Alumni Profile: Jimmy Howe ‘10
Jimmy Howe ‘10 graduated from the University of Vermont in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science Business Administration (BSBA) and a Minor in Economics. He is currently Director, Investments with Summit Real Estate Group. Jimmy joined Summit in 2019 and is involved in supporting all aspects of acquisition strategy including sourcing, underwriting, and due diligence. Prior to joining Summit, he held various positions within accounting and financial planning and analysis at Bunge North America. Jimmy’s sister, Melissa Howe O’Connor, graduated from Whitfield in 2008 and is a current Board member. His mother, Mary Howe, is a former Board Chair.
Describe how Whitfield prepared you for college (and beyond).
There are three key skills learned at Whitfield that I use today: 1) story-telling/writing, 2) presentation, and 3) problem-solving. I wrote a great deal in all of my Whitfield classes which has helped me in general when communicating my ideas and specifically when preparing new business plans and crafting a compelling, strategic story. In addition, the people, presentation, and problem-solving skills I learned while collaborating on team-based projects translated well to college and the workplace.
As a whole, Whitfield gave me a lot of freedom early on. As a result, I learned how to manage and navigate that freedom before college, which benefitted me when I was on my own for the first time in college.
What are you most thankful for from your Whitfield experience, both in and outside of the classroom?
Whitfield empowered me to be who I wanted to be. It provided me the ability to explore all subjects and extracurriculars; I didn’t have to specialize. I was allowed to choose some classes to learn what I wanted to learn while gaining a strong foundation on which I could build my conceptual understanding of material.
I’m also very thankful that my teachers invested time in me. From casual conversations to explicit instruction, my teachers cultivated relationships that allowed my classmates and me to deeply learn and grow. Furthermore, our small class sizes allowed me to form strong friendships that have lasted well beyond graduation to today. I was also able to get to know every one of my classmates, and that mattered.
What are some of your favorite Whitfield memories?
I loved Spirit Week each year, banding together as both a class and student body to celebrate Whitfield’s community. I also enjoyed the daily assemblies and student announcements. It was a time together to hear from one another, and it let everyone know that their voices and their interests were important.
What were some of your favorite classes at Whitfield? Why?
I had many favorites but my top three were Ceramics, Physics, and Economics because all three allowed me to exercise and develop my entrepreneurial and creative skill sets.
Describe your career.
After University of Vermont, I knew I wanted to be in a rotational business program so I could work on cross-functional teams and have exposure to different business units and operations to have a more holistic view of an entire company. Starting at Bunge in St. Louis in global agribusiness in a rotational accounting and finance program provided a foundation in financial statement analysis and business planning. I also had great mentors which I have come to learn is not the case for everyone.
After five years at Bunge, I decided big corporate America was not the best fit for me because I was not able to use my entrepreneurial skill set as much as I wanted. That prompted me to make a career change. I got into real estate private equity because it is a great combination of my numbers background and entrepreneurial spirit. I spent two years as an analyst learning the business and the last three years in a director role on the road sourcing new investment opportunities, developing the business plan and strategy to present to the investment committee, institutional investors, and lenders. Since I have been on the team, we have been focused on industrial real estate primarily in the southeast. I spend most of my time traveling to Georgia, the Carolinas, and, most recently, southern Virginia.
At Summit, I have been able to use my entrepreneurial skill set to identify gaps in the marketplace and meet with brokers, building owners and land owners to source investments and pitch the idea to my Summit team.
Because of all the growth in e-commerce, a major tailwind for industrial real estate, I became curious about starting a business and leveraging technology and e-commerce platforms. Most recently, I have started an e-commerce store focused on footwear. Since 2021, I have been working on a business and have traveled overseas to manufacturers. I recently got back from my first supplier's facility located in Portugal and placed my first order. I am using Shopify as my e-commerce platform for both the customer-facing front end and the back end enabling me to manage digital marketing and sales channels. On the shipping side, I am using Shipmonk which specializes in e-commerce fulfillment and fully integrates with my Shopify store. The store is called J. Harvey Co. I am starting with one style this fall/winter and have plans to add a spring/summer style or two and re-invest everything into the business to keep it growing.