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MRED: Projects to Partnerships

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Ryan Takaki, Philip Hasha, and Brian Wardlaw enrolled in Auburn University’s Masters of Real Estate Development program because of its ability to build the professional credentials and expertise of executives in such areas as property design, construction and development. They didn’t expect their in-class collaborations to inspire them to build a successful business together.

Shortly after graduating from the program in 2012, the trio formed The Redmont Group—a Honolulu, Hawaii-based, full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in asset management, acquisition, design, valuation, finance, development and construction. They credit the MRED program, which blends online course delivery with short-term campus-based residencies, for helping them identify a post-graduation opportunity.

“It was during those group projects that we realized we had something special--an architect who could handle all of the design and construction, a commercial appraiser with experience in real estate finance and valuation, as well as a successful business owner who knew firsthand how to run a large-scale company,” Redmont Group Chief Operating Officer Philip Hasha said. “We realized we had a special blend of youthful energy with seasoned veterans. More than all of that, however, we realized we all just generally liked being around each other.”

Hasha and Wardlaw both have roots in Birmingham, while Takaki, Redmont Group’s CEO, was already well-established as a business leader in Hawaii. Auburn University’s MRED program, offered jointly by the College of Architecture, Design and Construction and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, enables students to work on multiple projects and participate in domestic and international field studies. 

“Where else could a young appraiser from Birmingham, Alabama, meet a successful business leader from Hawaii and an award-winning architect and decide to start a company together?,” Hasha asked. “MRED not only gave us the knowledge and experience of traveling around the world researching real estate, it gave us a network of fellow colleagues and professors who truly wanted to see the best out of us and would do whatever they could to help each us succeed. What MRED provided to us is priceless and can never be taken away. It has forever changed each of us!” 

Takaki, Hasha and Wardlaw are eager to affect similar change for future MRED program graduates. In April, while hosting a cohort of Auburn MRED students for a field study experience in Honolulu, The Redmont Group presented a $25,000 gift to the program. The gift was doubled through a “challenge match” by 1982 alumnus Raymond J. Harbert, creating a $50,000 Fund for Excellence.

“Redmont was born out of the MRED program and, therefore, we owe a lot to the program,” Hasha said. “It is my hope that this will be the first of many gifts from our company to the program and will also help spur on other alumni to give back.”

Learn more about the Masters of Real Estate Development program at: http://www.mred.auburn.edu