The writer Malcolm Gladwell has called attention to research that shows it takes an individual at least 10,000 hours of dedicated practice and hard work to excel in a field. It’s a debated figure and doesn’t apply to every domain, but the point is it takes a lot of time to become really, really good at something.
I’ll bet that Sen. Maria Cantwell, Michael Novogradac, Tony Salazar, and J. Ron Terwilliger have each logged in way more than 10,000 hours mastering their skills. Their remarkable work will be recognized as we induct the four into the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame this year at AHF Live: The Affordable Housing Developers Summit, Nov. 15–17, in Chicago.
The 2016 Hall of Fame class also shows the different sides of affordable housing. There’s Cantwell, who’s been a critical figure in Washington, D.C., writing and supporting low-income housing tax credit and other key legislation. Novogradac works with developers and other clients through his accounting and consulting firm, but he’s educated many more through his housing books and conferences. Salazar is on the front lines of developing affordable housing through his firm, McCormack Baron Salazar, which revitalizes distressed urban neighborhoods throughout the country. And although Terwilliger is best known as a market-rate developer after leading Trammell Crow for many years, he’s having a tremendous second act as a philanthropist and a policy advocate for affordable housing.
Ten-thousand hours? Not even close. These four have bypassed that mark and are still going.
One final thought:
Voters in Seattle once again passed a big housing levy to help ease the city’s housing crunch. In August, 70% of the voters backed a $290 million property-tax levy for affordable housing, twice the amount approved seven years ago. I’m not sure if there’s a “best city for affordable housing,” but Seattle voters have consistently shown their support with their wallets.