Portland's dynamic real estate market offers a living laboratory of case studies and immersive experiences for students and professionals working in the industry. Candidates in Portland State University's Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) are able to get into the community to examine today's practical challenges and interact with professionals in every corner of the industry.

The program attracts professionals across a wide diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds, but the motivation is unanimous: change the landscape of real estate.

For Robert Pile, redefining the industry is about sustainability. Pile was working as a commercial property manager when he began the PSU's Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development, then enrolled in one of the first MRED cohorts. "My goal was to do sustainable development as a way to contribute meaningfully to my community," says Pile.

Robert Pile, MRED ‘13
Robert Pile, MRED ‘13

MRED candidates have the opportunity to build their professional network and apply their education through experiential learning with internships, capstone projects and case competitions. "I was excited and grateful to have current, relevant knowledge to draw on, and also a network of professionals — other students, professors and guest speakers — who I could reach out to for perspective or support," says Pile. I found significant value in both the courses and the relationships — value that was directly applicable in my professional life."

The knowledge and skills he acquired in the program were immediately pertinent to Pile's professional projects. He led the responsible allocation of millions of dollars and execution of numerous tenant improvement, ground-up development and historic renovation projects during his career. Recently he participated in the development of one of Portland's newest highrise, mixed-use buildings.

Pile is always looking to center sustainability. "I championed and led multiple LEED certifications, overhauled purchasing policies to increase local sourcing and use of recycled materials, and pushed early adoption of electric vehicle charging stations." These days, Pile focuses on leveraging innovative materials and leading-edge construction methods in the multifamily sector to lessen carbon impacts, reduce material waste and improve building performance and energy efficiency.

The MRED curriculum can help boost careers in affordable housing, brokerage, construction, lending, property management, real estate investment, urban planning and design and more. MRED candidates are inspired to creatively redefine the landscape of real estate and develop as leaders of equitable and sustainable approaches to the built environment. As Pile proves, it's not idealistic if you're doing it.

If you are interested in learning more about putting sustainability into action in real estate, check out PSU's MRED program.