Apogee Awards Honorees: Seth M. Wise
Meet Seth M. Wise of BBX Capital, honoree in the Real Estate & Construction category at the 2020 Apogee Awards
Seth M. Wise is Executive Vice President of BBX Capital and serves on its Board of Directors. He is also President of BBX Capital Real Estate and is Co-CEO of The Altman Companies which since 1968 has built over 26,000 rental apartments. The Altman Companies is 50% owned by BBX Capital Real Estate. He is also on the board of Bluegreen Vacations Corporation (NYSE: BXG).
Wise has more than 25 years of experience in many facets of real estate finance, management, investment, restructuring and development. Throughout his career, Wise has been responsible for managing approximately $3 billion of real estate assets in various classes including industrial, retail, and a focus in housing that includes single family, master-planned communities and multifamily. He has managed an acquired portfolio of nearly $600 million of performing and non-performing loans and real estate. This portfolio has successfully monetized since 2012 thru development, sale, restructuring, and loan payoffs well over $750 million. Wise’s real estate development experience includes more than 1.5 million-square-feet of industrial space. He has also been involved in the development, ownership, and asset management of nearly 12,000 rental apartment units and single-family homes. Wise also has expertise in equity investment, lending, and debt restructuring, including the management of a commercial real estate workout portfolio of over $1 billion.
Wise is an active member of organizations in his field and community. He is a member of the Ambassadors Board at Nova Southeastern University. Wise has served as an Executive Board Member of the Real Estate Advisory Board of the Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida, and the Southeast Florida/Caribbean Council of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and serves is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Jewish Family Services of Broward County, a non-profit human services organization and Jewish Family Home Care, a nonprofit home health agency primarily serving Holocaust survivors. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the David Posnack Jewish Day School and a member of the National Council of AIPAC.
Wise earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Florida.
Fun fact: Got my Real Estate License at 18 years old. At the time, was the youngest to get a license.
What is your favorite South Florida dining destination? Joe’s Stone Crabs
What do you like to do on the weekends? Spend time with family. Catch up on leisure reading. Long walks in nature.
How do you unwind from a long day at work? Family dinner and a good Netflix series.
What is your favorite quote? “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence. And having that impact last into your absence.”
From whom, or what, do you draw inspiration? I have been very blessed to have a few mentors in my life. Two are my partner today and one was my grandfather who is sadly no longer with us. They have been a source of professional and personal inspiration to be a better father, spouse, friend, and partner.
What has been the biggest accomplishment of your career? When we sold BankAtlantic in 2012, I took responsibility for an approximately $600 million portfolio of the “scratch and dent” assets we kept. This included non-performing loans, foreclosed real estate, and performing loans with some issue that caused them to be considered.
What has been the most challenging moment in your career and how did you overcome it? Was in business with a relative early in my career and I decided to part ways. Navigating the business issues around the separation while maintaining a good relationship was very challenging. I overcame the challenge by being vulnerable in terms of communicating my feelings and making sure the economic decisions did not impact the relationship. In other words, I put the family relationship ahead of the business relationship. We are a close family to this day.
What advice would you give an up and coming professional? Be the “go to person” for those above, under and adjacent to you on the organizational chart. Be known for exceeding expectations. Honor commitments without being reminded. Ask for more responsibility. “Sharpen your saw” by seeking out mentors and ways to continuously learn. Ask for and act on feedback regularly. Do not let anyone out work you!