Finance & Commerce Minnesota Icon: George Sherman

The Twin Cities would be a different place if George Sherman had decided to stay a biochemist. A few years after his graduation from the U of M with a degree in biochemistry, Sherman realized his future was in real estate and changed careers.

Since then, his company, Sherman Associates, has built a portfolio of $5 billion, including four hotels, more than 8,000 apartment units, and 600,000 square feet of commercial space. The company still manages $2 billion of it, including the iconic Riverside Plaza in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Sherman led major renovations to the high-profile housing complex in 2011.


What professional achievement are you most proud of?

The women’s shelter in Hastings that serves Dakota County; I’m really proud of the impact it has on reducing domestic violence. But that’s not the only one. The NorShor Theatre in Duluth, 800 Broadway in north Minneapolis … the ones I’m proudest of give back to the community. You’re on Earth for a short time and you should give back more than you get.

What’s the best advice you have for someone following in your footsteps?

What you study in college isn’t necessarily your path. You’re not going to walk away from college with a career; the important thing is to learn how to learn.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I run, ski and bike, and I love traveling. And I serve on nonprofit boards; that’s what you do when you become 65. People look to you for advice even when you don’t have any!

What’s the deal that got away?

I keep a list of deals that get away, but I’m also so grateful for the ones I did get. I keep a list to learn from what goes wrong. I don’t dwell on it, but I want to learn what I can.

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