How Two UNI Real Estate Alums Made an Extreme Difference

It's not unusual for UNI graduates to be out in the world making a difference. But it's somewhat unusual for two of them, employed by the same company, to be working on a major construction project together in Des Moines as community volunteers.

University of Northern Iowa

Tim Portzen (real estate '12) and Eric Bohnenkamp (real estate '13) both work for Hubbell Realty in Des Moines as project managers. Portzen works in commercial development and Bohnenkamp works in land development.

Their paths cross now and then during the work week, but they got involved in a project together last summer as part of a major community initiative taken on by Hubbell to complete an 11-day “Extreme Build” of the Ronald McDonald House near Iowa Methodist Medical Center in downtown Des Moines. “It was kind of cool to see the people you networked with in college and spend time with them in Des Moines for Ronald McDonald House,” Portzen says.

UNI offers the only real estate program in Iowa leading to a bachelor's degree and provides a strong tie to the real estate industry. The value of this program and the strength of its graduates do not go unnoticed; UNIBusiness real estate majors experience 100 percent job placement before graduation

“Being a real estate major is fairly rare,” Portzen says, “and to get into real estate with that major speaks volumes for the program. It gets you in tune with a network, which is pretty tight knit in the Des Moines area. I can completely thank UNI for my ability to get an internship, which translated into getting my first job.” Portzen says he runs into UNI real estate grads often in Des Moines; many are employed at Hubbell, but others are at other agencies and a few are on the real estate advisory board.

The UNI experience also prepared Portzen for volunteering. “I was involved in stuff at school,” Portzen says. “There were plenty of options to donate your time and talent, and that translates to wanting to continue.”

Bohnenkamp says that while he was a student, he observed that the university invested in the community as well as its students. “It showed me that you can be invested in more than one thing. You can invest in your community and make it a better place to live.” Both men credit their UNI education with their career success as well as their community spirit.

Story excerpt taken from UNIBusiness News.