One issue that unites (or divides) nations is their ever-increasing energy consumption needs.
Most people don’t consider that all electrical generation technologies — whether a wind or solar farm, a geothermal facility, a gas-fired plant or any other technology — require adequate real estate assets.
SDSU graduate, John Agle (’87, real Estate), director of The Energy Group for First American Title Insurance Company, can tell you that securing real estate is a critical step in developing a successful energy project.
“We coordinate land-title search projects to identify and insure real estate interests relating to the land on which the project is to be built,” Agle said. “At any given time, we are working on projects that involve wind, solar, hydro, natural gas, geothermal, biomass and any other energy generation or storage technology.”
Agle, a native of Eden, New York, fell in love with San Diego when his family moved to Yuma, Arizona and he visited San Diego often for concerts and other social events. “Every time I drove over the mountains into the El Cajon Valley, I felt like I was visiting paradise,” Agle said.
“I wasn’t interested in living anywhere else, so I chose San Diego State because of its proximity and business school reputation.” He started off as a theatre major at SDSU, but discovered he had an aptitude for sales. Since he had experience in the title insurance business, he pursued his bachelor’s degree in real estate.
In all, Agle has spent a total of thirty-two years in the commercial title insurance industry, the last four with First American. In 2011, he was given the opportunity to create a team to focus on energy-related transactions and success has come quickly.
“In the last year, we have insured some of the largest solar facilities ever constructed, some encompassing dozens of square miles. We also insured other utility-scale geothermal, wind and solar facilities in Texas, Vermont, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii and Arizona, and a groundbreaking subterranean natural gas storage facility in Wyoming,” Agle said.
“Because of the size and nature of the transactions we insure, they tend to be extremely complex and fascinating. It’s not uncommon for a single transaction to involve mineral, water, personal property, eminent domain, lien priority and a myriad of other legal or developmental issues.”
An active Aztec
Though Agle earned his degree in 1987, he still remains active at SDSU as a board member for The Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate and says that the real estate program at SDSU offered him the education that bolstered the experience he already had in that field. “And I still use my SDSU education every day.” he said.
For today’s SDSU real estate students, Agle offers this advice: “Learn as much as possible about the industry you are about to enter, so that you can make an informed, satisfying career decision. Graduates should focus on meeting industry professionals, since those networking meetings often morph into impromptu job interviews. And once you find a position in the industry, continue to learn and make the most of the opportunity by supplying enthusiasm, dedication and intellectual focus to achieve success.”