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My Journey From the Military to Land Realty

August 23, 2022

My National Land story starts at Ft. Knox Kentucky. I was about a year from graduating from the University of Missouri’s Ag. School and was spending my summer at an ROTC course that prepares officer candidates for commissioning and their careers after school. At that point, selling land for a living was just a dream, and nothing more.

As luck would have it, I met another young guy who had worked for NLR in an internship role the previous year. Over the course of a few months, we talked a lot about the land business and National Land Realty’s rapid expansion in the midwest. As soon as I returned back home I started figuring out how I could make it happen. I spent my last year of school obtaining my real estate license and getting the process started with Logan Eaton, our VP of Sales.

I wanted to have a professional career that meshed well with my military career in the Missouri National Guard. I needed a job with flexibility that allowed me to wear a few different hats at all times. Additionally, I dreamed of a job that allowed me to be outside and take on new challenges on a daily basis. For all of these reasons, I needed a firm like National Land that provides the highest level of support on the ground. 

As a college student, I faced a lot of decisions on how I needed to start my professional career. I struggled to make the most feasible decision for my young family. Obviously, a career in real estate does not offer the same blanket as a traditional 9-5 job would. I wanted to make a long-term decision that would work for both my family and my military career. 

I’ve always been scared of the boring, monotonous, low-drag career/lifestyle. I needed a role that challenged me, but also enabled me to have fun and enjoy the work I do. 

My turning point came about a year into my professional career. While it was providing steady income, I was working in one of those boring, monotonous, low-drag type positions for a large agricultural company. All the while, I was selling land part-time and still keeping up with my role in the National Guard. I knew I was not happy working a traditional 9-5 office job, and my friends/family could see I needed something more professional. 

Back to the military side- about a year into my career, I had to go back to Fort Leonard Wood for about six months of training. I knew in my head the day I left my traditional 9-5 that I would never be back. While I was away, my wife and I made a plan for me to start working for National Land Realty full-time when I completed that stint of training. 

A full-time career selling land does not come with the comfort of a steady income. This was, and still is, a sink or swim type industry. However, this means that you get out exactly what you put in. I was also relatively young for the land business and I needed to quickly earn the respect of my customers and clients. 

I remember telling myself that if I can make it six months in the industry working full time, I’d keep pushing on. Looking back, those six months played a key role in getting me to where I am at today. I quickly learned how to show up and execute to the best of my ability. I learned to leverage the tools that National Land provides to help get listings and close deals. I also learned so much more about the land business in Missouri and have made some excellent friends along the way. 

NLR’s tool set, along with a lot of hard work, allowed me to have the career I always dreamed of. Furthermore, their backing has enabled me to start my own brokerage in both Missouri and Illinois. While I am still learning every single day, I’m confident that I joined the best land brokerage in the country. We are now geared for tremendous growth in Missouri and Illinois over the next few years. 

I have a career and a company that I can 100% be proud of and I’m confident that we are doing things now to help us be more successful in the future. As a younger land broker, the future is extremely important. Whether it be GIS mapping, online auctions, high-end marketing, or simple admin changes, National Land is deeply investing in agents today so that the company can be strong for years to come. I also have the support that allows me to spend time with family, enjoy the outdoors, and execute in my position in the National Guard.

Through all of this, I now have a career making way more than I did at the steady 9-5 job. More importantly, the potential of this company is limitless. I feel that I’m in a tremendous position to grow exponentially in our market over the next 3-5 years. Moreover, I have the assistance needed to grow a team of quality land professionals to help us get the job done. I couldn’t be more excited about where we are headed. 

My fears of the boring job are now behind me. I will say, I certainly work more hours as a Land Broker, but I enjoy every minute of it. Each day comes with a new and exciting challenge. I’ll admit that some days those challenges can be scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Moreover, I’m able to spend much-needed quality time with friends and family doing the things I love to do. 

My young career is important, but not as important as my young family. Not only does National Land support its agents, but they go above and beyond to support your spouse and loved ones. My wife feels right at home with everyone in the company and that is worth its weight in gold. Both my wife and I are so excited to represent such a quality company. If you want a nationwide business where the president of the company calls and asks how the wife and kids are, NLR is the place for you. 

Whether you have 6 months or 36 years in the industry, you owe it to yourself, your career, and your family to find out how NLR can add value to your daily operation and your life as a whole. I say all the time that I am extremely lucky to have hit the bullseye on the first try. With any luck, NLR will be my first and last career change. 

About the Author
Alec Wardenburg joined National Land Realty in 2019. Before joining the team, Alec previously held an ag sales role for several years with Manna Pro Animal Health. During his time there, he gained experience relating to feed sales, animal health supplements and equine/pet nutrition. Currently, he is a commodity settlement specialist with Bunge Grain Merchandising in Chesterfield, MO. He is also in the Missouri Army National Guard where he is a 2nd lieutenant in a horizontal engineering platoon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management with a minor in plant sciences and military science. As a Land Professional, Alec is eager to work hard for his clients in the Missouri area. Born and raised in the state, he has a great understanding of the types of land and resources available within different regions of Missouri. Additionally, he’s had the opportunity to travel, work and hunt/fish in most areas of his home state. Not only has this allowed him to have a better understanding of the recreational opportunities in different areas, but it has also enabled him to network with local landowners and feed/seed dealers. When Alec isn’t working, he enjoys spending time hunting waterfowl, deer and turkey hunting throughout Missouri and South Dakota, as well as crappie fishing in the spring. He currently resides in Lake Saint Louis with fiancè, Hannah and black lab, Deuce. View Alec's Listings and Reviews on