Sure, Bob Faith, our 2016 Executive of the Year, is known as a competitive, compassionate leader. But some questions reveal a different side of the man. Here are five that offer a glimpse into what makes Faith tick.
MFE: If you could have a conversation with anyone in history, who would it be?
Faith: I’d love to sit down with my great-great-grandfather who emigrated from Germany to Missouri and talk to him about what was it that drove him to move thousands of miles away and carve a farm out of what was the frontier at that time, in the early 1800s. His last name was spelled “Faeth,” and he changed it to “Faith” because he was a religious man and [because] everybody kept mispronouncing the German name, and we’ve been “Faith” ever since.
MFE: What advice would you have for your 21-year-old self if you could go back in time?
Faith: I was always in such a hurry. I graduated undergrad in three years and then went straight to business school and then went straight to work. And I tell myself to remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint and to make sure you’re enjoying every single step of the way as you’re going through it. It’s all about balance.
MFE: If you could travel in time, would you go to the future or past, and why?
Faith: The future. Just think of everything our grandparents have seen in their lives. My grandparents, every Saturday, had a mule wagon they would take to town to shop; they didn’t have indoor plumbing, and a lot of the food they ate they either raised or hunted or fished. When I started in business, the big deal was a fax … . And so what’s it going to be 100 years from now? That would be very cool to see.
MFE: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Faith: Mr. Crow—his philosophy was to hire people who were genuinely nice. His philosophy was, if I get really good people whom other people like, then not only will they be working hard to be successful, but then everybody else will be working hard to help them be successful as well. I’ve always thought a lot about that. It doesn’t take very many jerks to ruin the culture of a business.
MFE: What advice would you give somebody just starting to build their multifamily portfolio?
Faith: What I always tell folks is you’ve got to dig in. You can’t delegate everything to others; you really have to understand the details of your business at a very granular level and, then, your business will start growing from there.