MSUB Alumni selected as 40 Under Forty winners

Matt Robertson

Business Finance, 2004


principal, supervising broker, NAI Business Properties


Matt RobertsonMatt Robertson’s love for crunching numbers opened doors after he graduated from Montana State University Billings with a degree in finance.


Robertson put his diploma to work as a financial analyst for American Express. But after a friend suggested that he could prosper in real estate, he decided to give it a try.


Robertson helped customers buy and sell houses early in his career. But he never looked back after he got a taste of the commercial market.


“I really like selling commercial real estate a lot. As a finance major, it fit in with what I liked to do,” said Robertson, who is a principal and supervising broker at NAI Business Properties.


In commercial real estate, the focus is on numbers. Buyers and sellers may be looking to maximize their return on investment, generate cash flow or find the best use for a given piece of property.


“In commercial real estate, you’re dealing more with asset-based, numbers-based evaluations and decisions rather than feelings or emotions,” Robertson said.


Another advantage of commercial real estate is that business is transacted Monday through Friday. Commercial brokers typically don’t attend weekend open houses, and they rarely meet with clients at night.


Robertson has worked in commercial real estate for eight years, the past six at NAI.


The Billings market has seen a few ups and downs during that time. The low point was 2009, when the nation was still digging out of a recession that resulted from the sub-prime mortgage crisis.


Since then, the Billings commercial market has seen steady improvement.


“For 2014, we’re going to be just a little bit off of last year,” Robertson said in early December. “We feel that activity is something that’s sustainable and up to levels that we saw in 2006-07.”


NAI works with sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and property owners. The company also manages a number of commercial properties.


In addition, Robertson does more than 100 property valuations per year, mostly for lenders.


Describe how you got where you are in your work today: I constantly strive to put my clients and investors first, while also giving them the service that they deserve.


What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? To maintain the highest level of service across all levels of my business.   


What’s the best business advice you have received?  Even though you feel like you are spinning your wheels, all positive activity will eventually come back to benefit you and your business.


Who gave you that advice? My father


Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community:  Through my years of participation in the Downtown Billings Association and Partnership I would like to continue to develop a more vibrant downtown that draws business and people from around the state.


Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? By positioning my clients in real estate investments that allow them to move toward financial freedom.   


Which living person do you most admire?  My mother. She is the most dedicated, hard-working and brilliant person I know. 


What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Building a platform in business and investing to take care of my family.


I’m happiest when I’m… Spending time with my daughter, golfing or working.


Article credit: Billings Gazette
Photo credit: James Woodcock, Billings Gazette


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