Georgia Tech College of Management students who want to know what it takes to succeed in real estate development can now learn at the foot of a master.
The College recently named M.J. “Skip” Beebe, IM 1966, to serve as the Robert H. Ledbetter Sr. Professor of the Practice of Real Estate Development. In his 35-plus years in the real estate industry, Beebe held top leadership roles at companies involved in large-scale residential and commercial projects as well as a range of real-estate services.
“Skip has a terrific background and reputation, and he will add substantially to our excellent course offerings in this important field,” says College of Management Dean Steve Salbu. “Our students and future real estate developers will benefit enormously.”
Another real estate veteran, Robert H. Ledbetter Sr., IM 1958, made creation of this professorship possible through a $1 million gift. He is founder, CEO, and president of R. H. Ledbetter Properties, a family-owned real estate development and management firm headquartered in Rome, Georgia.
"As the current market clearly shows, real estate development can be quite a challenging profession," Ledbetter says. “To be successful in real estate development in the long run, you have to know how to anticipate trends in the marketplace and in the larger economy....For college students interested in the real estate development business, the best way for them to start learning is through an experienced developer who has seen it all.”
After graduating from Georgia Tech, Beebe worked for a few years in banking before starting his career in real estate. During seven years at Cousins Properties, he rose to senior vice president before becoming president of Mobil Land Development Corporation. An eventual move to the Dutch-owned company Wilma broadened his global perspective as he ran its operations in the Southeast. He later led The Landmarks Group before going into real estate services at CB Richard Ellis Real Estate in 1994.
He served as executive managing director for CB Richard Ellis’ Eastern Division before becoming the company’s chief learning officer, a role responsible for creating and implementing organizational development programs for the global firm’s many employees. After retiring in 2007, he started Beebe Interests, providing executive coaching for top leaders in the United States and abroad.
When he heard about the Georgia Tech professorship from A.J. Land, CEO of Pope-Land Enterprises and an emeritus member of the College of Management’s Advisory Board, he thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity, combining his interests in both real estate and developing minds.
“I’m very much in the give-back mode of my life,” says Beebe, who is a former sponsor of the Center for Real Estate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a new addition to Georgia Tech College of Management’s Advisory Board.
“What I’m looking to do is give students both an experience of what real estate is broadly about while getting them to think about technologies that will change the built world in the future. This will give the students a distinct competitive advantage in the market place.
“Given the resources and research available on campus, we can create a unique experience exploring how advances in such areas as architecture, logistics, materials, sustainability, biosciences, computing, and nanotechnology will affect future real estate developments.”
Beebe will develop his courses in the fall and begin teaching in spring 2010. “Georgia Tech is offering me a lot of freedom to create a truly unique Tech course design,” he says.
“While we're not building a structure, we're very much a development project. We'll start by asking lots of questions and design courses based on broad input. In many ways, this is the ultimate development – the chance to influence what goes on in the mind that will shape what happens in the built world.”