David Brickman sees the bigger picture; he always has.
Taking an overseas trip to pique the interest of foreign investors in the U.S. multifamily market was merely a thought for Brickman when he started working at Freddie Mac 14 years ago. Today, that’s just a small portion of his role as senior vice president of multifamily.
But Brickman, 47, recalls the gratification he felt when the first foreign-investment securitization deals were being finalized at Freddie Mac in 2009 and 2010. And it's that kind of global thinking, paired with the ability to put those ideas into action, that makes him a leader.
When he was hired in 1999, Brickman was given the opportunity to choose what part of the company to work in, and chose multifamily. “I was doing a project or two that were multifamily-related in those first few months and just immediately, it clicked,” he said.
But his feel for the industry came long before his tenure at Freddie Mac; he grew up in New York City’s rental housing market and didn’t even live in a single-family home until the year he was hired with the agency. “I watched real estate and the city get transformed…,” he said. “And I was fascinated by the way the urban landscape changed over time.”
His first year at Freddie Mac was a big one for Brickman, as the first of his three daughters was also born, in addition to the new job and house. Since then, he's climbed through the ranks at Freddie Mac to become the head of multifamily in 2011, watching the agency’s team grow from about 250 employees to more than 400 today.
The foreign investments are just one item on the extensive laundry list of contributions he’s made to the agency, including introducing the fixed-to-float suite of products; inventing and holding a patent for a new computer program that structures credit guarantee contracts; and leading the multifamily division to its largest yearly volume in the agency's history.
Putting the securitization program, dubbed the Capital Markets Execution, into place was one of the more difficult things Brickman has faced as part of the agency. “We did all of this while the world was falling apart in 2007, '08 and '09," he said. “And then, we were put into (conservatorship limbo).”
And he has continued to cope with the uncertainty of the fate of Freddie Mac because of the conservatorship each and every day. Brickman noted many of the decisions being made in the group is with the future in mind and the possibility of emerging from government regulation.
“Crazy as it seems, there have been some positives to this period of conservatorship and the uncertainty of the future…,” he said. “It’s not the sexiest stuff, but we are focused a lot of improving our processes and infrastructure so we can be as nimble and efficient and well-run as an organization as we can be.”
Lindsay Machak is an Assistant Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.