Stephen Morton/WPN

Eric Garrett's first job out of college offered a crash course in the art of the real estate deal. The gig? A commercial lender at Old National Bank, a mid-sized regional bank in Indiana. “I was a junior loan officer, and my first job was to underwrite a shopping center,” Garrett recalls. “At closing, the Marcus & Millichap broker on the deal got a paycheck that was four times what I was making in a year, and I quickly realized I was on the wrong side of the transaction.”

It wasn't long before Garrett was working at Marcus & Millichap in Chicago, selling apartment complexes and being tested on a zero income, 100 percent commission job. “You learn a lot in that atmosphere,” he says. “I would not pass up that experience of getting my teeth kicked in for anything.”

Cold calling brought him in contact with SC Bodner Co. president Steve Bodner, and the two quickly developed a repartee working together on several deals for the Indianapolis-based multifamily firm. “He sat down with me after our third close and said he wanted to take his footprint national—and would I consider being a development director. I was 25,” Garrett says.

More than 1,500 multifamily units later, SC Bodner is making inroads toward that goal. And Bodner says Garrett—now director of business development—has been instrumental in that regard. “Eric is very organized, systematic, logical, self-starting, and independent,” Bodner says. “You give him something, and he flies with it.”

Indeed, SC Bodner's development pipeline is flying high—Garrett has set a development goal of 3,000 units for 2008. “And you know what?” says the 30-year-old Up and Comer, “I'm willing to bet that we are going to make it.”