R&R Real Estate Advisors broker Mark Mills a competitive Iowa State graduate who enjoys basketball, tacos and helping small business owners understand the world of commercial real estate. R&R’s Marketing Director, Spencer recently sat down with Mark to learn more about him:
Tell me about your background, Mark.
Well, I was born and raised in the Twin Cities and really enjoyed competition. I’d say that my competitive streak was as much of a benefit on the courts as it is now in commercial real estate. I became an Iowan of sorts during my time at Iowa State University and after graduating got into the world of insurance.
I started as an adjuster and eventually worked my way up to territory manager for Progressive, living in cities including Virginia Beach and Cincinnati. Family brought me back to Iowa and I was working at EMC Insurance in their marketing department when I felt the pull of entrepreneurialism. Working with three business partners, I co-franchised a Rusty Taco in West Des Moines and learned all facets of running a small business. Commercial real estate had always interested me, so I reduced my day-to-day involvement at Rusty Taco and began my career as a broker here at R&R.
If I asked what your specialty is in the world of commercial real estate, what would you say?
I’d say that I understand what it’s like to be a small business owner. Whether working with an independent insurance agent or co-owning a franchise, my entire career has been spent with entrepreneurs and independent business people. My biggest specialty is the ability to help business owners and decision makers navigate the world of real estate.
How do you give back?
I’ve volunteered with several organizations, including my church (Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines) and Meals on Heels at EMC. I’ve also been involved with Orchard Place’s Moonlight Classic bike ride and served as a youth league basketball coach.
What’s your favorite thing about Des Moines?
I have two favorite things – One is how many unique spaces are being repurposed into new things. For example, how warehouses or old storefronts are being turned into shops and cafes. I’m a big fan of the industrial look, so these places appeal to me and Des Moines has a lot of them. Another thing I love is the amount of new restaurants and coffee shops around the metro. If I can find a new place, I’m generally pretty happy. If that new place happens to be in a revitalized industrial space, then even better!