Season 2:

Episode 54

May 31, 2022

#54. Hometown Inspiration | Devin McIntyre of REDIST

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Today, I’m joined by the Product Manager at REDIST, Devin McIntyre. Devin grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and has always been inspired by the city. We discuss how Detroit has transformed into a hub for creativity and technology in the past few years, and how the hustle culture of his hometown motivated him to pursue entrepreneurship from a young age.

Before joining the REDIST team, Devin worked for a smaller DTC business, large corporations, and startups. When I asked him how he sees his career panning out, he said that he’s interested in early-stage companies and building brands from the ground up. He shares where he sees exciting opportunities within real estate these days and ways that technology can elevate the industry. Listen in to learn more about Devin and his unique perspective on the PropTech space.

About the Guest:

Devin McIntyre is a Product Manager at REDIST, which is a technology company transforming how developers capitalize their deals, specifically through public incentives. Previously, he worked at CBRE and Coldwell Banker while a student. He graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2020. While in high school in Michigan, he launched PWRDetroit. For his work, he was featured on MSNBC, Huff Post, among other news outlets.

[00:00:00]  What goes into making an iconic building in America? What are the stories and who are the people behind the next generation of architecture? If your work touches the real estate industry in any way, or you’re just curious about what goes into one of a kind cities and towns all across our country, join us on the American Building Podcast.

In season two, we learned about everything from skyscrapers to single-family homes from the famous and soon-to-be-famous designers and developers responsible. This season focuses particularly on the pandemic and how our buildings will change in response. Our sponsor is the iconic design firm, Michael Graves Architecture and Design. And now, your host award-winning architect-turned-entrepreneur, Atif Qadir, AIA.

[00:00:47] Atif Qadir: This is American Building, and I’m your host, Atif Qadir. I’m the CEO of REDIST, a technology company focused on innovative public financing for real estate projects. We are recording from the historic home of world renowned architect, Michael Graves, in Princeton, New Jersey. Check out this amazing space for yourself at the Michael Graves Architecture and Design YouTube channel. Now, let’s build something.

Today on this special episode, our guest is Devin MacIntyre. Devin is a product manager at Redis, which as you mentioned is a technology company transforming how developers capitalize their deals specifically through public incentives. Previously, he worked at CVRE and Coldwell banker while a student, he graduated from the university of Michigan’s Ross school of business in 2020, while in high school in Michigan, he launched power Detroit for his work.

He was featured on MSNBC. Huff post amongst many other news outlets. So thank you so much for being here with us Devin. So let’s get started Devin, tell us more about how you started your first business and what it was.

[00:02:03] Devin McIntyre: Yeah. Great. So I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. I’ve always been fascinated by people that owned businesses.

So back in high school, I think I was just kind of itching to start a brand or start a business. So around my sophomore junior year, I teamed up with two of my closest friends and we actually started my first company called power. Um, the idea behind power of Detroit was to create conversation pieces that could be worn on you.

So essentially we made jewelry pieces using beads from around the world, and then a portion from every sale actually went to benefit a couple of key different charities. One of our most successful lines that we ended up going to create, what’s called our power caliber collection. These were bracelets made it a shell casings from crime scenes in Detroit.

So we actually partnered with the, the caliber foundation on the. Um, took the shell casings from the crime scenes, melted them down and transformed them into a bracelet. And then for every bracelet sold, we actually use a portion of the proceeds to directly fund amnesty, buy backs across the city of Detroit, kind of the whole idea behind it was we wanted to take something of the destruction and turned it into an image of beauty.

Right? So you take shell casings and turn into a brace. It was the whole idea of. Um, people ended up wearing these and using them as a conversation piece about how we can actually go out and tackle gun violence and take some of these guns off the streets. So that was kind of my first step into business, started that when I was in high school and then moved on to university of Michigan after that to get a little bit deeper.

And I studied at Ross.

[00:03:30] Atif Qadir: That is absolutely fascinating. Earlier this season, we had urban designer on the show and a significant amount of her experience as an urban designer was with the city of New York, focusing on criminal justice and the reform of that system within New York city. So we had a chance to talk about gun violence and some of those other issues that are.

I’m present for New York in the case of Detroit and what you were looking to do with power Detroit, how did you get inspired to pursue that avenue of honorable.

[00:04:04] Devin McIntyre: Yeah. So I think the actual inspiration for power Detroit came from the city of Detroit itself. So I don’t know if any of your listeners have been to the city in the past couple of years, but it is electric.

Like it is super cool. What’s going on in the city of Detroit, you have a ton of new developments coming up. You have tons of new creatives moving to the city and it’s becoming almost this hub for creativity and technology. So just kind of seeing that transformation. Across my entire life grew up in the suburbs of Detroit.

I was super kind of just like inspired by that and wanted to get involved with it in some way. Um, so I think just seeing all these people rush to the city of Detroit, create businesses and really hustle. I think the hustle culture of Detroit is very deep. And so just tapping into that was kind of the biggest inspiration for.

