Ken Stensby’s passion for adventure was a trait that influenced him both personally and professionally. Through strategic leadership, Stensby helped build United Properties, once a small of company of four employees, to a booming enterprise with more than $100 million net worth.
Stensby was raised in Minneapolis and graduated with a B.A. in economics from Carleton College in 1961. Upon graduation, he worked as a mortgage analyst in the Mortgage & Real Estate Department of Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, producing and underwriting commercial mortgage loans, principally in the Southeast United States.
Stensby returned to the Twin Cities in 1967 as vice president of Northland Mortgage Company – the predecessor of NorthMarq Capital – which, within a few years, became the leading commercial mortgage company in Minnesota. During that time, Stensby helped arrange the original financing on the IDS Center in Minneapolis and the refinancing for the expansion of Southdale Shopping Center in Edina.
In 1971, Stensby transferred to the related United Properties division of The Northland Company. At that time, UP was a small division and had been substantially inactive for many years. Stensby, at age 32, was authorized to develop the strategic plan and business model that led to UP becoming a leading commercial real estate development company. At the time of his retirement in 1995, UP had grown to more than $100 million in net worth, developing approximately $25 million of new projects annually and employing more than 200 professionals.
Stensby was a leader and member of many real estate professional associations. He served as national director for several terms of the National Association of Industrial & Office Parks (NAIOP), as well as the president in 1986. One of his proudest accomplishments was the initiation of the Community Enhancement Program, which has generated millions of dollars for beneficiaries such as the CornerHouse Child Abuse Evaluation Center in Minneapolis.
In addition to his many professional accomplishments, Stensby was active in athletics and outdoor adventures. He enjoyed cycling, sailing and long-distance running. He participated in several week-long bike rides for charity, sailed between the British Virgin Islands and the Mediterranean, and completed five marathons including Boston and London.
Truly a man with a passion and zest for life, Stensby’s many accomplishments leave a lasting impact.