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Nashville District officials give real estate career advice to college STEM students

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Nov. 16, 2017
Real Estate

Ashley Klimaszewski, Real Estate Division Management and Disposal Branch chief, gives a brief to a class of college STEM students attending a real estate class Nov. 14, 2017 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They were on a focus group for area professionals on campus.

Real Estate

Eric Crafton, Real Estate Technical Resources Branch chief speaks to a real estate student attending a real estate class Nov. 14, 2017 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They were on a focus group for area professionals on campus.

Real Estate

Mike Abernathy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Real Estate Division chief, speaks to a class of college STEM students attending a real estate class Nov. 14, 2017 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They were on a focus group for area professionals on campus.

Real Estate

Mike Abernathy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Real Estate Division chief, and Ashley Klimaszewski, Real Estate Division Management and Disposal Branch chief, speak to a class of college STEM students attending a real estate class Nov. 14, 2017 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They were on a focus group for area professionals on campus.

Real Estate

Ashley Klimaszewski, Real Estate Division Management and Disposal Branch chief, talks with a student attending a real estate class Nov. 14, 2017 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2017) – Nashville District officials gave real estate career advice today to a class of college STEM students at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. 

As part of focus group for area professionals on campus, Mike Abernathy, Real Estate Division chief; Eric Crafton, Real Estate Technical Resources Branch chief; and Ashley Klimaszewski, Real Estate Management and Disposal Branch chief; served as speakers as part of focus group for area professionals on campus.

“Our goal is to help these students expand their minds about real estate, how it works on a large scale and to tell them about the many operating functions of the Corps of Engineers,” said Abernathy.

The Nashville District Real Estate Division manages over 400,000 acres of USA-owned land with over 5,000 tenants. They manage 57 marinas which is exclusively managed in Real Estate Division.  Within the Real Estate Division, they currently employ multiple business educated Realty Specialists, an accountant, two appraisers, and two GIS mappers.  

Abernathy, Crafton and Klimaszewski covered the gamut of the Corps mission, real estate programs, Cumberland River economic benefits, technical resources, flood risk reduction, mapping, management and disposal, land management, marina program, compliance, and federal government real estate career opportunities with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Dr. Philip A. Seagraves, Ph.D., Real Estate Program Coordinator, assistant professor of Finance and Real Estate at Middle Tennessee State University, invited Abernathy, Crafton and Klimaszewski to engage the students about the Corps.

“This was a great experience for our students,” said Seagraves.  “I am especially glad they shared their knowledge about the Corps mission and how they manage real estate from a large perspective.”

Seagraves said he spends a lot of time helping students understand the world of real estate.  Many of them come to MTSU thinking about brokerage, flipping housing and selling houses because of what they’ve learned or know. 

“So when I have an opportunity to bring people into MTSU, it is a great opportunity for them to learn from professionals who do it every day,” said Seagraves.  “There are so many things that real estate training can do other than selling houses.”

Seagraves said more than 65 students from two classes of various majors attended the class.  Many of them finance and real estate majors. 

Derisha Robinson, a senior finance student, with a concentration in Real Estate came with the intentions to learn about Corps job opportunities.

“This was a very informative class and I gained a lot of knowledge from the Corps instructors,” said Robinson.    

Abernathy, a 1990 graduate of MTSU, said he was very impressed with the attentiveness and questions from the students and has always wanted to give back to his college.  Crafton added that he too was fascinated with their approach to the future of real estate and initiative to understand how real estate works.   

“I’m blown away with class participation,” said Crafton.  “It was great to see many of the students stick around after class to talk and ask questions.” 

According to Seagraves, MTSU has the only real estate program designed for students to gain a degree in Tennessee. 

He said focus groups and wide topic discussions help students investigate and discover key academic content and practice skills through hands on learning, which encourages students to engage in projects involving a process of inquiry.

Klimaszewski spoke about her career path and gave a brief run-through of management and disposal, land management, and the marina program.  She said some students had many questions and she did her best to address each student. 

During the class, some led the flow of questions and others sat back listening intently, taking notes.

“The MTSU program is looking great and the program is allowing students to use their STEM assets,” said Klimaszewski.  “Experiences to learn and apply key academic content, make informed decisions, practice communication and collaboration are all key skills they will use in their real estate career.   

Crafton said he was interested in the impression many had and through the presentation wanted to change the thinking and perception many students had about the Corps of Engineers.

“Some students were not aware of the work the Corps does,” said Crafton. “We had the opportunity to show them that we work on dozens of new projects, lease agreements, land agreements and work with marinas.” 

Crafton said after speaking to the group, he met a great group students that gave him more confidence in the future of real estate.

“It is great that we are involved in our schools, focus groups, college fairs and community events so that we can hire these young smart people to work in the Corps of Engineers,” said Crafton. “I’m excited about the information we left them with and how we can help them develop their skills or develop new talent that will eventually replace us.

Seagraves said the current MTSU real estate program currently awards eight scholarships for students majoring in finance with a concentration in real estate.  Four are $750 per semester; two are $500 per semester.

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)