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You were genuinely surprised to be named Executive of the Year. How did it feel when they called your name? I was totally surprised. My team was aware


I had won and decided to make it a surprise. They did a great job. I was humbled by the recognition.


What made you decide to start your own management company? How has it changed your perception of “work”? I realized in 2004 that to have financial free-


dom, I needed to become an owner. I set my sights on becoming a property owner. I became a property owner in 2009 and start- ed Celtic as a vehicle to manage the proper- ties I have an ownership in. Since that time, we have branched out into third-party man- agement for other owners.


What does a typical day entail for you? What is the best part of your day? There really is no “typical” day. I focus on


ways to better the performance of the assets we manage, I look for opportunities to expand our portfolio, and I enjoy talking with other people in the industry. Morning is my favorite part of the day.


You’re known for turning around distressed properties. What draws you to them? The challenge of turning around a property


that is struggling is very rewarding. The results/rewards usually come quickly and are very measurable. There is a pride when peo- ple refer to the accomplishments we have achieved, such as, “It used to be a bad place, but not anymore.”


As you work with new property owners, what wisdom do you pass on to them about the multifamily industry to help them oper- ate successful properties in Houston? I try to share my personal experience with them about pitfalls that I encountered and hopefully guide them around those. When I first moved to Houston in 1998, I knew sev- eral of the local leaders through TAA. They welcomed me and told me to call them if I needed anything. I took them up on that offer and it helped me immensely. I remem- ber that people like Stacy Hunt, David Hargrove, Beth Van Winkle, Jerry Winograd and Del Walmsley, to name a few, were read- ily available to help me. I try to emulate the example they set and be available to anyone in our industry that is looking for help.


What advice do you give to other multifamily professionals about going into third-party management? Realize that you are a service supplier to


the property owner and that you must make decisions based on their goals and objectives, not yours. It is simpler – not necessarily easier – to manage a property that you personally have ownership in.


You are a longtime supporter of HAA, TAA and NAA. Why is this important to you personally as well as to the industry? Curtis Haines (Vende Capital) summed it


up best when he first got involved at HAA: “I didn’t realize there were so many local, state and federal governments and agencies trying to do things that have such a large impact on our businesses.” Our associations advocate and educate.


I believe we all have an obligation to be educated in how best to operate our busi- nesses and advocate for minimal regulation and taxation.


You’ve been called a mentor by many of your employees. How does that make you feel, and why is it an important part of your work? It feels great to be considered a mentor.


I have had the good fortune over the course of my career to have people cross my path who took the interest and time to mentor me. I try to do the same. Educated employees and team members make better decisions.


Lastly, how did you decide on the name of your company? To honor my Irish heritage. My grandpar-


ents immigrated from Ireland just prior to 1920. My family fought for Irish independ- ence, and my great uncle was jailed for the cause. I still have family in Cork (second cousins) and love to go back every chance I get.


John Ridgway’s consistent support of prop- erties, employees and the association have made him an invaluable asset to the indus- try. His talent for mentoring the next gener- ation of industry professionals and effectively managing properties across the Houston area ensure that he will continue to benefit the industry at all levels.


ABODE AUGUST 2012 55


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