Greg Drobot '09 (MSRE/MBA)

Alum Finds Niche in Healthcare Start-Up

Greg Drobot '09 (MSRE/MBA) In the summer of 2009, as Greg Drobot was finishing up both his Master of Science in Real Estate and Master of Business Administration degrees at USD, he had a lot on his mind about his future. Mainly, where was he going to find work, especially given the flat job market.

Fortunately for him and many of his fellow MSRE classmates that year, the final course of the MSRE program―Real Estate Capstone―had been restructured in response to the market to be more entrepreneurial-focused. Drobot took full advantage of the course by fleshing out his ideas for a company he was in the works of developing.

Drobot, 27, grew up in a family who worked in the healthcare industry in the fast-growing city of Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. As a child he was always fascinated with buildings, the development industry and how new development could change a city’s dynamic. In 2005, he double-majored in economics and philosophy at the University of Washington. Even before deciding to come to USD for graduate school, Drobot and his father, a hospital administrator, had founded a small development company in Bandon, Ore. where Greg oversaw the development of a luxury condo project.

His background began to come together when Drobot discovered a real estate gap in the healthcare industry and opened Emerald Investment Ventures in May of 2009, just before finishing his joint MSRE/MBA degree program at USD. The company partners with physicians to help them purchase their own medical office buildings. Drobot believes that most physicians have the means and desire to buy their own buildings, but lack the time and expertise to tackle the project themselves.

Drobot says that, given the job market at the time he graduated, his start-up idea was an inevitable choice. “I had little interest in healthcare, but my family is in healthcare, so I wanted to come up with a way I could use what I knew about the industry, capitalize on my connections and put a real estate angle on it.”

About 60 to 80 hours a week, Drobot is on the road meeting with brokers and doctors, looking for underutilized properties that can be turned into medical use and trying to put together deals. While it’s sometimes challenging educating medical doctors about real estate, when a deal does finally go through, Drobot finds his work incredibly rewarding and enjoys meeting interesting people and “the thrill of the hunt” along the way.

Drobot admits that launching his own company was much more challenging than he anticipated, mainly due to the political climate at the time. When he started the company, most doctors were concerned about how the Obama Health Care Plan was going to affect their practices. This year, work is picking up for him now that doctors are beginning to have more confidence in the plan and are more willing to invest in the future.