OVER THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, Ken Naylor has moved through the ranks at Miami-based Carlisle Development Group, starting as a project manager, being promoted to a senior developer and a senior vice president, and just recently being named COO.

He graduated from the University of Miami with the notion he wanted to be a developer, saying, “Having grown up in Miami, I think real estate development is in the water here.” He went to work for a luxury builder in Tennessee but decided he would rather do a job that benefits those in need. That's when he landed at Carlisle.

“We were young guys when we both got into the business together. We didn't come from a traditional affordable housing background,” says Matt Greer, Carlisle's CEO.

But Naylor's passion for creating affordable housing and his love for learning and teaching have helped to catapult him to a leadership and mentor position within the company.

“One of Ken's many strengths is he has a real love of what we do, and a real curiosity of what we do,” Greer says.

An example of Naylor's curiosity paying off was his interest in green building technology early on, says Greer. Naylor received his certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional by the U.S. Green Building Council and, in 2006, helped spearhead Florida's first LEED silver multifamily project—Tallman Pines in Deerfield Beach.

That was just the start. By 2010, he had ensured that eight new LEED-certified developments were under way.

Since his arrival at Carlisle, Naylor has helped the company grow from a small private developer in one state to a larger multilevel public-private partnership model in several states, recently opening an office in Charleston, S.C.

“We've really progressed from a private developer to more of a consulting model, in which we're helping nonprofits and municipalities achieve their goals,” Naylor says.

An example of this public-private partnership revitalizing neighborhoods is Carlisle's work with the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale. They have partnered to redevelop several sites in northwest Fort Lauderdale and have been able to put some local residents to work at the same time. The housing authority's Step-Up Apprenticeship Initiative, of which Naylor has been a leading proponent, provides a more formal education and some employment skill sets to local youths who are high school dropouts.

In addition to his work at Carlisle, Naylor serves on the Monroe County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and is a member of the Next Generation Council of the Community Partnership for Homeless.