Valbridge Employee Spotlight: S. Steven Vitale, MAI, SGA
May 26, 2021
Title: Senior Managing Director
Date: May 26, 2021
VPA Office: Milwaukee
It is crazy to believe I have been appraising commercial real estate for 30 years. After my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, I worked for a year as a commercial real estate broker (making almost $10 BIG Gs). I went back to school, earning my Masters of Science in Real Estate Appraisal and Investment Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and also interning for a developer. I then joined Arthur Andersen in Chicago, appraising all sorts of commercial properties all over the country. Later joined a smaller firm back in Milwaukee before starting Vitale Realty Advisors in 1998, which became part of Valbridge in 2013.
What is your title and what do you do at Valbridge?
I am the Senior Managing Director of the Milwaukee office, managing a great team of appraisers. I market to clients, review all appraisals, and also provide expert witness services. I appreciate the analytical and generalist side of appraisal.
How did you become a part of Valbridge?
I first became part of Valbridge back in 2011, joining as the 27th firm at a meeting in New Orleans. The positive energy of the group was incredible. Although my formal name is Salvatore, I have always gone by Steve (or Steven by my family) and grew up with lots of kids named Dave, John, Jim, and Mike. I was amazed to meet all these Valbridge people with unique names like Tripp, Burton, Guido, Laird, and our next President of the Appraisal Institute, Pledger. And everyone was as interesting as their names! And yet, every group always has to have a Todd (yeah, I’m talking about you Glidewell).
What are your specialty areas?
My office appraises all types of commercial property but is especially active with hospitality and golf properties, as well as special purpose, different types of land, and senior housing properties. We also focus on condemnation appraisals, serving both condemnors and condemnees. I recently received my SGA designation from the Society of Golf Appraisers, joining 17 other golf specialists across the country including fellow Valbridge appraisers Gerald Teel, Jim Hartman, and Terry Oetzel.
What are some of the most interesting projects you've worked on at Valbridge?
Even after 30 years, I still really enjoy inspections and fieldwork. Over the years I have been able to tour beautiful churches, huge office buildings, hospitals, large manufacturing plants, high-end hotels, and golf clubs. I like getting behind-the-scenes tours. And I always love walking large parcels of undeveloped land. We recently started a project for the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation that will include the appraisal of nearly 100 properties. New challenges every year.
What do you like most about working at Valbridge?
While the technology benefits like Datappraise, the national database, and report templates are great, it’s about the people for me. There are so many really smart and unselfish people in Valbridge that have shared their talents for the benefit of the overall firm; strong personalities but working to a shared goal. I have learned much. The collaborations and friendships are fantastic!
- I love my family! My wife Cathy is a talented potter and cook, but also does a great job as our firm’s bookkeeper and keeping me balanced.
- After coaching our two kids for many years in a variety of sports, they have now grown into wonderful young adults and we are all very close.
- Love the outdoors and am an active golfer, tennis player, fisherman, and hunter, but not necessarily that good (or bad) at any one of them.
- Coolest high school job: Ball Boy for the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Once had a Hole in One, but on a Mulligan.