With no indication of losing steam, the popularity of podcasts continue to surge. Whether they are exercising, behind the wheel driving, or having a lazy day at home, more people are searching to learn from industry leaders about their areas of expertise. And for many people in a crunch for time, it is more convenient than reading. Real estate development has become an area with no shortage of fantastic stories, specifically in the Northern Virginia region. Those stories just have to be found first. Tyler Kasak, MS Real Estate Development (MRED) ’18, hosts a podcast series where he speaks with fellow Mason MRED alumni about their lives and professional experiences and the influence that this George Mason University School of Business program had on them.
Kasak has a knack for finding people who lead fascinating lives, perhaps because his own background is so compelling. A former asset manager with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), he now works on the redevelopment of a multi-million dollar mixed used community in Northern Virginia. But before all that, Kasak served in the Air Force, working as an aerospace propulsion technician and a ceremonial honor guardsman. These unique situations led him to add another position to his resume, one that he never expected–a podcast host.
Despite having no previous experience with podcasting, the process for Kasak plays out quite organically. From his group of friends within the real estate development program, he selects someone whose story he finds especially impressive. “Each one has an eclectic background, which is why I want to get their features out,” he says. Accommodating his guests, he typically records at their workplace or another location that may be significant to their story. “For my podcast with Ben Myers [MRED ’16], I traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to meet him at a commercial property he recently gained ownership of,” he says.
“One of the great things about our ‘MRED Community’ is how engaged everyone is, not only with the industry but also with their fellow students and alumni,” says Kat Grimsley, director of the MRED program. “Tyler’s initiative is a great example and also highlights some of the wonderfully talented people we’ve had in the program. I appreciate his efforts and the participation of the MRED alumni he interviews.”
The more podcast episodes Kasak records, the clearer a common theme among the speakers becomes. As his guests reflect on their respective experiences at Mason’s MRED program, there are nothing but positive takeaways, regardless of the year they graduated. “They are from a variety of backgrounds and they have achieved remarkable feats, many of which they attribute directly to what they learned at the MRED program,” he says. Busy as he is with his day job, Kasak cannot wait to shine a light on more of his fellow alumni through the podcast series. “My ultimate goal is to get my peers’ stories out and to show prospective students why they should apply for the program,” he says. “When looking into a career in real estate development, I didn’t think that I had the proper experience or background, but this podcast goes to show that many different kinds of people can find success in real estate development careers.”