Ryan Hurley

Founder of Hurley Development

Ryan Hurley is the founder and president of Hurley Development, a commercial real estate development company based in Vancouver, Washington. A Vancouver native, Ryan wanted to establish a company that was dedicated to transforming the landscape of Vancouver while maintaining the city’s integrity and encouraging community.

Ryan launched into the world of business like a lot of business owners do, by jumping in and taking advantage of any opportunity that presented itself.
Ryan began his career in development with Hinton Development Corporation. While with Hinton, he was responsible for the company’s residential development portfolio, where he gained experience in acquisition, entitlement, construction, and disposition. In this position, he oversaw various aspects of development and helped Hinton grow its portfolio by evaluating development opportunities, conducting feasibility analyses, and creating development strategies.

Following his time with Hinton, Ryan founded Hurley Development in 2009. Today, the company is one of the premier real estate development companies in the region and has carried out several community development projects while raising the bar for sustainable and profitable development.

Ryan Hurley lives in Vancouver with his wife Becky and their children.

Where did the idea for Hurley Development come from?

Our company was born out of the Great Recession. That sounds a little dramatic, but I founded Hurley Development in 2009 because I had to! I didn’t have any other choice. My professional background was in development, and I had worn a lot of hats at my previous company, but they came to the place where they had cut staff as much as possible and tried to hold on to whatever projects they could, and they had to let me go. I was the last employee left, besides the owner. And from there, I either had to give up my dreams, quit real estate, and take a 9 to 5 job, or step out in faith and trust that I was doing the right thing. I knew what I had to do…I started my company, and out of the gate I pulled together a complex multi-party commercial real estate deal involving planning, design, and execution with a local business.

My experience with some small businesses I had partnered with, along with the developer I’d been working for, gave me a lot of insight and helped me build the skills I needed to set out on my own and figure things out along the way. We were painting the plane as we were flying it, with a lot of challenges along the way, but it came together and we moved right into more projects. I cultivated financial partnerships to purchase core buildings in the underserviced downtown where I grew up and on the heels of those projects we launched a rock climbing gym project.

Being from Vancouver, I didn’t just want to establish ourselves as a premier commercial real estate development company, but to also make a positive impact on Vancouver and the surrounding community, which still is the heartbeat of our company today, because I like to build and manage projects, and work with people and businesses to make communities better. In short, I love to “Bring Life” through commercial real estate and anything else I do.

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

In a word, engagement. Typically, I’m in a lot of meetings that range from our executive team to company directors to investment partners, banks and financial organizations, non-profits, city government, architects and designers, and leaders of businesses we own. I would not be productive without the help of my amazing staff and tools like our project management software with dashboards and reporting, and an iPhone and laptop within reach.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I absolutely love to create and I am inspired by creation. Naturally, I gravitate toward talking about the what if’s and what could be. But that’s only the beginning. To bring any idea to life, we always need the right people in the room: a team of staff and consultants who bring creativity, expertise, and experience.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I absolutely love what’s happening with smart technology and the nexus it has with sustainability, along with the unique customer experience it can provide.

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

I have a sense of urgency and a strong desire to keep things moving and get things accomplished, and those two things help keep me and our projects and teams moving forward.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Everything is just a season – life is full of ups and downs but you will make it through and things will end up working out for the best if you stay focused on the right things.

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

Speed is the key to success. It sounds irresponsible to say speed is the key to everything, but the ability to deliver faster on every level, especially in my world of commercial real estate, is under-appreciated by many businesses.

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

Pray. It sounds a little strange to some CEOs because we usually think of things like coming in early, staying late, bringing the right people into the room, having wise counsel when we make decisions, and all those things are important as well…but to be honest, no matter what I think I can bring to the table, I’m not superhuman, and I can’t make things happen the way I want them to. None of us can. At the end of the day, it’s all in God’s hands.

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

Building strong partnerships with our investors and with business leaders has been vital to our growth. We would be nowhere without our partners and colleagues.

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

I believe there is a lot more that is coming soon in Proptech that will totally change how we do business in commercial real estate and there is a lot of money yet to be made in that arena. If you have a software idea that makes anything easier for a building owner or saves money or adds NOI, get going on your MVP…there’s room for your great idea!

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

This one is simple for me: it’s my cell phone bill. That might sound like a strange answer, but my phone helps me check in on colleagues, business deals, friends and family…and I’d be 100x less productive without that part of my life, and not only in business, in relationships.

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

I love the simplicity of Google calendar for my personal planning, and how solid Microsoft Teams is for my video meetings. Those two technologies never let me down.

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

Beyond Business by Lonnie Gienger. It challenges business leaders to reframe how and why we do business. What if our businesses could make the world a better place? What if all of us business leaders decided to do that and help each other do it?

What is your favorite quote?

From the Bible, it’s Acts 20:24 “For none of these things move me, nor do I count my life as dear to myself, but that I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me to testify to the gospel of grace.” Another way to put it is, “What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job that Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about the incredibly extravagant generosity and love of God.”

Key Learnings:

  • As a leader, who you surround yourself with and bring onto your team has a significant impact on your success. A reliable, creative, and driven group of people are vital to carrying out your ideas.
  • Always consider what more can be done, for your team, your customers, your company, and your community.
  • Looking at processes and pain points will give you insight into what needs to change or be improved.