Where were you, and what were you doing in 1991?
A freshman at Tipton High School.
When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
To be in business. I thought it would be great to own my own company.
Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
My girlfriend, Shelly. She is now my wife, and she gave me confidence and encouraged me to constantly challenge myself.
Have you been mentored by (or had any significant interactions with) previous Forty Under 40 honorees?
The person who nominated me, Tom McGowan. I learned from Tom to never compromise my character or reputation.
Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
On a boat with my wife in the Mediterranean reading about one of my kids who was selected to the 2032 Forty Under 40 class.
Vice President of Finance & Capital Markets, Kite Realty Group
Wade Achenbach revealed his interest in business early in life: He sold bubblegum to his grade-school friends.
“Even then, I always thought that most decisions were centered around money,” said Achenbach, now Kite Realty Group’s vice president of finance and capital markets. “That’s why I wanted to pursue it as a career.”
So he took high school accounting classes and majored in finance and minored in economics at Indiana University, then began an investment banking career with A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. during the technology boom. There, he learned how to look at companies and value them before moving into corporate finance with Plexus Corp. in Wisconsin.
That still didn’t feel quite right, so Achenbach did some career self-counseling. He realized it’s easier to succeed if you do what you love, and since he’s a weekend do-it-yourselfer who likes working with his hands, he decided to move into the construction side of commercial real estate. He took classes at DePaul University in Chicago to prepare, then joined Kite, where he was promoted from senior analyst to vice president in four years. In two years, he led the capital markets team in financing and refinancing more than $500 million.
Now that he’s found his niche, Achenbach’s goal is to move into a strategy and decision-making role.
“That’s what drives me now,” he said. “Understanding how you build a business, how you provide leadership and direction to a company to achieve the goals you set, and how you get there.”
Outside work, he enjoys time with his wife, Shelly, and their children, ages 7, 5 and 3. He’s competed in several triathlons, and he and Shelly like to compete in mountain-bike races—when there’s time.
“We’re trying to find time to train together and/or separately,” he said. “To compete in events together is our goal this year.”•