Aaron Mesmer graduated first in his class with a business degree from the University of Kansas, but the corporate jobs that beckoned held no allure for him. Instead, he joined the commercial real estate firm NAI Cohen-Esrey, earned his sales license, and delved into the world of multifamily sales. From there, he began buying and renovating commercial properties and homes—which led to partnership in an infill development project. His leadership on that challenging project gave him a considerable education construction, development, and politics, he says. With his ability to run numbers and understanding of underwriting criteria, Mesmer was a natural pick to work with Block's private equity funds, looking for acquisitions with high returns. To date he has been involved in more than 85 investment transactions worth over $400 million.
Mesmer looks beyond sales production, seeing real estate as a way to invest in his community while building equity. "I have had a unique opportunity to significantly impact the built environment in the community in which I live," he says. "This comes with a certain element of pride and a deep sense of responsibility."
Reputation Matters Most
"[Success] comes down to doing what you say you're going to do," he says. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. If you get a reputation for doing things that are borderline ethically, it doesn't take long for that to get out. You can't be caught in those situations, you must be above reproach."