Jimmy Silverwood figures he was born into the business he will take over as president of Affirmed Housing.
Silverwood’s father started the company in 1992.
“I grew up on tractors at job sites,” Silverwood said. “I spent a lot of time in my father’s office throughout the years.”
Silverwood in May was promoted to president of the San Diego company, which builds affordable housing apartment projects throughout California and is one of the largest affordable housing developers in San Diego County.
“For me, it was a little natural. It’s a family company, family business,” Silverwood said. “My father is one of my greatest role models.”
His father, Jim Silverwood, will continue as CEO of Affirmed Housing when Jimmy Silverwood officially takes over as president in June.
A 2010 graduate of the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration, Silverwood ‘s first job out of college was as a project engineer and estimator with Turner Construction.
He moved over to Affirmed Housing in 2013, where he was executive vice president before being promoted to president.
One of his first jobs with Turner Construction was working on a new baseball stadium for the University of San Diego, a project that he said took eight months from start to finish.
“I got like a crash course in eight months working on site, working with subcontractors,” Silverwood said.
As much as he liked working for Turner Construction, “in the back of my mind, I thought I would like to work with my father,” Silverwood said.
Math was Silverwood’s favorite subject at Torrey Pines High School, which translated well to his work at Affirmed Housing.
“I remember getting this teacher, he would be writing on the white board and finally, he would get to the answer and his eyes would light up,” Silverwood said. Silverwood got the same feeling putting deals together for Affirmed Housing.
“I liked getting a deal to pencil out,” Silverwood said.
What makes Silverwood special is that he looks beyond the numbers to the effect he has on people’s lives, said Carmen Vann, regional project executive of BNBuilders.
“Jimmy’s really focused on putting forward quality affordable housing, housing that occupants can be proud of that also gives them a sense of equity,” Vann said, with apartments that have the same finishes and amenities that go into market rate housing.
“He cares about the properties, he cares about the people that he is providing with access to affordable housing and access to services,” Vann said.
Claudia Escala, president of Carrier Johnson + CULTURE architects, said that Silverwood takes care to learn about the community where he’s building a project and takes the time to meet with community members.
For example, Escala said that a $35 million affordable housing project that Affirmed Housing was building in East Village – Link – initially ran into strong opposition.
“There was community concern just in terms of the quantity of permanent supportive housing projects that were coming into the neighborhood,” Escala said. “We got them to feel good about the project. Now that the project is built, you can see his vision really brought to life.”
Silverwood said he thinks that it’s critical to work with the community in designing a project.
“We do outreach on every single project,” Silverwood said. “We think we definitely owe it to the communities that we serve.”
Carrier Johnson was the architect on Link and Escala said Silverwood “looks at us as real partners in the process. We just have a great collaboration.”
Silverwood said the two most satisfying aspects of his job are “seeing our staff thrive and what they do day in and day out, watching people in different jobs” and meeting the people who move into the projects that Affirmed Housing has builds.
“Everybody’s human and they go through aspects in their lives, a lot of things are out of their control,” Silverwood said, adding that “maybe they were in the street or living in their car.”
“To be able to provide them that (housing) option is the most satisfying thing that we do,” he said.
Silverwood said that attitudes toward affordable housing projects have changed in his time with Affirmed Housing and people aren’t as ready to object to affordable housing projects in their neighborhood.
“There’s been a growing awareness of the homelessness crisis and the need for affordable housing,” Silverwood said. “It’s way more relatable now.”
CEO: Jim Silverwood
President: Jimmy Silverwood
Headquarters: Sabre Springs
Notable: Since 1992, Affirmed Housing has financed more than $2.5 billion in affordable housing projects and has more than 5,500 apartments developed or under development in 70 communities.