Massey Casper

Housing Authority Executive Director

Massey Casper is a professional Housing Authority Executive, currently based in California. Massey rose through the ranks of the affordable housing industry, first working as a Financial Analyst at WinnResidential, one of the largest affordable housing property management companies in the United States. He has since worked for several community development corporations, housing authorities, and nonprofit arms of housing authorities across the United States.

Regarding education, Massey Casper completed a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island and has earned certifications from the Project Management Institute, the Massachusetts National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Members (MassNAHRO), the National Apartment Association, and NeighborWorks America. Massey is an advocate for finding common ground, seeking innovative partnerships, and forming alliances to develop and preserve affordable housing. He is passionate about being of service to socio-economically challenged residents in various communities throughout the country. He is also a strong proponent of financial literacy, which helps steer families toward home ownership and independence.

In his free time, Massey Casper enjoys volunteering, coaching soccer, and watching football.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

Working in the affordable housing industry was a choice that was put before me when I came to a fork in the road in my life about 15 years ago. The vice-president of a very large affordable housing organization reached out to me and asked for help in order to streamline their 700-unit portfolio. After some consideration, I agreed, and I’ve never looked back. I truly love working in affordable housing because it gives me a chance to answer a calling and help those in our society who most need an advocate.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day involves going through the main priorities on my task sheet and dealing with the events that occurred the evening before, as well as being of assistance to the front-line directors in case they’re having issues which they cannot find solutions for. As such, the purview of my duties is fairly wide in scope. Always having an open-door policy makes my day productive. After all, I’m much better positioned to help people if they know they always have access to me.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life by empowering everyone in the organization to take ownership of direction, being open to new projects that are worth pursuing, considering city/county needs, seeking inputs from all stakeholders, and pursuing best practices across the industry and other institutions.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that excites me is the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) push to ensure that housing authorities across the nation understand and work toward financial self-sustainability, and find ways to add affordable housing inventory by seeking public-private partnerships.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I rise early every day. Doing so allows me to get a jump on any issues, read up and catch up on events, and be ready with solutions and answers for the day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self is the following: “Embrace change and diversify your skillset.”

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Striving for absolute truth is not necessarily always the best course of action.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way to execute flawlessly.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I constantly re-evaluate my options and work on my current and new strategies. I review and learn from the ones that work and revisit the ones that don’t work and then adapt accordingly.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure I constantly work on is paralysis by analysis. The way I work on overcoming it is learning to fail fast, trusting myself, managing my emotions, accepting that the failure is coming, knowing that I’m not alone in the experience, and then trying again!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Communal success should translate to individual success, meaning that a rising tide lifts all boats. Put another way, shared success breeds additional success. It pays to observe the business climate closely, recognize which industries are thriving, and then create a company that is first to market.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Almost a week ago, I spent some money on a manual lawn aerator. It’s very low tech. It regurgitates soil manually, which is an established science that greatly benefits the land, and that low tech has been in existence forever. In a rain-starved area like California, it’s important to go low tech and implement time-tested solutions. It enables gardens and lawns to flourish. I’ve always thought that it’s important to use your hands and simpler methods to grow vegetables, flowers, grass, and all manner of plants.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

One piece of software I use all the time is Excel. Among other features, Excel’s data analytics features help me to make informed business decisions, streamline operations, mitigate risks, and handle setbacks.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

There’s a book I read a long time ago called The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. It’s a collection of poetic essays that are spiritual, philosophical, and most importantly, inspirational. To me, it’s a classic.

What is your favorite quote?

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.” — William Johnsen

Key Learnings:

  • Practice makes perfect. It is the only way to properly learn something and there is no substitute.
  • Constant review of what works and what does not work increases the chances for success in any project or endeavor.
  • When time is of the essence, being too detail-oriented can be detrimental.