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Mary Wawro
Mary Wawro

In-House Counsel 2020: Mary Wawro

As general counsel at Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc., Mary Wawro has had what she calls a “North Star” guiding her work.

“For me, that has always been to create opportunities for challenging work for my team,” Wawro said. “On the legal side, it is important to always do your best, produce quality work and work with integrity.”

When she joined Ryan in 2002, Wawro’s small legal department oversaw the company’s land acquisitions, financings and sales. Today, with 18 employees, her department also provides counsel in construction, property management, design, building maintenance and capital markets. She also implemented insurance risk management for company construction projects.

Company North Region president Mike Ryan appreciates Wawro’s entrepreneurialism. “This talented in-house team produces very high-quality work over a significant volume at a lower-than-market cost,” he said, adding that Wawro oversaw the company adopting an electronic paperless data collection system that has streamlined administrative costs.

Currently, Wawro’s team handles about 65 real estate closings a year from across the company’s 15 U.S. offices, she said. Through her years at Ryan, that has included some of the company’s biggest projects, such as transforming the old Sears tower in south Minneapolis into the Midtown Exchange and building the Marina Heights project in Tempe, Arizona.

“I have always loved working on real estate transactions and seeing the result that it can have in the community,” said Wawro, who plans to retire in May. “It can transform areas, creating jobs and beautiful spaces for people to live and work.”

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