“Hard work is the key to anything and everything”
What is your most notable project, deal or transaction? For projects, I had the great fortune of being part of a small team of fiercely brilliant individuals who worked on the asset management (and some would say turnaround) of one of the largest multifamily properties in the world. On the deal front, the first deal I worked on as a lender was an acquisition loan for a client who was purchasing a trophy residential building in Center City in Philadelphia. The purchase was north of $100 million. The ten minutes leading up to closing the Treasury market sold off and yields spiked. Our client was literally losing millions in loan proceeds with every basis point of movement in the Treasury. We locked the rate on the transaction and moved the deal across the line. It was terrifying but wildly exhilarating at the same time. How do you contribute to your company and / or the industry? At Lucern Capital Partners my main role consists of sourcing, acquisitions, asset management and execution of the firm’s business plan. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to sit on almost every side of the table from lending to investing to asset management. The opportunities that stand out – working in asset management improving one of the largest multifamily properties in the world, and being part of a brilliant originations team who is the best by industry and their own standard, have helped shape the course of my career and allow me to contribute to Lucern Capital Partners in an impactful and effective way. Who or what has been the strongest influence in your career? The biggest influence on my career was the financial crisis. Much like other college sophomores and juniors at that time, we were in the middle of our college careers making friends and memories when the world fell apart. I majored in Finance with aspirations of Wall Street, whether Sales & Trading or Investment Banking. Most of us, entering college, were promised great careers and high salaries if we did well. We did not have any reason to doubt this, with a roaring market and strong economy. When the financial crisis happened, there were massive layoffs and downsizing everywhere. I quickly realized that I never wanted to be in that situation, and had my goals set on being an entrepreneur, regardless of profession.What impact has social media / networking had on your career? Social media and networking has been tremendous for my career. I’ve always been extroverted (probably painfully so for close friends, colleagues and family), so networking comes naturally. Other people’s stories, challenges and advice have always been very interesting to me, and you never know who you are going to meet and how it will change the trajectory of your life. I see social media as a way to communicate in an increasingly busy world, downloading your thoughts and sharing information with others in a way that wouldn’t be humanly possible otherwise. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young executive graduating from college? It sounds cliché, but hard work is the key to anything and everything. Network and speak with everyone, you never know who you will meet and where it will lead you. When you are doing whatever job you are doing, no matter how mundane or robotic the task may seem (especially when you are the low man on the totem pole), execute the task with perfection and passion and you will be rewarded, whether with recognition, or with a work ethic and skill set that will carry you forward in your career. Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you choose the field/profession you are in today? After leaving school at the tail-end of the financial crisis, the aftermath was in full swing and opportunities that were quality were scarce. I worked as essentially a government consultant fixing failing community banks. The experience was rewarding, but the pay and the lack of meritocracy did not align with my aspirations. A big part of banking is lending, and most of what was on community bank balance sheets at that time were, now humorously, defaulted commercial real estate related securities. This fascinated me having a finance background, and I slowly began transitioning myself toward a career in real estate. Fast forward to today, and our specific focus at Lucern Capital Partners is value-add multifamily (predominately workforce housing) and opportunistic investments with high asymmetric upside. The former because structural systems in the economy and government coupled with rising land costs promote necessity of our target product, the latter because our team possesses a strong and diverse skill set, and we have the mental stamina to think through more complex transactions that other groups would rather not expend time and resources on evaluating. What was the most defining moment for you? I don’t know if you can single out any moment in 2017 as more defining or better than others, but a pretty defining moment was the day I left my job to meet the challenge of being an entrepreneur head-on. It was a bittersweet moment leaving my colleagues (and a paycheck), but the rush of pursuing my goals was too great to pass up. Almost a year later, with two amazing and supportive partners that challenge me to think differently every day, and a shared vision of the world and our path forward, our portfolio is valued at $25 million and growing. LinkedIn is my go-to choice, I find it less filled with the noise and clutter that has now come to occupy may other social media websites, and I enjoy reading about other people’s successes. If you could dine with anyone in the world dead or alive who would you choose? Dinner with George Washington.