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Business Graduates

Bill McFadden, CRRP, CSM, CMD

What I do now:
I am General Manager of Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, a 600,000 square foot retail/entertainment/office venue situated on the Red River in Bossier City, LA.

My work/job consists of:
I oversee and direct all functions of Louisiana Boardwalk's operations ranging from leasing and collections to security, maintenance, janitorial, landscaping and marketing. I am also a real estate broker for the shopping center. My number one job is to maintain and enhance the value of the asset (Boardwalk) for its owners.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
I worked as an on-air radio talent through high school and while attending LSUS (it was a neat trick getting out of class at 11:50 a.m. to be on the air across town by 12:05 p.m. each day!) I entered the shopping center industry as Marketing Director at South Park Mall in Shreveport in 1984. After a promotion to a Simon property in San Antonio, TX, I was promoted to shopping center management and was sent to Ann Arbor, MI in 1989. Tiring of the snow, I left Simon to join Louisiana-based Stirling Properties in 1991 to manage/redevelop Pierre Bossier Mall. Pierre Bossier was sold to General Growth Properties in 1998. I left GGP after 18 months and returned to Stirling Properties where I served as Regional Manager overseeing management and leasing for about 2 million square feet of retail, office and industrial property in Louisiana and Oklahoma. In 2013, Stirling asked me to assume the role of GM at Louisiana Boardwalk. The Woodmont Company took over the management from Stirling in 2014. Boardwalk's ownership asked me to stay on board with the property that I continue to manage to this day.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I started my college career at NSU in Natchitoches in 1978. After just one semester, I chose to move back to Shreveport so I could work in radio and attend school. Tuition was only $190 per semester! LSUS already had a great reputation.

Fond memories of LSUS:
Time in the University Center with friends was always great fun.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
I was in (current) Chancellor Larry Clark's first Business Law class at LSUS. He related so well to the students. He is a friend to this day. Dr. Jim Reed (Marketing) provided a learning environment where it was easy for me to learn the marketing concepts that I still apply in my work today. Dr. John Burton wrote a commentary/recommendation that discussed my need to "prioritize about my work vs. school focus." While it probably was not intended to be a "positive" comment (I worked crazy hours at my job in radio), it was this comment about my "working too much" that caught the attention of the person who recruited me into the shopping center business...they wanted someone who would work the crazy hours necessary to market the shopping center!

How LSUS helped me succeed:
LSUS helped me to succeed - in that I believe I learned to "think" while I was a student there. The University provided a great platform to learn. The cost of tuition was such that I was able to graduate without any student debt.

Advice to college-bound students:
When I entered LSUS, I thought I wanted to work in media after I graduated. I had no thoughts that my eventual career would be in commercial real estate. College-bound students should keep their eyes open for the opportunities they will learn about while in school. Keep your options open to the possibilities of career directions you never considered. Be well rounded. Get a part time job, just to experience the responsibility associated with work. If you can get a job associated with your major, great...but any job whether it is flipping burgers, working on an engineering survey team, or doing filing in an office will teach you responsibility, the importance of interpersonal skills and the great feeling of accomplishment associated with earning a paycheck for the first time.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Learn the basics. Develop your writing and communication skills. Accounting, finance and statistical analysis will be important as well. Verbal as well as written skills are so very important in our industry as many deals/transactions are completed without ever actually meeting face to face!

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Think about what really interests you. Where will that industry be in 30 or 40 years? The world is evolving so very quickly. How can you "future-proof" yourself so that you can evolve as well?

My toughest professional challenge:
In 1999, I was terminated from my position of GM at General Growth's Pierre Bossier Mall. I had just maxed out every performance bonus available to me. I was out of work for about a month...all while our new home was under construction. I so personally identified myself with that job that it really "messed with my head." Through friends and business contacts, I was able to reboot and find another position; which led me to rejoining a company I had worked with before, Stirling Properties. In total, I was with Stirling for over 22 years! Lesson affirmed: Never burn your bridges! You'll need them some day to pave new paths in life.

My toughest personal challenge:
I seem to live a very "charmed" life. Yes, I have endured the struggles so many go through: the loss of parents and a sibling, a divorce, challenges at work, loss of a job, etc. But I have been so very fortunate too. I married my "dream girl," who also happened to be my Dalmatian's veterinarian! And she has not come to her senses after 25 years! With that I became the step-dad to two brilliant kids. One has gone on to be a Physicist at Boise State, the other a Georgetown Law graduate now living/working in Paris.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
President, Bossier Chamber of Commerce - 1998
Chairman, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation - 2008
President Northwest Louisiana Commercial Investment Division-Board of Realtors - 2010
International Council of Shopping Center Certifications: Certified Retail Real Estate Professional (2018), Certified Shopping Center Manager (1991), Certified Shopping Center Marketing Director (1986)

I've learned this from life:
I have a favorite quote that I believe is true in most all aspects of life and business: "In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments--there are Consequences." R.G. Ingersoll 1833-1899.

Everything we do has a consequence. How we treat the people we work for, with or who work for us. How we conduct ourselves in business and life in general. I have learned to look at the people who support my efforts (employees) as the "experts" at what ever their job is. I encourage them to tell me how they can do their job better. More often than not, their methods will be different from mine, but there is generally more than one way to accomplish a goal, whatever that goal may be!

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
My wife and I love to travel. I am a photographer. I would love to return to Africa. There are still parts of the U.S. I have not seen. I want to see Antarctica, Austrailia and New Zealand. When not traveling, I love to spend time in Arkansas at our weekend home on Lake Ouachita.

 
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