See how this Auburn grad is making a difference in the Magic City with REV Birmingham

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Auburn University's Master of Real Estate Development
Ben Wieseman, Director of Catalytic Development at REV Birmingham. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

In the past ten years, downtown Birmingham has exploded with new shops, restaurants, bars and much more. One local organization—REV Birmingham—has been integral to Birmingham’s growth, supporting local business owners and creating vibrant experience in The Magic City.

We spoke with Ben Wieseman, Director of Catalytic Development at REV Birmingham and a graduate of Auburn University’s Masters of Real Estate Development Program to learn more.

What is REV Birmingham?

Not familiar with REV Birmingham? You ought to be! Founded in 2012, REV Birmingham is a local nonprofit organization that aims to create vibrant spaces in The Magic City. How do they do that? REV’s team of experts works with city officials, business owners, developers and more to enhance public areas, find new uses for vacant spaces and help keep the city clean and safe with the CAP program.

Meet Ben Wieseman, Director of Catalytic Development at REV Birmingham

Ben Wieseman: Email | 205.623.0628

To learn more about REV Birmingham’s work in The Magic City, we sat down with Ben Wieseman at REV’s office in Woodlawn. As the Director of Catalytic Development at REV Birmingham, Ben’s role entails three primary responsibilities:

  • Overseeing REV Birmingham’s real estate holdings—about 30,000 square-feet in total—in Woodlawn and Downtown Birmingham.
  • Serving as a reference point & a resource for any businesses that want to enter the Birmingham market.
  • Working with developers in Birmingham to understand & assist with any projects, whether it’s connecting firms to designers, financeers, legal teams and more.
Auburn
Students at the Urban Studio working on strategic plans for Birmingham. Photo via Auburn University Urban Studio on Facebook

Before working for REV Birmingham, Ben graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s of Science in Landscape Architecture, a five-year design degree program. From there, Ben gained his architecture license and landed a job at a local architecture firm, picking up valuable urban planning experience. In addition, he began adjunct teaching for Auburn University and working with fifth-year students at the Urban Studio in Birmingham.

However, in order to continue to teach at Auburn, Ben needed to go back to school for a Master’s Degree. Then, he heard about Auburn’s Masters of Real Estate Development program.

Want to learn more about the Masters of Real Estate Development program? Click here to schedule an appointment with a Program Advisor or click here to begin your application!

Continuing his Education

Auburn MRED
The MRED 2020 Class at Auburn during their Field Study program in Nashville. Photo via Auburn University Masters of Real Estate Development

Launched in 2010, the Masters of Real Estate Development program at Auburn University is an executive-style program tailored specifically for the working professional. Although the online program allows flexibility, each cohort spends one week each semester on-campus getting to know each other and their professors.

Tell us about your experience with the Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at Auburn University!

Ben: “Auburn’s MRED program is an incredible, five-semester program in which you learn subject matter from both the Harbert College of Business and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. I’ve had the privilege of not only being in the first cohort to graduate from the program, but then to go on and teach the Planning and Infrastructure class!

Thanks to my background in Landscape Architecture, I came into the program with a strong understanding of the design and construction methodologies, but I was very weak in finance and marketing. Since this program is a joint Master’s Level Program between the Harbert College of Business and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, I was able to pick up a greater understanding of finance and marketing that I’m able to apply to my day-to-day work at REV Birmingham.”

In your experience as both a student and a teacher, what has been the most exciting element of Auburn’s MRED program?

Ben: “The Masters of Real Estate Development program is designed with working professionals in mind. You’re not having to check out for two years to go back to college; you can manage the program while continuing your career, which 90% of us do.

One of the requirements of the program is that each student will travel to a new city with their professor and cohort to see a guided tour of the city and its current developments. It’s a great way to understand how developments work in different cities across the country. For me, coming from the South, it was eye-opening to see how the Northwest functions and utilizes their developments.”

What would you say to other professionals looking to continue their education and grow their skillset?

Ben: “If you’re thinking about going back to school, I highly recommend Auburn’s Masters of Real Estate Development program. Step back into a master’s level education, travel and see markets all over the United States, discover the ever-changing world of urban development and gain a better understanding of what’s going on next door to your home.”

Want to Learn More?

Auburn
Auburn University’s new Horton-Hardgrave Hall, the home of Auburn’s Harbert College of Business. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Master of Real Estate Development: Website

If you want to learn more about shaping communities and changing the way people work, live, and play within them, the Masters of Real Estate Development Program at Auburn University can teach you what you need to know.

Want to learn more? Click here to schedule an appointment with a Program Advisor or click here to begin your application!

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Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer with Bham Now | Originally from Tennessee, Nathan moved to The Magic City after graduating from Birmingham-Southern College. Nathan is passionate about recognizing Birmingham's history and is thrilled to learn more about the big things planned for The Magic City's future.

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