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Business Graduates

Lon Mapes, MBA

Lon Mapes, MBA and Dr. Michael Meeks

What I do now:
I am the President of LDM Commercial, a commercial real estate brokerage I own in Southern California.

My work/job consists of:
My specialization is in medical real estate so I work with hospitals, health systems, and physicians to buy, sell, develop, or lease medical office properties. My largest client is Loma Linda University Medical Center, who I have represented for 10+ years. I also work with medical office developers to locate and acquire existing medical office buildings or land to develop on.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
I graduated in 1990 with my B.S. in Business Administration from Atlantic Union College in my hometown of South Lancaster, MA. My first job after college was working under the CFO of a medical group in Boston. In 1992, I took a 3 week vacation to Southern California to visit friends. I liked it so much I decided to move and have been here since. My first job in California was in medical auditing. I worked for a firm that audited in-patient hospital bills and identified cases where the insurance company had underpaid the hospital. The firm had hospital clients across the country. We had clients in Louisiana and I enjoyed my times traveling there and grew to love the state and the people. In 2003, I decided to transition to real estate. My first four years were spent at Coldwell Banker Commercial, where I rose to the level of Sr. Vice President. In 2007, my entrepreneurial spirit motivated me to form LDM Commercial.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
Back in 1999, I started my MBA journey by taking night courses at a Keller Graduate School location in Irvine, CA. I made it a third of the way through the program when life had other plans for me. I met my future wife. My employer at the time decided to move their operations to Las Vegas. I had no interest in moving out of state, so I left the company and moved 50 miles away to Redlands, CA to be closer to my future wife and start a new job. This made traveling to Keller for night classes impossible and there were, of course, no online options at that time. So I put that plan on the back burner and moved on in life. Fast forward to the spring of 2017, someone had been talking about online MBA programs becoming mainstream. I started to think about how I'd like to follow through on what I'd started 18 years earlier. I spent a weekend searching through programs online. My search parameters were for a school that would have name recognition nationally and be cost effective at the same time. I must have researched close to 100 programs when I stumbled across LSUS. I was amazed when I learned the price of the Online MBA program from the respected LSU system. The following week I was applying to the program. I'm forever grateful I found LSUS.

Lon and his wife Diane

Fond memories of LSUS:
Since I completed the program online, my first visit to campus came on graduation weekend in December of 2017. My wife and daughters made the trip with me and we had a wonderful time. Everyone at LSUS was very gracious and happy that we had made the trip from California to experience the campus environment for the weekend. Early Sunday morning I made my initial visit to campus for the Sigma Iota Epsilon Honor Society induction ceremony. Immediately after this, there was a reception held for all online MBA students. This gave us the opportunity to meet fellow students and our professors in person for the first time. The graduation ceremony at CenturyLink Arena was incredible and a special memory I'll always remember.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
By far the professor who's had the biggest influence on me is Dr. Michael Meeks. He taught both of the entrepreneur classes I took, MADM 751 and 760. From the first time we exchanged emails in class, there was a connection. I shared with him my entrepreneurial spirit and he in turn shared his valuable knowledge and insights. We have stayed in close touch since graduation and I value his friendship very much.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
The knowledge I gained in the Online LSUS MBA program helped me to put into context and bring together the many things I've learned over the 25+ years in my career. It gave me new tools to grow my business and continue on my entrepreneurial journey.

Advice to college-bound students:
What I learned in my academic journey is that it's always important to work for the best grades; but it's also extremely important to work on interpersonal skills. Learning how to interact with others has been just as important as all the knowledge I gained in school. I know many people who performed with excellence academically, but developed no social skills. This often times becomes a handicap when entering the workforce. Knowledge only takes you so far. Being able to communicate effectively and get along with others is the true key to success.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Commercial real estate is an exciting and growing field. When I was young and in my undergrad college years, no one ever aspired to become a commercial real estate broker. But now, thankfully, that's changing and some universities have begun to offer degrees in this field. I love that it brings new challenges every day. There's never an opportunity to become bored. The best way to break into this field is to look for internship opportunities with some of the national commercial real estate firms such as CBRE, Colliers, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, etc.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Back in high school, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. I only knew I wanted to do something business related Later, when I got into college, I realized I wanted to do something in the business side of healthcare; I liked how stable healthcare was. I recognized the fact that no matter what the economy is doing, we humans still have to go to the doctor and manage our health. This makes the healthcare field more stable than the general economy and I was drawn to that.

My toughest professional challenge:
Starting three businesses from scratch was my greatest challenge. It was also my greatest joy and why I love the entrepreneurial life.

My toughest personal challenge:
Dealing with and learning how to handle the stress of growing a business was a major challenge for me. My work life definitely affected the quality of my personal life. I was fortunate to have a wonderful wife, good friends, and advisors to show me how to manage stress in a positive way.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
When I first got into commercial real estate in 2004, I was able to climb to the ranking of #76 in the country out of 5,000+ brokers at Coldwell Banker Commercial.

I've learned this from life:
Never regret anything that has happened in your life. It cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. So take it as a lesson and move on.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
I'd take a year with my family traveling completely around the world. We'd spend a lot of time in the South Pacific. My wife and I had our honeymoon in Tahiti and love that region of the world.

 
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