EP Award Promo

Sales pro Siedenburg doesn’t count success in assets


Doug Siedenburg jumped into the real estate business during his junior year of college, and by his senior year at Drake University, he was sometimes running abstracts around town in between two-a-day football practices. Since then, the 50-year-old Des Moines native has held leadership positions at Iowa Realty’s commercial division and Mid-America Group Ltd., and in 1998, he launched his own real estate consulting company in Clive, the Siedenburg Group. In April, Siedenburg was recognized at the Counselors of Real Estate’s midyear conference in Chicago with the James Felt Creative Counseling Award for his consulting work on one of the largest economic development transactions in Iowa’s history, the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage campus in West Des Moines. But Siedenburg credits a higher power for his accomplishments, and says relationships, not dollars and cents, define his success.

How did you get started with a career in real estate?

Somebody told me during college that I could sell. I enjoy working with people, and salespeople are “people’s people.” I had studied business and personnel management during college, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I tried real estate and found that I liked it and had some success with it.

Why did you decide to get out of residential real estate after working in it for seven years?

The thing about residential is that you work when everyone else doesn’t. My family has always been a priority, so I didn’t really like working Sundays. I also liked the business side of commercial real estate, so I kept studying and taking classes so that I could get into it.

What did you learn from working under two of Greater Des Moines’ biggest names in commercial real estate?

I’ve been coached by two of the finest real estate minds in Iowa, and it’s been a blessing. I worked for Bill (Knapp of Iowa Realty) for about nine years, and he gave me an opportunity to manage people, which I had always wanted to do, and it was really a great period in my career because we had a lot of great people on staff. My job with Marvin (Pomerantz of Mid-America) was to find new business opportunities and do consulting work for Gaylord Container Corp., a company that Marvin served on the board of. I stayed at Mid-America for about three years and I left on really great terms.

Are you now in competition with these other large companies that you worked for in the past?

In some ways, I suppose, but I don’t find myself directly in competition with a whole lot of people. I feel that I have carved out a niche that is a little bit different by being blessed with the experience and background that allows me to be creative.

What does being your own boss allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?

I can set my own priorities and work on projects with people who are like-minded. I think the independence of my company and not being tied to any other companies is an asset that I can bring to companies from a confidentiality standpoint.

One of the reasons that I am by myself as an owner right now is because I invest in a lot of philanthropic work, and you can’t really do that working under another person. I believe that God has been involved in my career from the beginning until now, and continues to be part of it. I understand that I don’t control everything that’s happening around me, and giving back as part of what I do is really important to me.

Which groups do you work most closely with?

I’m one of the investors in Wildwood Hills, which is a summer camp for inner- city kids. We teach character, teamwork and leadership based on the Judeo-Christian value system. I’m also on the board of KZZQ, the Christian radio station, and our goal is positive music. I’m also involved in my church and I also support the Greater Des Moines Partnership because I think what they do is really important to the state.

What was it like to work with Wells Fargo & Co. as it explored whether it would expand in Greater Des Moines?

To have had the opportunity of being involved in Wells Fargo was an honor and a pleasure. I was one cog in a big team of people. My role was to help them stay connected locally. It’s a great development project for Central Iowa.

Winning the James Felt Creative Counseling Award for the Wells Fargo project was surely an honor, but how do you judge your company’s success?

Real estate is very focused on dollars and cents and asset value, but all too often, we overlook the people. I believe that investing in the people and trying to achieve the client’s goal is as much a part of the process as arriving at the goal itself. You want to get to the goal of the client, but you want to do it in a way that respects people and invests in people and builds people.

Where do you see your business headed now?

Whether we’ll grow in the future or not, I don’t know. I’m not opposed to growth, but it just hasn’t seemed to be the right time. That’s a question that I’ll answer day by day. I don’t judge success based upon the size of my company, that’s for sure. I judge success by investing in the lives of others and achieving my client’s goals.

hy vee web 072423 300x250