Marc Piscotty/WPN

An undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, gave Hud Karshmer his first taste of the tech scene, which was then alive and well in the San Francisco Bay area. After receiving an MBA at Arizona State University, he found himself helming several tech start-ups, eventually ending up in Denver where his father-in-law, Stuart Heller, owned and operated Monroe Group, an early-'80s pioneer in using low-income housing tax credits to finance affordable housing projects.

Four years ago, Heller wanted a numbers-minded person to help analyze and underwrite some affordable properties. He decided to keep things in the family, enlisting Karshmer for his business acumen. The role was a perfect fit. Karshmer developed an immediate affinity and talent for the affordable deal and quickly joined the firm as a principal. “I've never met anyone that can make the numbers work as well as he can,” says Monroe Group director of operations Elizabeth Smith. “And since he is relatively new to affordable housing, he shakes it up; he asks why not do it a different way. That creativity is an amazing drive to our success.”

Success, indeed. Since joining the company in 2004, the 39-year-old Karshmer has helped grow Monroe Group from four to 23 properties, from 10 to 120 employees, and from $2 million to $20 million in annual revenues. He plans to continue doubling the business in size each year, adding assets and the talented multifamily personnel that often come with acquisitions. And he's not stopping there: This MFE Up and Comer recently formed his own not-for-profit company in order to preserve affordable housing in Denver.