[00:04:49] Atif Qadir: I think, uh, in the opportunities that I’ve had to visit Detroit, I’ve been there. I think by four or five times now is the, the size and the scale of the city. So for our listeners that might be familiar with New York and LA, which are both very large, very dense cities. It’s possible to fit both of those cities within the limits of the city of Detroit and still have extra room leftover.

I think that’s what makes Detroit particularly a unique, in my opinion, would you agree with that as well? That. Perception of Detroit being a very, very, very large city on the ground.

[00:05:22] Devin McIntyre: Oh yeah. Detroit is absolutely massive. Kind of similarly how New York has different neighborhoods, right? You have Chelsea flat art in west village.

Um, Detroit has the same kind of layout, but it’s like almost cities within cities. So instead of like a neighborhood it’s just mass, mass, mass areas that are on different areas within the.

[00:05:41] Atif Qadir: Interesting. So you mentioned having been a student at the university of Michigan, and while there you had an opportunity to work at a brick and mortar, a small business at a corporate America type job.

And now at a tech startup, how would you compare all of those different work experiences in those.

[00:06:02] Devin McIntyre: Yeah. So I think the first thing is I would have to say is I would put an asterix on the corporate America experience. So across all my different things that I’ve done, things that have been involved with, they’ve all been kind of driven by my own performance, the performance of the team.

So when I was at CVRE, I was working in advisory and transaction sales. Um, the brokers are actually paid based on commission. So it’s based on essentially. What you hunt is what you eat. And so that idea has always kind of been very deep into me going back to even my first business, the success of that was predicated on how much work I put in and what I brought to the table.

So I think I’ve always been kind of like trained in that type of an environment. And now finally, at an early stage startup, if that same type of mentality, you just have to go out there and find ways to push things forward. Um, so again, all of these different environments are quite different paper, right?

A small business that was focused on direct consumer products. I worked in real estate advisory and transaction, um, at both Seabury and Coldwell banker. And then now at the tech startup, all these environments bring a lot to the table in terms of that hustle and that energy you need to bring on a day-to-day basis.

And I think that that’s like the biggest overlap I see across all those.

[00:07:12] Atif Qadir: And then in the last role at Redis, you’re a product manager, which is a hot job that people are interested in within tech from your time at the company. So far, how would you describe what it is that a product manager.

[00:07:25] Devin McIntyre: Yeah. So I think at every company or at the idea of a product manager probably changes.

So when you’re in a larger tech company, you’re very narrowly focused on developing and shipping one feature. So that means creating an idea, testing that idea, scoping that idea, and then working with engineers to ultimately build that when you’re at a startup, which is where I’m at now, you really have to think about how that product fits into the entire landscape of the business.

So I’m responsible for looking at user feedback calls, which can then help us. Think about our new product development pipeline, working with that with our engineering team to essentially scope what can be developed and then ultimately shipping that product, treating it and working with the marketing to actually get that product out there.

So at the early stage startup out, compare a product manager, very similar to like how you’d see an entrepreneur at any small business. You’re essentially the CEO of a little product that you’re focused on and your job is to treat it and get it out there to.

[00:08:21] Atif Qadir: Awesome. And then looking out over the opportunities that you have going forward, what do you hope to accomplish and say the near term, the midterm and the longterm with.

[00:08:34] Devin McIntyre: I think that’s a great question. And I think the biggest thing is going back to kind of my background. I think anyone that’s worked at an early stage venture backed company or anyone who started their own business with high growth. Um, I think they’ll understand this, the, the rush of starting a business or bringing an idea to life is extremely addicting.

Um, so I think I just want to continue to double down in that space. I want to continue working in early stage companies, continue building brands and really. Um, what I can build in the future. So I just want to keep going full steam ahead in the current prop tech space and men now. Um, but in the future, really dive deep and just starting other early stage companies.

[00:09:13] Atif Qadir: That’s fascinating. And then from your experience in all these various sectors of the real estate industry, where do you see there being interesting opportunities for innovation within our industry?

[00:09:24] Devin McIntyre: I mean, obviously right now we’re focused on public financing and all the tax credits. So I think that’s a super interesting.

Area to kind of pursue deeper. I think the other one is zoning and trying to see if there’s ways to get better understanding of the different zoning nuances across different cities and municipalities. Um, another one that’s kind of like recently popped in my mind is being able to more closely track. Um, rental prices and lease comps across different assets in different areas.

So I’m always thinking about how, like the prop tech world can be changed. And I think that’s one of the areas I’m looking at.

[00:09:59] Atif Qadir: Awesome. And we recently had, uh, Tommy Craig who’s the. Uh, the Northeast for Heinz on the show, along with Rick cook from cook Fox architects, and both of them had mentioned they incredible amounts of demand from the developer side for innovation along the lines of sustainability.

So new equipment, new financing tools, uh, anything to help, uh, in the process of decarbonizing, uh, very large buildings in New York. And. That’s it for today. So thank you so much for joining us today on a special episode of the American building podcast, Devon, awesome danger having it. Absolutely. And listeners, if you want to hear the behind the scenes stories of how I conic buildings in our country were designed and built subscribe to this podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Google.

Anchor Stitcher or wherever you like to listen, rate and review us on iTunes to help us reach a wider audience and follow us on Instagram at American building podcast. My name is and this has been American building.

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