A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: Insight, principal, co-founder; chapter president

Age: 35

Tony Lesicka, newly elected president of the North Star chapter of the Appraisal Institute, is working to boost membership of the local branch of the global association for residential and commercial real estate appraisers.

The chapter, which covers Minnesota and North Dakota and parts of South Dakota and Wisconsin, has several hundred members. But totals have declined here and nationally in recent years, Lesicka said.

In hopes of countering that locally, Lesicka will continue the efforts of his predecessor, Frances Odenthal, to make real estate majors and other students aware of the profession.

“One joke is that you get paid for your opinion,” Lesicka said of property appraisal. “You do, because you’re providing an opinion of value. There’s flexibility and work-life balance. And it’s very intellectual.”

The chapter also will offer new educational opportunities to appeal to new and existing members. Some courses will be from the national organization, others “homegrown” seminars with bankers and other parallel professionals.

Lesicka co-founded St. Paul-based Insight Realty Advisors in 2013 after working as an appraiser and for companies that use appraisal services including a developer, housing lenders and banks.

In his time at Stillwater-based Central Bank, Lesicka said, the bank grew from $350 million to $1.2 billion in assets through acquisition of failed banks whose collateral he had “autopsied.”

All states require appraisers to be licensed or certified to do appraisals for federally regulated lenders. Those who become designated appraisers of the institute must meet additional education and experience requirements.

Q: How busy are appraisers now?

A: Most commercial appraisers that I know are quite busy. There is a lot of activity on that side of the world. The residential side is a little tougher in that it ebbs and flows. Most that I talk to in the North Star chapter seem to be doing OK and have more consistent workflow.

Q: Why did you leave appraising to work at other companies?

A: It was a learning tour. I got to experience what the users of appraisals need and what their businesses are like. That culminated with my time at Central Bank. That was like a learning experience on steroids.

Q: What other priorities do you have as chapter president?

A: I really want to support our government relations committee. They’re doing a lot of good work to help fine-tune some of the regulations that are here now. … I want to make sure we’re doing a lot to help our residential appraisers because they’ve been clobbered over the past few years.

Todd Nelson