Burkhart named top UT young alumnaWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Holly Tuey
TOLEDO FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Rockets of all ages gathered for the University of Toledo’s homecoming weekend Oct. 5-7. Among them was Heidi Burkhart, who graduated in 2002 and was in town for a special honor. Burkhart was the recipient of the Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alumna award.
At 31 years old, Burkhart is an accomplished real estate professional. In 2008, she founded Dane Professional Consulting Group (Dane PCG) in New York City with her own savings. The company specializes in affordable housing brokerage and consulting.
“I was shocked to hear a lot of brokers weren’t interested in [affordable housing brokerage],” Burkhart said of her start in the industry. “It’s huge in New York.”
She began her career in real estate in 2003, and during her first year a friend introduced her to the affordable housing program. As a philanthropist, the career move was a perfect fit for Burkhart.
“It’s a beautiful thing to give back to the community,” she said.
She eventually became a senior director at Eastern Consolidated in New York, but Burkhart felt she was not getting the support she needed to expand professionally. That’s when she formed Dane PCG.
“It was scary as hell! I’m shocked to this day,” she said. “It’s hard for me to take how much I’ve done and actually see it.”
During her 10-year career, Burkhart has closed on more than 10,000 affordable housing units, with more than $1 billion in net sales. She sits on the board of directors for the Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation, and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing as well as Kids Unlimited in Toledo.
“I’m so happy to be where I’m at and able to give back to people,” she said. “I feel so blessed.”
As a volunteer with Kids Unlimited, Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank NYC and more, Burkhart said she hopes to inspire others.
Each year, UT’s Alumni Association gives three major awards to alumni: the Blue T, the Gold T and the Outstanding Young Alum award. Dan Saevig, associate vice president for alumni relations, said alumni nominate each other for the awards each year. Information is then compiled on each of the nominees, and a committee of graduates who don’t know the nominees select the winners.
“It’s a very competitive process,” Saevig said. “It’s an opportunity for us to showcase some of the great graduates we have at the University of Toledo.”
Saevig said the Outstanding Young Alum award is a combination of the Blue T and Gold T awards. Nominees must be younger than 35 and have achieved great success in their field. They must also be involved in their community.
“Heidi’s a good example of somebody who has very successfully blended a really good business career with being very involved in other not-for-profit organizations,” he said. “She’s a great example of some of the outstanding graduates coming out of University of Toledo.”
Dane PCG expanded within the past year, and Burkhart said she’s hoping to expand the brokerage into hotels and student housing in addition to affordable housing. She said her goal is to develop a sustainable income so the business can support itself.
She also has a new venture in the works. Saxon/Hart started as a blog, but is growing into a makeover site for beauty specialists to showcase their talents. The program will help cosmetology students in New York with tuition assistance.
An upcoming fundraising event in New York for Kids Unlimited is yet another example of Burkhart’s dedication to her own company motto:
“Give to live. Live to give.”