Housing is my passion and has been for over two decades. Those who know me often see my unbridled enthusiasm for housing – where the thought of repositioning, preservation, or any of a hundred HUD-Affordable Housing acronyms can rapidly increase both my heart and speech rate! So I am often asked why I have such a passion for housing. Well, I was born and raised in Vermont on a dairy farm, which cultured both a hard work ethic and a great love for the environment. Early days were milking cows, doing chores and when possible trout fishing. My father often said to me “You cannot catch fish beside the road”, which was his way of saying the lazy man cannot get things by wishing! So I took this axiom to heart in life. Due to economic reasons, we had to sell our farm when I was a young teenage, and my father went into the multifamily construction business. This was my first adventure in housing, pounding nails and doing construction work. A few years later, while attending Bucknell University I had a class in which we studied Thomas Malthus, the famed 18th century scholar who opined on topics of economics, politics, and demographics, often centered around over-population. Little did I know how much this class would affect me later in life.
In 1994, I started D3G as an environmental consulting firm and early on encountered an environmental process so difficult and convoluted that few wanted to understand. This was HUD! And I fondly remember thinking of my father’s comment about fishing, and that HUD would be the mountain I need to climb to be successful. So, I dove in head-first and learned HUD, housing, tax credits, and leveraged finance. D3G expanded our services to include a myriad of housing preservation consulting and we steadily grew. And all the while, my early teachings in Malthusian principals enforced my belief in quality, sustainable, and affordable housing for Americans. As population and social-economic issues expand, housing becomes more imperative than ever. So I became a self-proclaimed Housing Geek, immersing myself and our entire company into affordable housing, public housing, senior housing, homelessness prevention, housing for the disabled and most recently foster-care housing initiatives. Personal challenges and opportunities along the way, including being the parent of a special needs child, have enforced my feelings of empathy for others which continues to translate daily in the work we do and the people we serve. I give a special thank you to all the housing advocates, housing geeks and D3G clients out there, as we are all making a difference one unit at a time in this country. Take care. - RH
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