Sam Betters' Retirement & Reflections
Friday, November 2, 2018
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Sam Betters' Service to the Affordable Housing Industry
Sam Betters, the Executive Director of Loveland Housing Authority, will be retiring on November 15th. He has served the Loveland Housing Authority for almost 42 years, and for 37 years, he has served in the role of Executive Director. The scope and size of the organization has grown a lot over his tenure. When Sam started, Loveland Housing Authority assisted 210 households, with an annual budget of less than $1 million. Today, the organization assists approximately 1,200 households, with a budget of nearly $35 million. Additionally, Sam Betters is former board member of Housing Colorado, CHFA, and Colorado NAHRO. He currently serves on the following boards: Partnership for Age Friendly Communities, State of Colorado Private Activity Allocation Committee, and McKee Citizens Advisory Board.
Responses from Friends and Colleagues
“We are all going to miss the one and only Sam Betters, a fellow Pittsburgher, and great Colorado houser!” - Doug Snyder, Volunteers of America
"Sam’s impact on affordable housing in Colorado – and the country - is immeasurable and can only be appreciated by looking at the roles he has played at the Loveland Housing Authority, CHFA and NAHRO and the people he has mentored and influenced over the years. When you take into account the number of lives his work has touched and improved, the multiplier effect is staggering and will continue to be so for many, many years to come. He has truly raised the bar for all of us and is leaving a remarkable legacy that will be unmatched." - Rodger Hara, Community Builders' Realty Services
"Sam’s veracity, wit, and steadfast finesse in creating quality housing will be missed. He was and is an inspirational leader in the local, state, and national housing industry. All the best Sam!" - JoEllen Davidson, Community Housing Development Association
Reflections with Sam Betters
What is your proudest accomplishment and why?
The culture that has been established at Loveland Housing Authority. The culture is what sustains and propels the organization forward. We built a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial-ship. While what we do is important, there are a lot of other important things in our employees’ lives, such as health and family. As an organization, we aim to respect employees. Similarly, we believe everyone deserves respect, meaning everyone who walks through our door gets equal treatment and are given respect.
What was the most important lesson you learned over your career?
It is small sandbox in Colorado. Play nice! You are going to bump into the same kids often. There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie and partnership within the affordable housing industry, and that is part of what makes it fun.
What is the best advice that you have received?
Very, very early in my career, I met with a sociology professor at CSU. He told me, “Stick to what you do best.” If you can do your job best, in this case, providing safe, stable housing, then reaching out to other local organizations for partnerships is most effective. When everyone is doing their services well, that is in the residents’ best interest.
What advice do you have for housing professionals?
Housing is a critical component of every community. We in the affordable housing industry have an opportunity to have a positive or a negative impact. So we must consider that prior to each development. There are always two sets of customers. The one you designed the development for - the residents. And the ones who won’t live there but will drive by, who need it to work for their community. Garnering and developing community and political will is our best asset.
What do you see as the most important challenge in the future of housing?
The reality of today is that housing in Colorado is not getting any cheaper in the near future. We have to innovate housing. We can’t keep building it all the same way that we have been for the last 200 years. Materials, costs of construction, and land cost are all continuing to rise at rapid rates. Resources are at a premium, and we are all scrambling for the same ones. I see the future challenge as innovation. Housing needs to be thought about in a different way. New options need to be explored.
What’s next? Any fun plans for retirement?
My last day is on a Thursday. So I’ll start with a nice long weekend. Then there will be a great break over the holidays. Once January roles around, my partner Linda and I traveling through Southeast Asia, stopping in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Also, my daughter is moving to Rome, so I am hoping to get out there for a visit in the Spring as well.
I’ve been blessed to have a great career and have been surrounding by smart, caring people who want to make a positive difference in the world. I gave a lot in my career, but I received so much more back in return. I am very grateful for everyone I met. I’m a damn lucky guy.
Sam, congratulations from all of us at Housing Colorado! Happy Retirement!