Leadership Profile: Adam Kopp
Friday, January 4, 2019
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Each month Housing Colorado profiles a member volunteer who serves on a committee or another volunteer opportunity. This profile features members who have shown great commitment to the mission of Housing Colorado.
Adam joined Mercy Loan Fund in December 2012 as an Asset Manager. He took on additional responsibility for underwriting loans and became a Loan Officer in October 2014. Since then, he has progressed to Lending Manager. As Lending Manager, Adam is responsible for originating, underwriting, and closing loans for affordable housing projects nationally. Prior to Mercy Loan Fund, he worked at UDR, Inc. a multifamily real estate investment trust. Adam has a BA in Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and a MS in Real Estate and Construction Management from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. Adam serves as the Chair of Housing Colorado’s Education Committee.
How did you end up in affordable housing?
After working in market rate housing for several years, I wanted to make a change and applied to Mercy Housing. I didn’t know much about the industry at the time, but over six years later I am still with Mercy and planning on making a career in affordable housing.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Although I know it sounds cliché, the people are certainly the best part. That includes both my colleagues at Mercy Housing and people I work with throughout the industry. It is great to see the passion behind affordable housing that drives everyone in this industry. My favorite difference between affordable and market rate housing is the collaboration. Instead of everyone being in competition with each other, everyone works together on the common goal of delivering affordable housing.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Mercy Loan Fund lends nationally to both nonprofit and for profit developers. Because of that, there is not a standard project or market that we see. Each project requires a different loan structure and underwriting. The diversity of the deals is also what I find most interesting about my position.
How did you get involved with Housing Colorado?
Mercy had a long relationship with Housing Colorado before I joined the organization. Because of that, I was introduced to it pretty quickly. I started as a conference attendee and then joined the Education Committee.
How do you currently serve Housing Colorado and what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I joined the Education Committee in January 2015 and became the chair of the Committee in January 2018. Additionally, I have presented at the Housing Now conference multiple times. I enjoy working on the Education Committee because I believe one of the biggest benefits of Housing Colorado is the chance to learn from each other. I am glad to be a part of organizing these monthly opportunities.
What are some exciting progressions or projects currently going on in your work?
As interest rates and construction costs continue to rise, I believe that Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFIs”), like Mercy Loan Fund, will be well positioned to help developers with the financial resources needed to continue developing and acquiring affordable housing. We have been looking into new lending products such as mezzanine debt that could help during these market changes.
What project, program or undertaking are you most proud of and why?
It is difficult to pick a single project/loan that I would be most proud of. However, as a national lender, it always good to work on local projects. I have recently worked on loans with Zocalo Development and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, both Housing Colorado members. It will be great to see these projects provide affordable housing to Coloradans.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
I think this might be more life advice than career advice, but one thing that stands out is a friend telling me not to associate your self-worth with your net-worth. I think that is a good advice for keeping perspective on what is important in your career goals and priorities.
Who has been an instrumental mentor through your career so far or who do you look up to?
My primary mentor in affordable housing has been Jason Battista, the President of Mercy Loan Fund. Throughout my years working at Mercy Loan Fund, Jason has been great about imparting his affordable housing & finance knowledge and is an excellent example of a leader to look up to.
What website(s) do you find useful in your work?
The website I probably utilize the most is www.housingfinance.org. It provides a lot of news and insight on affordable housing nationally. For local information, I think Denverite does a good job covering affordable housing topics in the Denver metro.
If you were given the chance to go on a vacation to any place of your choosing, where would you go and what would you do?
Certainly, at the top of my list is a backpacking trip in the Patagonia region of South America.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Colorado?
The go-to restaurant for my wife and I is Ototo Den on South Pearl Street. We both really enjoy the sashimi there.
What book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?
I just finished Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. It is about the build up and fall of Theranos, the blood testing company. I would definitely recommend it.