The Entrepreneur LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
CEO on Leadership:
Jaclynn Walsh, President/COO, Irgens
The president and COO of this Milwaukee-based diversified commercial real estate develop-
ment company shares her insights on the industry.
By Ron Derven
JACLYNN WALSH’S real estate
career began at what was then one of
the Big Eight accounting firms, pro-
viding consulting services at the or-
ganization’s Los Angeles tax division.
After six years in LA, she followed her
heart back to Milwaukee, where she
blanketed area real estate companies
with her resume.
One of those resumes landed on the
desk of Mark Irgens, who was then
president of Boldt Development. At
the time, Irgens was expanding the
company’s consulting services, and
thought Walsh’s experience would add
value to the firm. During her more
than 15 years there, she focused on
representing clients in real estate,
including site selections, acquisitions,
development entitlements, team
selection and management, design
and construction administration, and
ultimately property management.
In 1998, Mark Irgens, Walsh and two
other people purchased the assets
of Boldt Development — including
contracts and around 45 employees
— and formed Irgens, a developer,
investor and operator of office, mixed-use, health care and manufacturing properties. Over the years that
followed, Walsh applied her skill
sets to Irgens’ real estate portfolio.
In October 2014, she was named
president/chief operating officer of
Irgens, which has grown to more than
100 employees at three offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and Phoenix.
Development: How has your role
evolved at Irgens?
Walsh: At the time we formed Irgens,
my role began to change. As a small
company with 45 employees, we
realized we no longer had many of the
resources of a large company. That
is, we had no human resources or
information technology departments
to handle all of our operational needs.
I began to manage those aspects
of our business. As my operational
role — and the firm — expanded, the
time I had to focus on direct project
development became limited.
While I enjoy the challenges and suc-cesses experienced through managing
real estate development projects, my
role at Irgens has evolved into making
sure we have the right resources in
place to identify and administer real
estate investments for others and for
Development: What are your core
areas of focus?
Walsh: My primary focus in operations
is risk management. By improving
our internal processes, we can better
manage the risks facing Irgens and
our clients. I believe there is always
a better way to do things. We are
continually working to improve our
processes with the goal of deploying
improved solutions. For example, if
asked about the reliability of internally presented information, we had
better know the answer with a certain
degree of accuracy.
Over the past 10 years, we have
invested heavily in technology to
better manage and share information,
both internally and externally. Data
“Don’t leave others
guessing at where
things stand; always
be out in front