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Meet the NMA team: Edward Adams

NMA regional account manager Edward Adams will be attending this year's NMA Housing Conference NMA regional account manager Edward Adams will be attending this year's NMA Housing Conference

Up next in our “Meet the Team” interview series is Edward Adams, NMA regional account manager for the western United States. Say hi to him this August at the NMA and GoSection8 Housing Conference!

Tell us about your work experience and how you got your start in the affordable housing industry.

Before got involved with affordable housing, I was the Northern California administrator of facility management services for Blue Shield of California, where I was responsible for the construction of new facilities as well as expanding, rehabilitating, and administering existing properties. In this position I directed a staff of architectural designers, coordinators, and contractors, and approved all phases of property improvement, including design, materials, space planning, leases, and contracts.

Just as my career at Blue Shield was ending, I visited a friend in Ventura, CA. The second day I was there I saw an ad in the local newspaper for the director of facilities management for the Area Housing Authority (AHA). Soon after, I underwent the interviewing process and they hired me. That was my first venture into the public sector and I saw things through a much different lens than when working for a large corporation.

Later, as AHA's chief operations officer, I used the NMA model to create the housing authority's agency plan, and that was the beginning of my association with NMA — many times I called Nan directly with questions, and always received the correct answers. This was also when I began to participate in various community and local governmental affairs activities.

After I left the AHA, I worked in Iraq as a master planner for an engineering and construction group (I'd served in the U.S. Army several years prior). This was quite interesting in as much as I was still involved in housing, but it was housing for troops and contractors and included establishing and maintaining effective garrison and transportation support for all branches of the military stationed in Iraq. I was one of the few professional staff members who wasn't an engineer, and my job was to scrutinize and analyze requests for projects, write report scenarios, and make presentations to senior military staff at the Baghdad headquarters. My housing authority experience with making the most of limited funding was tremendously helpful in this position. As I think about Iraq, it's sad to see what's happening there now.

When I came back from Iraq, I decided that I wanted to return to the affordable housing industry. I became the housing management division administrator for the city of Tucson, where I worked to implement division strategic plans and work activities to coordinate and synchronize with the housing and community development department's directions and goals. After five years in the position, I thought it might be time to "retire," but decided to change directions again. Since I had high regard for NMA, I contacted Carrol Vaughan and she directed me to John McKay and Andrew Denicola, who offered to bring me on board.

How many years have you been at NMA? How many years in the industry?

I've been with NMA for almost 18 months, although it seems much longer. I've been in the industry for a total of about 20 years.

Education credentials?

I received my B.A. in American studies and English at Youngstown State University and a master of public administration degree at California State University, Northridge. I also hold a certificate in environmental land use and planning from the University of California, Santa Barbara. My other certifications include:

  • Facilities Management Administrator, Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI)
  • Public Housing Manager, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)
  • Manager of Maintenance, National Center for Housing Management (NCHM)
  • Section 8 Management Certification (Nan McKay and Associates)
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit Property Management Certification (Novogradic and Company)

What’s one topic you’re most passionate about in the affordable housing industry?

I don't know if I would consider any topic as being my most passionate, taking into account all the things involved in our industry. But knowing that I'm part of assisting families to find affordable housing is very satisfying. I spent my middle school and high school years living on a farm, but my father lost the farm when I was entering my senior year. We moved into a rural public housing complex which was a godsend for the family. Therefore, I am quite well acquainted with the housing needs of low-income families and what government-assisted programs can provide. The situation many families find themselves in today is even worse than it was for us.

What's your favorite part about your job?

Ensuring that our clients get what they need, and assisting them through the decision-making process.

Tell us about a successful project that you had a part in.

I was involved with a community housing development organization (CHDO) that took an old motel and turned it into a great housing development for persons with special needs. It wasn't an easy process, especially layering the funding and getting the public to accept having  it in their "back yard," but we made it work to everyone's satisfaction.

Are you affiliated with any outside organizations?

Although I have no present affiliations, I've been involved with the following:

  • Volunteer with a CHDO dedicated to serving persons with disabilities
  • Serving on the staff of a federal Section 811 affordable independent living community for persons with mental disabilities
  • Serving on the staff of a nonprofit low-income housing tax credit property owner
  • Serving on a county workforce investment board youth council
  • Serving on a county community development council

Hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy the great outdoors and hunting, having been brought up in a family and region of the country where hunting is commonplace. There's presently no time for getting out as much as I'd like because of work and other responsibilities, but occasionally camping and just relaxing outdoors is fine. I'm also a supporter of and frequent visitor to my local YMCA; working out is a great stress reliever! And I also support several environmental conservation groups not related to hunting — I believe that as a society we should preserve what we have and try to reverse the damage we've done, and continue to do, to our planet.

NMA regional account manager Edward Adams will be attending the 2014 NMA and GoSection8 Housing Conference. Register online or email for more information. Winners of the 2014 NMA Housing Awards will be announced at the conference — have you submitted your entries yet?