Member Profile: Maggie Linvill Smith, Linvill Properties

July 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm

A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994

A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994

By Tim Alevizos

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD
Maggie’s journey to running Linvill Properties took her first to Brown University in Rhode Island, next to The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and then back to Minnesota…with stops along the way in Siberia, Moscow, Zanzibar, Uganda, Poland, Bulgaria, Morocco, and Bosnia (via C-130 military transport, as part of the post- Dayton Peace Accords economic reform team).

“You could say I took the long way home,” says Maggie. “Early in my professional career I was ambivalent about working for the family business, and when Price Waterhouse offered me the opportunity to assist in the privatization of Eastern Bloc economies, I couldn’t resist. Even after I joined Linvill Properties in 1994, I remained on contract with them for the next four years. I’d say to my dad, ‘Can you take me off the payroll for the next three months while I go to Albania?’

“I loved the international work and I think I made a real contribution, but it came at the cost of putting down roots. Then my mother’s health began to decline, and in 2000 my father died suddenly.  At that point any remaining uncertainty disappeared. I was fully committed to maintaining Linvill Properties’ leadership and ushering in a new era of growth. The fact that I met Ed, my husband-to-be, in short order only confirmed that I’d made the right decision.”

Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

EVOLVING THE BUSINESS
“I wasn’t sure how applicable my international experience would be to running the family business, but it turns out that many of the skills my international clients valued are no less useful in property development. I’m not afraid of complexity, nor is our company. We embrace our tenants’ diversity and value them as individuals, each with unique needs and goals. Rather than trying to shoehorn them into a specific landlord-tenant model, we partner with them as individuals and create solutions that are unique to their circumstances.

“The fact is, whether you’re a state-run utility in Belarus or a light industrial firm in Eagan, you need room to react to change. One reason we have such great retention is because we understand that. Our tenants have a well-founded sense that they and Linvill Properties are in this together.”

EMBRACING COMMUNITY
“Under the Community Involvement section of my resume, there are a lot of bullets – from past work with the Minnesota Chamber of commerce, Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women and the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation to my current involvement in the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, St. Paul Economic Development Corporation and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

“Healthy communities make for healthy businesses, and the most important thing I can do to ensure we thrive is to be fully engaged both in my company and its ecosystem.”

While work ties Maggie to the community, family anchors her to it. “Getting married earlier in the millennium and having a child several years ago brought everything into relief. I’ve always conducted business ethically and with an eye toward how my work affects the larger community. But now that I have a more personal stake in the future, my focus is on growing Linvill Properties in a way that strengthens and broadens the Twin Cities’ economic base to make this an even greater place to put down roots.”

RED SQUARE PHOTO CAPTION (if you need one)
A quick sightseeing break while working in Moscow in 1994
FAMILY CAPTION (if you need one)
Maggie with her husband, Ed, stepchildren Erik and Rachel, and daughter Catherine, in 2012.

Entry filed under: Featured Articles, Member Profiles.

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