To view Michael's paper, Economic Impact Analysis: Komatsu Diesel Engine and Construction Equipment Assembly Manufacturing Plant In Peoria (co-written with Charles E. Oyibo), click here. The paper was first developed in the required specialization course UPP 531, Economic Development II: Planning
What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?
I graduated in 2010 from the University of Michigan with a degree in economics and sociology. I worked as a project assistant with the Real Estate Practice Group at Kirkland & Ellis LLP prior to enrolling in the program. Soon after enrolling I began working as an analyst at Integra Realty Resources, a commercial real estate valuation and consulting firm.
What attracted you to planning and made you decide you
wanted to be a planner?
To me, the underlying theme shared by my undergrad majors is the concept of community progress – striving for social equity and economic efficiency. Given my background in these fields, along with interests in real estate development and public finance, I became especially drawn to the studies of land economics, public-private partnerships, and economic
development. Additionally, working in an inter-disciplinary field was a major draw. The variety in my classmates’ backgrounds – finance, architecture, public policy, and community development, amongst others – has provided a much broader perspective on urban issues.
Why did you want to study planning at UIC?
UIC offers a very policy-intensive curriculum as opposed to programs outside of major urban areas that tend to be more design-focused. Additionally, I have found Chicago to be a great setting for this type of program.
What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?
The highlight of my time as a student has been the opportunity to work as a research assistant under Dr. Rachel Weber. She has given me the opportunity to contribute to the book that she is currently writing about the millennial office real estate boom in Chicago. Her development finance expertise and influence in the City of Chicago has made the experience an absolute privilege.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to be investing in real estate projects, ideally in both stabilized communities as well as under-privileged neighborhoods.