Alumni Spotlight: Kirk Cartozian MRED, MBA ’05
For Kirk Cartozian, a graduate degree from SPPD complemented an already exceptional professional career. For someone with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, SPPD’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies supplemented his aspirations and helped him to combine his various interests.
Cartozian’s exposure to the prospect of working in government occurred in Washington, D.C., in 1994. At that time, he served as an intern for then-Congressman Steve Horn (Long Beach, Calif.) while still an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. Cartozian went on to be an elected official himself, serving his hometown of Downey, Calif., as both mayor and a city councilman from 2000 to 2008. Furthermore, he was chairman of the Orangeline High-Speed Maglev Authority and worked as a senior associate for Curt Pringle and Associates (Curt Pringle is the current mayor of Anaheim, Calif.), while still enrolled at USC.
Considering his extensive professional accomplishments, it is no surprise that Cartozian pursued both an MBA and MRED degree during his time as a USC graduate student — a combination that perfectly complemented his dual interest in public and private sector work.
“[The programs] provided me with a balanced public/private perspective to better understand the private developer’s objectives, goals and requirements,” he said.
Cartozian used the combined lessons of his academic and professional experiences to form his own real estate services company. As founder and owner of Cartozian Associates Real Estate, Inc., Cartozian serves as a government liaison for his clients, who are generally interested in purchasing or developing real estate assets. His ability to offset consulting service fees into his broker services is a value-add for clients.
A broad understanding of public-sector issues provides Cartozian with a unique perspective that serves both him and his clients well.
“Once an elected official, always an elected official,” says Cartozian — a statement that testifies to his steadfast dedication to societal improvement.
While the immediate beneficiaries of his guidance have changed, Cartozian remains devoted to providing those he helps with the best possible services.
On the relationship between his former work in the public sector and his current position, Cartozian said, “My service in the public sector was always aimed at the greater societal betterment. As a broker and consultant, I still carry with me the same requirements. Instead of imposing these requirements through policy, I now assist clients in meeting these requirements.”
SPPD helped Cartozian find the interrelation of his various interests and translate it into a career that allows him to pursue his passions. “SPPD is the very best educator for city leadership careers and the very best facilitator to those careers,” he said.
About the MRED program specifically, Cartozian added, “From financial models to design, density and permitting requirements, I was provided with the most critical decision-making components of real estate transactions.”
One of the aspects of SPPD Cartozian found most aligned with his interests and professional aspirations was exposure to different facets of public service. “The SPPD umbrella affords students the opportunity to interact and learn across the most comprehensive interdisciplinary studies,” he said.
By providing the setting for him to develop his interests, SPPD played a valuable role in Cartozian’s professional life.
Cartozian generously gives back to the SPPD community through his role as the new president of the SPPD Alumni Association Board of Directors. As the representative voice of the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs, Cartozian serves as the main advocate for all SPPD alumni. This role entails advising the school and SPPD Dean Jack Knott on the alumni perspective as well as organizing programs ranging from community service initiatives to homecoming festivities. It is a position that necessitates personal determination and steadfast commitment, qualities that Cartozian exhibits to an exceptional extent.