In May, we welcomed our new CEO, Aaron Noe, to the HPC family.  Since then, the Board, co-owners, and I have been working very closely to seamlessly pass the torch of CEO to Aaron.  Over time, Steve, Kyle, and I plan to transition into more strategic, advisory roles, but that won’t happen for a while.  We are very pleased to welcome Aaron and are excited about the layer of experience he brings to the table that we don’t have in the business world.

Aaron (center, pictured with his family) spent many years building and growing successful companies — experience that we’re confident will benefit our team, our family of investors, and our tenants.

Aaron’s experience with helping grow companies began during his time at Silver State Investments, a small, privately held fund created to acquire, renovate, and lease single-family homes.  Aaron helped Silver State Investments grow from a company that owned 50 condos to a self-managed, publicly traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust).  They eventually rebranded as American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) with over $1 billion in annual revenue.  Aaron’s work at AMH included serving as executive vice president where he was responsible for property management operations. After leaving AMH in 2019, Aaron joined Redfin to help them grow their construction services capabilities.  During his time with the company, renovation services business grew from under $3 Million in 2019 to over $80 Million in 2021.

A lot of hard knocks—and eventually, wisdom—come out of that type of involvement in growing a business.  We expect Aaron’s experience to give us an advantage over others in the competitive real estate market as we continue to scale.  Instead of just telling you all about why I’m excited to have Aaron joining the team, Aaron and I sat down to discuss his vision and the work he will be doing as our new CEO.

Greg: During the first 20 years of your professional career, you were a bit of a serial entrepreneur, building businesses in real estate investment advisory services, construction, and more.  What led you to real estate investment and related fields?

Aaron: I’ve always believed that you can change a person’s life by changing their physical environment.  Real estate and housing are an opportunity to do just that.  It is also the best way to build wealth for your family and others.  I also have always been driven towards the physical (not virtual) world, so real estate and construction were a perfect fit.

Greg: Tell me about some of the strongest influences in your career.

Aaron: Over the last 10-15 years, the strongest influence on my life was Jack Corrigan, our COO at American Homes 4 Rent (AMH).  I learned many things from Jack, but the most helpful was how to simplify complex businesses.  Most businesses have just a couple meaningful financial drivers. Jack taught me to identify them and put all your weight behind them.

Greg: What is a foundational principle you follow in business?

Aaron: It’s simple: just do the right thing regardless of the situation.  Understanding what the right thing is can be difficult; your mind is great at justifying behavior.  But at the end of the day, following that principle will yield better long-term results.

Greg: What is the first area of focus as CEO, and how does your plan for raising capital and funding future growth at HPC tie into that?

Aaron spoke of his plans to our team during our June Alignment Day event.

Aaron: My first focus is to minimize operational complexities.  It’s very natural for businesses to become exponentially more complex as they grow; however, it’s crucial to manage this complexity to stay focused on the areas that drive the most value.

The next focus will be to shorten our revenue cycle so we can continue to responsibly grow our business.  Shortening our revenue cycle will allow us to grow organically without raising much additional working capital.  On the property side, there are opportunities to raise institutional capital.  For example, Opendoor and Redfin have laid the groundwork for raising institutional capital to support iBuying [which is when companies make an offer on your home almost instantly, using data and technology to determine the value] and we can leverage these efforts.

Greg: Quality of service is extremely important to us.  Tell me what you think is key to achieving high growth without compromising service levels.

Aaron: Scaling an operationally heavy business is very difficult without good technology.  Tech is an ongoing expense—not a capital investment—so it’s important to invest very wisely.  The solution—although not perfect—is to simplify processes, hire good people, and leverage as much Software as a Service (SaaS) tech as possible.

Greg: What is the #1 thing you will contribute to HPC that you feel can have the greatest impact?

Aaron: To me, a CEO’s biggest responsibility is to be the steward of capital.  Foreseeing opportunities, risks, and trends is crucial to not only our success, but our investors’ success.  My greatest impact will come from making sure our investments and operations create value.

Greg: With that in mind, what does your 10-year vision look like and what are your first steps to getting there?

Aaron: I believe real estate is an investment, not a trade, so buying long-term value is imperative.  We’ve already done a good job identifying growth opportunities.  The shift I’d like to see in our investment strategy would be to weigh long-term growth a little more heavily than short-term returns.

Greg: What’s the most valuable message you’d like to give to our HPC family of investors today?

Aaron: Stay the course.  Like all other investments, real estate is cyclical, but over time it builds substantial wealth.  For example, in late 2010 we were buying homes at AMH that are now worth four times our acquisition cost.

Greg: We’ve touched on our family of investors, but let’s talk a little bit about your own family. You and your wife, Julie, and your two kids have lived in Las Vegas for the past 21 years but are relocating to Reno this summer. What are you most looking forward to about that?

Aaron: I think the open space and access to nature.  Las Vegas is a very convenient city and I love all the amenities, but you lose touch with nature.  Also continuing to spend quality time with my family.  A few years ago, my daughter and I bought some paint, brushes, and easels, watched a few Bob Ross videos, and started painting.  It’s great!  I’m terrible at it, and the process of painting a full canvas in 30 minutes is incredibly stressful, but the time with my daughter is priceless.

Greg: Anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?

Aaron: To close where we started, I learned from Jack to “only say enough to keep people wanting more,” so I’ll close by thanking our investors and employees for this opportunity.

What does it mean now that Aaron is taking the reins of CEO?

For the most part, my work with the company is not going to change.  Steve, Kyle, and I have played distinct roles and complemented each other’s strengths.  We love what we do; it’s a ton of fun growing this business.  The three of us will continue our current paths, working on our business segments where needed.

The only change is that we added a fantastic new team member.  Aaron’s expertise and strengths will contribute to overall business growth, making the company better for investors, our team, and our tenants.

— Greg