In today’s Four on Friday, we talk with Mike Madden, director of the Southeast Real Estate Group at Rialto Capital, a diversified real estate investment, management, development and finance company. Mike discusses his duties at the company, how he switched from tax implementation management to commercial real estate, and his hobbies outside the office.
Screen shot 2014-11-21 at 11.57.21 AMGive us an overview of your duties at Rialto.
Madden: At Rialto, I oversee the operations of the Real Estate Group in Atlanta. We cover a six-state area — Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina — and manage assets that include single-family houses, multifamily projects, developed and partially developed lots, commercial and residential land, retail buildings, and office space. There are between 20 and 25 very experienced people in the Real Estate Group here, and together we find ways of selling amazing volumes of assets, investing in and increasing the value of the assets we manage, and also managing the expectations and needs of our main corporate office in Miami.  
Right now, we have more than 30 contracts with builders for lot takedowns, which we plan on doubling in 2015. This means we manage the improvements and platting for the purchaser, homeowner’s association needs and ongoing maintenance of the subdivision. We sell approximately one house per day (including weekends), most of which require capital expense prior to selling. We frequently rent out the homes until we can maximize the value of the unit.
Lastly, we lease a lot of space, so we have a constant list of tenant improvements we are working on, sometimes in conjunction with a CapEx plan for the asset, which we have initiated. We are not just an upfront acquisitions company, but also very much a post-acquisition value-add company.    
Your background is in analysis and project management. How did you end up in commercial real estate?
Madden: A long time ago, I was having a beer with a friend of mine who was in commercial real estate, and I was doing tax-implementation management at the time. My friend started to tell me these stories about different deals he was involved in and different negotiations he had been in. It sounded like it fit my personality much better, and also like much more fun, than what I was doing at the time. I told my friend that night that if he ever saw an opening somewhere to let me know, and a month later I was no longer doing tax-implementation management.
You graduated from Colorado College – what brought you to Atlanta?
Madden: My beautiful bride, of course! My wife, Tricia, is from Atlanta, and we graduated from Colorado College together. I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and although we loved our time in Colorado and we both love going back to visit my parents in Tacoma, we are pretty deeply rooted in Atlanta right now. But someday, I see us moving west again — it just may be a while.
What hobbies do you have outside of the office?
Madden: My days away from work are mostly spent chasing around my three kids — a two-, a seven- and an eight-year-old. We all enjoy snow skiing if we can find the time to go out west, or a few hours up north of here. And, like all good commercial real estate folks, I enjoy a round of golf when I can.