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Washington, D.C.

Is commercial real estate a jock-magnet? As nominations poured in for our "35 Under 35," we’ve been startled by some of the amazing backgrounds.

Take Ryan Wade, 34, a partner at DC-based developer MRP Realty.


Less than 10 years ago, Ryan (above) was arguably the world’s best lacrosse player—on the USA national team that won world titles in both 1994 and 1998. More than that, he was named MVP of the ’98 title game, said by many to be one of the best matches ever played. A mid-fielder atNorth Carolina 1991-4, he was two-time ACC player of the year and on teams that won four ACC championships. They won the national college championship in ‘91, and lost it in ’93 with just eight seconds left. He was named an All-Americans three years, and NCAA national Midfielder of the Year.

"I have probably hired close to 100 people in the last 20 years, including some very senior people," says veteran Bob Murphy, MRP’s co-founder. "Without a doubt, he is the best I have worked with, which is why I asked him to be my partner 2 years ago at a young age."


Now Ryan spends his days acquiring land and raising money on projects ranging from a 250,000 SF 14 story building in Carlyle to 60 acres for mixed use in Loudoun. At the moment, he’s in overdrive planning for a 500,000 SF trophy building at the corner of the Beltway and Toll Road on eight acres MRP and partner Rockpoint bought from Gannett.

Other lacrosse stars dot the Washington real estate landscape. Matt Ward, 24, a GVA Advantis broker, was considered the country’s best college player as team captain at Virginia, which won two national championships.

What lessons does an elite athlete bring to the job?

"I believe that the hardest working team comes out on top, just like in lacrosse," Ryan told us over lunch at Legal Seafoods.

And: "When I look back I don’t think about the games or the awards. The things I remember most are the relationships I had with my teammates, and how hard we worked to be the best. In some ways they were a lot like the relationships I have now in the real estate community."

Ryan’s not kidding. Everyday, he and a few other MRP guys are at their desk before 7 and head to Gold’s Gym next to their offices in Dupont Circle to lift for an hour or so.

Apparently this crew doesn’t believe in an off-season. "To be honest," says Ryan, "I would rather be working than doing anything else. I don’t even own a lacrosse stick anymore."