JEFF KITTLE is executive vice president and managing director of Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc., an Indianapolis-based developer and one of the largest owners of affordable housing in the country.
A partner in the firm, Kittle oversees all development activities for the company, including low-income housing tax credit and market-rate apartments.
Since joining the firm in 1998, he has developed and financed more than 6,000 apartments. Herman & Kittle owns approximately 4,000 affordable housing units.
Kittle graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor of arts degree. He also earned a master’s degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Q: How did you get started in affordable housing?
A: I got started in affordable housing as a financial analyst with the Indiana Housing Finance Authority in 1996.
Q: How are your company’s affordable housing developments changing?
A: We’re doing more urban infill developments that include public housing redevelopments. These developments generally take longer and have more sources of financing.
Q: As an affordable housing developer, what’s keeping you up at night?
A: There are many risks in our transactions, and the ones that keep me up at night seem to change year to year and deal to deal. Right now, I worry very little about lease-up and stabilization, and seem to worry more about meeting our development and construction objectives.
Q: What’s a good move that your firm recently made that others in the industry can learn from?
A: As a vertically integrated company, we used to have silos throughout our company. We have moved to “product teams,” where all disciplines in our company meet and provide input on projects from inception through stabilization. This has improved the quality of our overall developments.
Q: What’s a favorite amenity or design feature at one of your properties?
A: One of our new construction family developments had excess ground that we were able to donate to the city of Indianapolis for a park. Everyone has ended up winning through use of the park.
Q: You work in several states. When you go to a new town for the first time, is there anything special that you like to do for work or for fun?
A: I always enjoy trying local restaurants.
Q: Any tips for balancing work and home life?
A: I try to minimize use of my BlackBerry and/or wireless Internet to times when my kids are asleep. So far, I am not that successful balancing work and home life.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Successful development of a difficult deal. We face challenges all the time, and it is especially gratifying and inspiring when we get a difficult deal fully developed, built, and stabilized
.Q: If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
A: Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. Our business is so tied to the debt and equity markets, I would like to discuss with him firsthand the credit crises, how long he thinks it will last, and what remaining measures he plans on taking in order to stimulate a recovery.
Q: What don’t people know about you?
A: I decompress at night in what I call “private time.” After my kids go to bed and I get through my e-mails, I read the Indianapolis Star, Wall Street Journal, and trade magazines. It is difficult for me to go to bed without my private time.
Q: Besides the usual work papers, what’s on your desk?
A: Pictures of my family. I am happily married and have two daughters, Caroline, 5, and Lauren, 4.
Q: What’s on your iPod?
A: I listen to the CD player in my car. The selection runs the range from favorite kids songs for my girls to classical music, which helps me decompress from work on the way home.