Ron Bowden, S.E.C., CCIM

Ron BowdenMr. Ronald J. Bowden was born the day after Christmas, December 26, 1951, in Alturus, California. He grew up in Yreka, California. Ron attended George Fox College and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Economics.

Ron was the middle child of three. His sister is two years older than Ron, and is a rancher in Canby, California. His brother is 11 years younger, lives in Detroit, and worked as a sales and inventory control specialist for a construction hardware distributor. His brother Rob now owns the company. His mother Juanita, and his father Joe, are retired.

Upon graduation from college, Ron went to work for United States National Bank of Oregon. Unknown to him this experience would give him insight and credibility to later work for lenders assisting them on their REO properties.

Ron obtained his real estate license in 1979 while working as a money raiser for a company that provided venture funds on real estate projects. During this time and through an unfortunate chain of events, Ron found himself the Senior Vice-President and partner of a development company which had over 1,000 single family lots, in excess of 100,000 square feet of office space, and a mobile home park under development. Again, this provided valuable experience for the future.

When the Oregon real estate market crashed in 1979, Ron began working with lenders on workouts on the various projects owned by the development company.

This effort eventually led Ron to go inside as Senior Vice-President in charge of REO and workouts at Citizens Savings and Loan Association, in Salem, Oregon. His efforts with Citizens eventually led him to a similar position as Vice-President and broker for Nationwide Real Estate Services, a subsidiary of Far West Federal Savings Bank in Portland, Oregon. There, Ron was responsible for disposing of over $100,000,000 in real estate. In this position, he was able to educate the bank from the inside about creative real estate transactions, and having someone inside the bank representing their interests. As “Mr. Inside”, Ron Bowden sat directly on the Problem Loan Committee. Consequently, he could go directly to the Board with his ideas and transactions.

Ron’s primary hobby is his family. He takes his son Kimball, to Portland Trailblazers games. Also, Ron almost always enjoys a good round of golf.

Mr. Bowden’s real estate practice is primarily as a Buyer’s Broker. Working mostly on “Starker” tax deferred exchange transactions, he invests about 70% of his practice in this area. Another 15% of his work is as a principal, a growing interest. The remaining 15% is dedicated to the note buying business.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, beginning in his first year in the business winning the Oregon Commercial Investment Division (CID) Exchange of the Year Award for 1982. He was also co-recipient for the Exchange of the Year for NCE in 1984. He won the Client Service Award in 1994 from NCE.

Ron has been awarded all three of the most prestigious awards given by the Society, a feat accomplished by just two other members in the history of the Society. He won the Yvonne Nasch Award for the most volume with other members of the Society in 1990, 1994, and 1995; he was named Counselor of the Year in 1999; and he won the Clifford Weaver Award, for the most creative transaction, in 2003.

Not only does Ron hold the S.E.C. designation, but he also has the Certified Commercial Investment member (CCIM) designation, and is a “Gold Card” holder in the National Council of Exchangors.

Other acknowledgments include a listing in the 1979-80 Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and recognition as one of the “Outstanding Young Men in America” in 1979-80.

Ron’s business goal over the next 10 years is to find the right mix between brokerage and a principal role. Discovering how to make that transition is an on-going inquiry.

One of the more memorable moments for Ron as an S.E.C. was presenting the prestigious S.E.C. Counselor of the Year Award to Bob Zink, a close friend and mentor. Ron was honored that he was the first non-recipient of the award ever to be asked to present it.

The most memorable transaction with the S.E.C. was as a candidate and cooperating broker on the successful completion of a $24 million exchange transaction consisting of over 20 properties in 4 states, most of which were REO, over a 4-month period from start to finish. This transaction allowed Bob Zink to be awarded the Cliff Weaver Award for the most creative exchange for the year.

One of his worst moments in the real estate business was his first investment – a highly leveraged condo on Mt. Hood. Considering that he hardly ever used the condo, Ron calculated his effective cost of ownership as about $2,000 per day of actual use.

Ron’s over-riding philosophy in life is “what goes around, comes around.” This is evident in his commitment to the best interests of his clients and his commitment to the Society.

Ron’s hard luck philosophy for success in business is 1) to talk with others about their failures and successes so as to learn from their experience and 2) to avoid doing things too fast. He says that you’ve always got to do your homework … and do it right.

“Even when you do your homework” Bowden says, “you can still miss something. Regulatory issues at all levels of government, for example, limit your capacity to exert control. But doing your homework and working in the best interest of the client always improves the odds of success.”

This article was originally written in 1995. Since then, Ron’s son Kimball is now 22, 6’5″ and 300 pounds. He is a junior at Montana State, having played football for the 2002 Big Sky Champions. Alexis, his daughter, is 19 and a sophomore at Purdue University studying Interior Architecture while also developing her interest in art (numerous pieces that fuel her father’s pride).

His wife of 29 years, Ginia, and he moved to Indiana in 2002 to join forces with his friend and fellow S.E.C. member, Larry Browning. While having been partners for years in various property investments, they formalized their partnership in Evergreen Investment Corp.

Editor’s Note: This biography was written by Chuck Sutherland, S.E.C.

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