For the past couple decades, Matthew Stoehr has been building technology solutions for leading commercial real estate and real estate finance companies – and with notable success. Widely sought out for (the good kind of) disruption, along with the innovation and sweeping efficiencies he delivers to both companies and the industry at large, he is also credited with leading extraordinary teams.
We sat down with Stoehr, who oversees technology operations for Regions Real Estate Capital Markets, and discovered how his early interest in radio and aerospace technology ultimately led him to cultivate a core specialization in real estate finance technology.
Your interest in amateur radio began at a young age and, ultimately, started you on this path. Can you explain?
From an early age, I understood I had a penchant for engineering, which was clear from my hands-on approach to solving problems. In my youth, I built an amateur radio station in my bedroom that allowed me to talk to others all over the world, first in Morse Code and subsequently in voice. I also had a huge interest in space technology and later went on to study aerospace engineering in college and ended up in the Navy, where I operated and maintained weapons systems on Naval ships. After taking on leadership positions in the Navy, I left to pursue contract work for the Navy. This juncture in my career ended up being pivotal because this is when my focus shifted from engineering to coding. I was ultimately developing databases, programs and systems designed to garner funding from the Pentagon and to fix various Naval systems we were contracted to address. My path ultimately led me away from military related work and into increasingly technical senior leadership roles where I was building products and systems for commercial real estate investment, property management and lending entities.
About two years ago, you first landed at Regions Real Estate Capital Markets when Regions acquired Sabal Capital Partners, a multifamily and commercial real estate business that made serious waves in the industry with its technology-backed lending platform.
As the architect of that technology, have you been able to integrate it into Regions Real Estate Capital Markets to enhance the customer borrowing experience?
Absolutely. It’s not just the Sabal Capital Partners brand that has transitioned to Regions Real Estate Capital Markets. The technology-driven origination and servicing platforms have as well. Regions Real Estate Capital Markets lending operations are now supported by SNAP®, the company’s innovative technology platform, which originally came from Sabal Capital Partners, that automates and drives efficiencies across the life-of-loan process, from loan origination through servicing. SNAP leverages tools including the analysis and underwriting of multiple financing scenarios, document management, and technology for tracking loan progress through deal closure, while supporting servicing and customer relations.
Ultimately, Regions Real Estate Capital Markets wants to provide the best products along with the best customer experience. In this mission, we are unwavering, and our teams are consistently pushing to build and enhance the tools and processes that will ensure our customers get a better experience. The SNAP technology platform is integral to enabling this.
In your career, you’ve built and led a number of widely successful technology teams known for driving business efficiencies. Tell us about that.
I have been fortunate to have recruited, assembled and been surrounded by some of the very best business and technology teams. I do recognize my success has never just been my own, but rather a reflection of these amazing teams. They’ve accomplished significant goals, introduced numerous meaningful efficiencies into our operations, as well as delivered countless benefits to the business, many of which we hadn’t even anticipated. This is why I will continue to seek out the most talented people I can find, regardless of industry, function or background, and work to bring them together to form innovative teams that will support the continued success of Regions.
How would you describe your management style?
I have found if you set a challenging vision, build a high-performance team comprised of talented people, and work diligently to remove any roadblocks, you are practically ensured to have amazing results. I use these cornerstones in a very entrepreneurial and collaborative way. It is my experience that people will consistently surprise you with the solutions they design and implement when they are challenged intellectually. I strive to work alongside the team to help them refine their ideas and provide encouragement at the appropriate times, but I also maintain a hands-off approach to ensure each team member builds confidence in their problem-solving abilities during the process. This enables exponential growth to occur, both personally and professionally, and provides ownership and pride in the products each team member delivers.
What characteristics do you look for when you’re recruiting employees?
The primary qualities I seek are initiative, creativity and openness. Obviously, it is important and expected for an employee to be skilled in their craft, but I feel it is equally important that they are enthusiastic, that they enjoy cultivating new ideas, and that they be resourceful in finding answers and solutions. While it is beneficial to have an employee who already knows how to meet any given project with the right solutions, it’s important to hire someone who also has drive and energy, believes in what they are doing, and has a propensity to go out and find the answers and source solutions, even if their inspiration originates outside their industry or specialty.
You feel teams are integral to success in the technology field. What do you believe a team must provide for you to accomplish your goals or mission?
The team must bring their combined passion every day. Yes, it is possible for folks to complete work assigned to them without loving that work. However, passion breeds new ideas and better solutions. A great example I have in mind is a team member who pointed out to us the value in creating our own technology solution to meet a need. This person was given the approval to build a new, internal and much-improved platform from the ground up. The result equated to meaningful cost savings as well as a more focused and greatly enhanced solution for the business. A key to this individual’s success was his desire to understand our customers’ challenges more comprehensively. He was not someone who was simply given a task, completing it as a matter of normal duties. This type of passion within a high-performance team will set it apart from others, however it must be continually cultivated and grown.
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