Brian Harkin/WPN

Around the time Ray Sperring graduated from college in 1999 with degrees in finance and information systems, the IT boom was in full swing. Although Sperring's inclination toward real estate was being overshadowed by the stacks of cash being thrown at talent during the dot. com era, he nonetheless stuck to his guns, joining the Archon Development Group in Dallas, Texas, as a commercial asset manager. Sperring spent three years as an asset manager and another two with Archon as the Internet bubble expanded and ultimately burst.

Of course, one of the temporary casualties of the dot. bomb era was commercial real estate, and as the sector dried up throughout 2002, Sperring looked for a more promising real estate arena. “I looked at all of the product types and multifamily seemed the most promising,” Sperring says. “I liked the short-term leases that the properties have, and it was the most stable asset class but had the highest risk-adjusted rate of return.”

Sperring decided immediately to join Addison, Tex.-based TriVest Residential, and neither he nor the company have looked back. “Ray is tremendously loyal, works extremely hard, and is very bright and committed,” says TriVest founding partner Ron Taylor. “But more importantly, Ray understands extremely complex concepts and has been able to model those into tools that have been very valuable to us. There is tremendous capacity in what Ray can offer this business.”

Case in point: The firm's recent acquisition of distressed properties in New Orleans. At the end of May, Sperring emerged from Federal Bankruptcy Court after a six-month ordeal presenting detailed recapitalization funds for nine Chapter 11 reorganization plans. It was six months of competitive leg work in a new market with established players, but the 30-year-old Sperring duked it out and TriVest was awarded the nine Big Easy properties. Now back home in Texas, Sperring will look to fold those assets into TriVest's broadening portfolio as the company looks to ramp up acquisitions on the down side of the market. As for his move over to multifamily? “Something about it I think naturally appealed to me,” says Sperring, the company's latest partner. “And I have no regrets. The industry is absolutely still a great place to be.”