Hi everyone, my name’s Jack, and today, we at Housing Diversity Corporation (HDC) are more than excited to announce that we’ve brought on our new COO, Ben Weagraff. We wanted to share some insights about Ben and what he envisions for his new role at HDC.
What was the first thing that caught your eye when you first came across HDC?
I started consulting for HDC this past spring, and from the very start, I saw a company that was doing something completely different in the real estate market. I’ve always been drawn to companies that do things differently. As I worked with Housing Diversity, I saw their intense focus on delivering the highest value project for renters, and I thought I’d found my home. Throughout my consulting career, I advised companies large and small (with varying degrees of success) to focus on their end customer. In HDC, I had found a company that was aligned with my values, a kindred spirit.
Have you been involved in real estate in other capacities?
I wrote my master’s thesis on the economic impact of vacation home ownership in rural areas. Because of this, I have been thinking about the impact that housing investment can have to drive a local community and economy for a long time. More recently, I was the senior global real estate analyst for Starbucks. In that role, I digitized all of the real estate data for the Starbucks portfolio, including rent rates, the profitability of stores, lease terms, option dates, and so much more for 23,000 Starbucks stores.
What’s one thing you’d like to bring to HDC in your new role?
I see my role as behind the scenes. HDC already has a very stable and profitable brand. I don’t see myself modifying that process much at all. My focus will be making sure the company operates efficiently– ensuring that everybody (employees, partners, investors, residents) are all on the same page.
Are you nervous about joining a fast-paced property development company?
This answer varies from day-to-day. I’ve seen the HDC track record, and I understand how fast HDC runs as a company. I had to do some soul searching and speak extensively with my wife about the commitment to running at this fast and intense level in a new industry. I’m very humbled and excited to roll up my sleeves on a goal as important as addressing the housing crisis.
In closing, are there any goals regarding what you’d like to accomplish at HDC in the future?
Housing Diversity is a fascinating company. They are already out in front of other property developers leading an “invasion of the micros” into the L.A. market. We are very bullish about the product’s potential in the next decade. I came on board because I believe HDC can deliver on perhaps one of their biggest goals – 20,000 homes in the ‘20s. More importantly, I know that I can help them get there.