EAGLE, IDAHO—During summer breaks from college, Caleb Roope built playgrounds at affordable housing developments.

It was a way to earn a little money, but, more importantly, it became his introduction to affordable housing. Each year, he returned to work for the contractor, learning a little bit more about construction and development.

Today, Roope is president and CEO of the fast-growing The Pacific Cos., which delivers about 10 new affordable housing developments a year, making it one of the most active developers in the West. The firm owns approximately 85 properties.

The 39-year-old enjoys the problemsolving aspects of his work. Battling for the necessary financing to build affordable housing also suits his competitive nature.

While growing up near Yosemite National Park, Roope wrestled and played football and baseball, for which he was honored as the California state scholar– athlete in 1989.

After graduating from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California with a degree in accounting, he went to work full-time for his summer employer, rising to vice president at Koa Development.

He then worked as a project manager for Affordable Housing Development Corp. in Clovis, Calif.

Commitment to growth

In 1998, Roope moved to Idaho to rejoin and partner with his former boss, who had relocated there. When his partner retired a few years later, Roope bought out the partnership and formed The Pacific Cos.

At the time, the company had a portfolio of eight properties and was developing about four projects a year. But Roope was committed to growth.

“He has greatly expanded the company and made it his own successful enterprise,” says Ronne Thielen, managing director at Centerline Capital Group. “I have great respect for his business acumen, his interest in sound public policy as it applies to the low-income housing tax credit program, and his sincere desire to help those in need of housing to stabilize their lives.”

The Pacific Cos. stands out from many other affordable housing firms because it has assembled different disciplines of the business—architecture, construction, and development—under one roof.

The firm is also self-insuring. It's part of a captive insurance company that provides general liability and workers' compensation for its construction employees. This approach helps lower insurance costs and produces a greater degree of oversight along with standardized insurance coverage for every trade, according to Roope.

In a new move, the 40-member firm has begun developing charter schools. It recently completed its first school in Arizona and is looking to develop several more.

“We're committed to affordable housing first and foremost, but we've been able to take our skills to another industry using some of our models,” says Roope.

He has been involved with various industry groups, including the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association and the California Council for Affordable Housing.

He has also been involved in his community, supporting the Boise Rescue Mission and Ride For Joy, a therapeutic horseback riding program for people with special needs.

Roope and his wife, Andrea, have three young daughters, Georgia and twins Simone and Parker.