Brandon Zarco ’13, MBA ’19

By Allison Eatough ‘97

As a child, Brandon Zarco ’13, MBA ’19 loved to build on a blank canvas – a space where his creativity could soar.

“When I was little, I used to take every collection of Legos I had, and I would throw them on the ground,” he said. “I would throw out all the instructions, and I'd build whatever I felt like building. Houses, train tracks, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, towers, cities with just collections of Legos and no instructions whatsoever.”

Today, he’s still building on a blank canvas. But instead of creating worlds out of plastic bricks, the Miami Beach native is creating multi-million-dollar homes.

Home in Florida built by Brandon Zarco ’13, MBA ’19

Zarco is an owner’s representative for Florida-based developer Todd Michael Glaser, helping landowners construct the homes of their dreams. He is also a real estate developer for Glaser, overseeing speculative homebuilding (homes built with the goal of selling for a profit).

“Let’s say we have a two-story house with a beautiful, limestone-covered terrace with vines, and we realize we have to get a pipe installed somewhere to drain out the second-floor balcony,” he said. “I have to find a way to install it without affecting the aesthetic. That’s where the creativity comes in. I often have to think outside the box and find solutions that work within the confines of the home.”

An economics major at UMD, Zarco began his career working for a newly-formed real estate developer in Miami. 

“I knew that if I went to work with a smaller team, I would be able to wear many hats,” he said. 

Those hats included asset management, acquisitions, sales and investor relations. By 2019, after earning his MBA, he was ready to specialize in the financial side of real estate. He became a commercial real estate portfolio manager for Maryland-based EagleBank.

Brandon Zarco ’13, MBA ’19

A year later, Robert Zarco, Zarco’s father and former member of the University of Maryland Board of Trustees, began renovating a house in Miami Beach. He was introduced to Glaser and learned the real estate developer needed help expanding his business. The younger Zarco, who by then had a broad range of real estate experience, seemed like the perfect fit.

“I called (Glaser), and he said, ‘I’ve been waiting for someone who has your exact profile,’” Zarco recalled. 

Since he joined the Glaser team in February, the company has added more than a dozen new projects to its roster. Zarco said he expects that growth to continue in the coming years. 

While he attributes his real estate skills to his on-the-job experiences, he credits UMD with fostering his leadership skills. Zarco, who is engaged to Toam Rubinstein ’10,  was a founding member of Carapace, which is now known as the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC). He was also a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), Maryland Hillel and the University Senate. In recent years, he has served as a mentor for students interested in real estate development and supported the Alumni Association. 

“The university played such an integral role in my development as a person, and my experiences at Maryland have changed the trajectory of my life,” he said. “I fully believe in paying it forward and helping students who want real, honest advice and real, honest mentorship. I want to be there for them.”

He also encourages fellow alumni to give back in any way they can.

“You can change one student’s life by giving that extra donation or extra hour of time,” he said.

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