While April is celebrated as Earth Month, eco-friendly development and green building practices are top of mind every day, year-round, for Draper and Kramer’s Senior Vice President of Development Gordon Ziegenhagen.

“The real estate industry has been active in efforts to promote sustainability for more than a decade and Draper and Kramer has very much embraced increasing levels of green elements in our buildings,” said Gordon. “From incorporating green roofs to purchasing locally sourced materials to using high-tech, energy-efficient building systems, we are constantly reviewing the newest technologies and trends to help reduce our carbon footprint – the latest of which is potentially using mass-timber for the building structure instead of traditional steel and concrete.”

Gordon, who has been with Draper and Kramer for 18 years, finds this shift toward sustainability to be one of the many interesting aspects of his role. Another is the fact he and his development team collaborate with people from across the entire company, including those in positions related to asset and property management, leasing, marketing, finance and accounting.  “Our ability to harness this cross-functional expertise definitely provides us with a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” noted Gordon.

Gordon Ziegenhagen speaking to a group of people while on a hard hat tour.
Gordon Ziegenhagen offering a hard hat tour of a Draper and Kramer property that he oversaw the development of.

Prior to joining Draper and Kramer – which marked a career shift for Gordon – he honed his ability to view the bigger picture with an eye on success as a management consultant. “After several years as a consultant on a partnership track, I really felt the pull to be doing something different; something more closely related to my passion for building design and construction,” he said. And while he discovered the real estate industry can be difficult to break into and there isn’t one singular career “path,” he was able to tap an industry connection to secure an interview with Draper and Kramer – and ultimately a job offer for an entry-level Development Analyst position. “It was a little hard to leave a well-established career as a management consultant and make a change, but I just loved my development job. Now it’s 18 years later and I still do!”

A photograph of Gordon Ziegenhagen with his wife and two children at the Pritzker Music Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago.
Gordon Ziegenhagen with his family at the Pritzker Music Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago.

In his free time, Gordon enjoys music and has performed both for fun and professionally in a number of groups, from rock bands to an opera company and almost anything in between. What currently keeps Gordon and his wife the busiest is various activities and travel with their two children, Jacob (11) and Zoey (8). “Unfortunately, our kids are pretty bored with the apartment buildings we’ve been developing. They wish we’d build some hotels, arcades or children’s play spaces – all things they think are much cooler than apartments!”

A portrait of Gordon Ziegenhagen.

Gordon P. Ziegenhagen, Senior Vice President, Development

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