two activities put me in a position to maintain focus on the strategic objectives of the organization and dedicate my attention accordingly. The tasks and meetings vary considerably from one day to the next, but the foundation of my day centers around ensuring that my finite attention is applied in the most productive manner.
What do you like most about your job?
My role in delivering upon the mission and vision of the credit union resonates with me and motivates me daily. Simply put, we seek to deliver superior financial value to our members. With this as a backdrop, our group originates superior commercial real estate loans. Having the opportunity to think about and discuss commercial real estate with bright and creative team members is the highlight of my job, and is more closely akin to a “passion” than a “job.” The combination of technical expertise and creative problem solving that I’m able to deploy on a daily basis keeps me energized.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
Commercial real estate, like many other industries, is primed for technological disruption. In five years, the way we request information, analyze markets, analyze principals, manage risk and service our borrowers will all be dramatically impacted by emerging technology. Alliant Credit Union’s digital business model places us in an excellent position to be an early adopter of said technology. My goal is to apply best of breed technology on the operational front while maintaining the warm touch service and relationship management that our borrowers require.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I’m blessed with calm simplicity away from the office. My beautiful wife, and our golden retriever, Maggie, enjoy quiet nights cooking together and plotting our next travel destination. We’re expecting our first child in December, which has monopolized our thoughts and we couldn’t be more excited.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
My wife and I traveled to Thailand for our honeymoon, which exceeded all expectations. By combining time in Phuket and Bangkok, we enjoyed the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen along with an eclectic and vibrant city. Of particular note, the service levels we experienced in Thailand surpassed anything I’ve seen by a wide margin. In September, my wife and I will spend time in Nice to celebrate our first child, due in December.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Yonah Sturmwind, a rising star in our organization.