Communication faculty members often remind students how the skills they learn in a speech or media writing class are transferable in the “real world” – skills that can be used in many other industries. One UT Arlington alumnus is living proof.
Anthony Wonderly (’99) of Fort Worth holds a degree in speech communication, but rarely writes speeches or studies rhetoric. Instead, the California native uses his communications skills to run a multi-million dollar real estate management firm, Olympus Property.
“My liberal arts degree has helped me effectively operate our company and has given me the ability to have meaningful and effective conversation in my daily business endeavors. Being able to properly and effectively communicate is the cornerstone to every good relationship, from conversations with my team, residents, vendors or members of Congress being able to communicate your thoughts is paramount” said Wonderly. “I sit on several state and national boards and frequently I have to speak in front of varying sized groups from a few dozen people to sometimes a thousand or more. My degree from UT Arlington has given me the confidence I need to clearly communicate my intended message.”
Wonderly began his real estate career in the early 1990s when he has his brother invested in a triplex in their hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. A few years later, he and childhood friend, another UTA graduate Jeff Barber (’99), moved out to Texas and began attending classes at UT Arlington. Wonderly credits discovering his career and motivation to UTA faculty members like former Department of Communication chair Karin McCallum.
“As a young kid, you don’t know what you want to do,” he said, “and she helped straighten me out. She got me on the right path.”
Following graduation, Wonderly and his brother continued to expand their real estate holdings. In 2002, they sold 90 percent of their California portfolio and began investing in multi-family properties in Arlington and the surrounding Metroplex. Within a few years they owned more than 11,000 units and moved from a small back office in an apartment complex to a spacious facility in Pantego. Seven years later, Olympus Property owns more than $1 billion in properties in nine states and operates out a stylish corner of The Towers, a high-rise in the heart of downtown Fort Worth.
Wonderly is proud of his approach to managing multi-family properties, endeavoring to create homes for families. He’s a stickler for details, committed to including higher quality items in the apartments Olympus buys. Olympus often renovates their properties to achieve these higher standards of living for the properties they manage.
Wonderly is also committed to creating communities for residents as well as his staff. He hosts pool parties and family festivals in Arizona and brought food trucks to a resident celebration in south Dallas, to name just a few. He personally visits every property Olympus buys, working to instill those same values and work ethics in his employees.
Wonderly is also passionate about UT Arlington and giving back. The Olympus Properties staff includes several Mavericks alumni and students, and Wonderly regularly points his real estate peers to UTA as a source for talent, knowledgeable professionals.
Not bad for a young man who stuttered and stumbled his way through his first speech assignment so many years ago.
“I really enjoyed my communication classes and felt that they were preparing me for the real world,” said Wonderly. “Even as a young UTA student I could see the value of learning to properly communicate and articulate. I thought at the time ‘I will need this in my future’ and I certainly have. My communication degree has been a defining tool in the development and success of my career”
About the College of Liberal Arts
The College of Liberal Arts at UT Arlington serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in 26 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs. National accreditation includes the Department of Art & Art History through the National Association of Schools of Art & Design and the Department of Music through the National Association of Schools of Music. The College of Liberal Arts employs more than 300 faculty across 12 departments; faculty awards for research and creative activity include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pulitzer Prize nominations, a winner of La Cruz Andina de Oro [Andean Golden Cross] from the Bolivian Government, and multiple awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About UT Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 50,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.