Alumni Voices: Keith Broadnax
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TRAJECTORY?
My career started as a graduate student where I was placed as a graduate assistant with the Industry Neighborhood Council, a Community Development Corporation in Muncie. I assumed the role of interim executive director during my second year of graduate school. I then moved to Indianapolis to be the neighborhood coordinator for the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) where I learned more about how neighborhood associations and community development corporations worked together to improve their neighborhoods.
I left INHP after one and a half years and took on the role of a program officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). During my nearly nine years at LISC I learned to underwrite, residential, commercial and home ownership deals in Indianapolis, Muncie and Evansville. I left LISC to work for Cinnaire as first a low-income housing tax credit underwriter and then into my current role as senior vice president business development. I had to relocate to Cinnaire's headquarters in Lansing, Mich., as an underwriter. We expanded into Wisconsin, and I was asked to take on a business development role and move to Madison, Wis., to oversee our Wisconsin office. After nine years in Madison, I was asked to relocate back to Indianapolis to take over for a senior vice president of business development who was retiring. I have been at Cinnaire for over 20 years and have been able to grow my skills as an underwriter and originator of low-income housing tax credit equity and lending.
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT JOB ENTAIL?
My current job entails me finding opportunities for Cinnaire for low-income housing tax credit equity, lending, title services and new markets tax credits for both Illinois and Indiana. I spend a lot of time building relationships with our development community and being a connector with similar organizations working in distressed communities. I had to learn how to take my technical skills as an underwriter and combine them with the soft skills that it takes to be on the sales side of this business.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT A FAVORITE PROJECT AND WHY IT MAKES YOU PROUD.
This is easy. Dogwood Estates in Walkerton, Ind. This was a community where temporary World War II housing still existed. The streets were only 10 feet wide, so the emergency vehicles struggled to get down the streets, and the units were not fit for families to live in. The community got together and tore down the dilapidated housing and developed a brand new subdivision as lease-to-purchase single family homes. I remember talking to the developer on the phone about this development they were proposing and her telling me that I needed to come to Walkerton to see the conditions. I remember visiting the development and telling the developer that there was no way to describe these conditions over the phone. Here is a description of the development:
To see Dogwood Estates today, it’s hard to imagine the neighborhood it used to be. Located in Walkerton, a small rural town in Indiana, the neighborhood was developed by the federal government to accommodate factory workers during World War II. The homes were called Plywood Villages, built on piers with no insulation or foundations. The intention was to provide temporary housing and demolish the neighborhood after the war – that never happened.
Fast forward to 2008. The 85 families living in what is known as the West York neighborhood are paying outrageous rents for substandard housing. Due to the poor construction of the homes, utility bills are forcing most residents into a life of poverty. Some of the poorest people in the county are living in the neighborhood. Ceilings are caving. Floors have holes. The city receives over 20 calls a month for frozen pipes. The streets are so narrow, an ambulance, fire truck or emergency personnel can’t get to the homes.
The Town of Walkerton made the bold choice to find a way to tear down the neighborhood and revitalize the area. The time was right – thanks to stimulus funding, developers Steve Walters and Mitch Walters worked with the Town of Walkerton, Cinnaire, First Source Bank, the Federal Home Loan Bank, Neighborhood Development Association and others to secure a complex financing package that allowed them to tear down the existing 86 homes and develop 40 beautiful, affordable, lease-to-purchase homes on the site. Now known as Dogwood Estates, the project has provided an unprecedented impact on the small community, spurring economic development, improving the school systems and changing the lives of over 200 families.
You can read more here.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT A CAREER SIMILAR TO YOURS?
Be open to careers that may seem different from the norm. Find something that you have a passion for. I found a career that after over 30 years, I still love and enjoying doing. Be patient, humble and accept the advice and guidance from mentors. I took over our Indiana office from someone who had been my mentor for over 10 years.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BALL STATE OR CAP MEMORY TO SHARE?
I'm not sure that I have a favorite memory, but the CAP program taught me how to work hard and be open minded.