2009 is going to be a battle, so surround yourself with the people you want next to you in the foxhole. We don’t know what precise skill sets you need because every company’s needs are different. But, we can share what we have done with our firm as an example.
We have adjusted our skill set dramatically in the last year, adding some great people we have known for years. We now have expertise we did not have several years ago, because the demand for consulting services has changed dramatically.
The following individuals have joined us in the last year:
Large Loan Workouts and Portfolio Analysis
Don Walker now manages many of our largest assignments, including several loan and land portfolio valuations and construction loan workouts involving several billion dollars, by implementing his thorough knowledge of home building financials. Don ran home building at Corky McMillin Companies, a 2,000 unit/year operation, and had previously worked with John doing similar workout and portfolio analyses at KPMG from 1989 to 1995. Don is based in San Diego.
Consumer and Community Market Research
Mollie Carmichael now applies her 20 years of strategic and tactical marketing and pricing experience at Pulte, The Irvine Company, Lennar and Centex to our clients’ projects. She has managed the market research on a number of the portfolio land sales, quickly evaluating large land holdings. She has guided numerous clients into and, just as importantly, out of several transactions in the last year, and is helping builders and their equity partners maximize performance in existing communities. Mollie had been a client of ours for years and is based in Irvine.
Florida and Wall Street Expertise
Lesley Deutch now manages our Florida operations, where demand for great decision making is accelerating. She has 12 years of experience (9 in Manhattan) at Deutsche Bank, RREEF, and a condo conversion company, and has been helping many of our Wall Street clients understand the housing business in Florida and around the country. Lesley had been a subcontractor of ours for several years and is based in Palm Beach.
M&A and Geographic Knowledge
After consulting on 85 closed home builder acquisitions in almost every major market in the country over the last 18 years, Jody Kahn joined our team to spearhead our monthly survey of over 2,000 home building executives, and to consult on the inevitable industry consolidation that has yet to begin. Jody is based in New England.
Industry News, Trends, and Issues
Lisa Marquis Jackson now leads our team of analysts covering the latest industry trends and issues. She capitalizes on 16 years of experience as a reporter and editor at Big Builder and Professional Builder magazines to analyze the impact of events as they happen – from the takeover of Fannie and Freddie to the issues moving through Congress. Lisa is based in Dallas.
These great people have joined an existing team that is passionate about helping our clients make great decisions, including:
Tara Bleakley, who applies her 13 years of marketing experience in a wide variety of industries to evaluate market conditions and improve performance. She applies the wisdom that comes with achieving the highest industry marketing designation, MIRM. Tara worked with John at a prior company, has been with us since 2004 and is based in Irvine.
Steve Dutra, who drives our Information Management team and serves as the resident expert on industry data. He parlays 20 years of experience at a number of industry data firms into an unyielding drive for data integrity. Steve worked with John at a prior company and has been with us since 2005 and is based in Sacramento.
Holly Bernstein, who is responsible for Business Development and Customer Service, where she implements new initiatives that help diversify our business. Holly managed the local operations of the Urban Land Institute for 10 years, where John was very involved. Holly joined us in 2007 and is based in Irvine.
Wayne Yamano, who oversees the team that produces our monthly analytical reports designed for national firms: the Housing Industry Market Monitor and Regional Market Monitor reports. His prior experience is as a real estate research analyst at CB Richard Ellis and in portfolio management at Banc of America Securities. Wayne joined us in 2003 and is based in Irvine.
Nikki Baumgartner, who manages our pioneering demand model, helps clients determine housing demand by composition of the household, and by price-point, for all submarkets throughout the country. She parlays more than 10 years of finance and market research experience into a wide variety of consulting assignments. Nikki has been with us since 2003 and is based in San Diego.
Chris Porter, who leads the team that produces our monthly U.S. Building Market Intelligence report and our monthly reports designed for clients with local investments: the Metro Market Monitor. He capitalizes on more than 10 years of experience at Professional Builder magazine and other firms. Chris and John earned an online content award together at HousingZone.com before Chris joined us in 2005. He is based in Irvine.
I’d urge you to look again at the talent you need to succeed in 2009, and adjust your team accordingly.