Every deal Ernst Capital Group makes passes across his desk. And in the near decade Nick Gates has been with the firm, that’s a lot of deals. “The first opportunity I had was Ernst Capital,” said Gates, who joined the team in 2012. “I started here, and I’m still working to help us and our investors find the next good investment.” Gates was one of the firm’s first employees, and his career has grown with Ernst Capital. A native of Mitchell, he went to Dakota Wesleyan University with majors in mathematics and business. The latter led him to earn his MBA at USD immediately after graduation. “I graduated from DWU in 2010 when it was a tough time for business coming out of the Great Recession,” Gates said. “So I went and finished my MBA and applied for a host of jobs after that.”

One of them was at Ernst Capital, where he was hired as a financial analyst – but in reality became a jack-of-many-trades as one of a few employees. “I did anything from helping in HR, taking care of the trash and running financial models,” he said. “At the time, like in many small businesses, I filled in anywhere that was needed. When I started, I didn’t really know much about real estate. They don’t teach about it in college.” As Gates and the firm grew, he came to focus more on the due diligence review process, assisting with regulatory compliance, deal structuring and management of investment partnerships. “Some days I might look at three or four hours of financials; other days I might work with legal counsel to finalize operating agreements or a prospectus for investments,” he said. “I may have a closing coming up. So it’s a broad range of things related to real estate.”

He became a partner at the firm in 2015 and has spent the past 18 months helping Ernst navigate through the current low interest rate environment and strong interest from investors. “Our real estate investment opportunities have been pretty steady, and we’ve had the benefit of selling a couple assets, which has kept us busy and investors happy,” Gates said. “We’ve grown significantly over the last couple years, but we’re always looking to grow more while maintaining a responsible strategy and effective controls.” Ernst Capital has “a broad growth track” ahead, he predicted. “We’re in five or six markets within a 400-mile radius of Sioux Falls, and I see us expanding to 15 to 20 markets within 800 miles over the next 10 years,” he said. “Our goal is really to meet investor expectations. There’s a lot of capital  looking for a place to invest, and we’re fortunate to work with some great development partners who help us create those opportunities.”

When he’s not at work or on a golf course, you’ll most likely find Gates keeping busy with his wife, Jennifer, and 3-year-old Remington. “To be honest, Ernst Capital has just been a great opportunity,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow, and I really enjoy what I do putting deals together. Some of our longest deals have taken over a year to put together, and the feeling when it falls in place is just fun. Of course, not every deal comes together, but even when they don’t, it makes the next deal that much better.”

Click Here For Full Article