Executive Profiles: Stephen Porter
“People are the number one thing you’ve got.” — Todd Hitt
At Kiddar Capital, I’m fortunate enough to work with an amazing team of professionals — intelligent, colorful people who share a culture of aggressive excellence. Everyone brings their own strengths and story to our culture and business.
I thought it’d be great for you to meet our executives in series of profiles. Stephen Porter is Kiddar’s Principal of Real Estate.
What is your professional background?
I went to school for accounting, then realized fairly early that I liked real estate and moved into that world with Zuckerman Gravely. After handling their bookkeeping for a few years, an opportunity opened up within the group to be an Asset Analyst coordinating their portfolio’s acquisitions and refinances.
As an accountant going into a finance position, I knew it was a long shot. Accounting tracks the numbers after they’ve been realized, while finance projects how an asset will perform in the future. There’s no certainty in that, so it takes a different mindset.
Zuckerman Gravely decided to take a chance on me, and I can’t thank them enough for it. I really enjoyed the change. I began interacting and working with outside professionals on every aspect of real estate. Accounting kept me in the office all day. My new role put me on the front line interacting with partners and clients.
Our portfolio focused mostly on Class B office buildings and the majority of our properties were in the commercial business district. After 5 years as an Asset Analyst, I was ready for another challenge.
That opportunity came through an introduction to Mr. Hitt and Kiddar Capital.
I’ve now been with Kiddar for almost a year, and it’s been awesome. I never really got into development before, or understood what it took to build a building. I feel now like I can chase any asset, do any deal. Learning that has been great, and the people I’ve met since starting this job are simply amazing.
What’s one project or deal you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?
The Stratford Motor Lodge in the City of Falls Church, VA is going to be a great redevelopment. The location is to die for: you literally walk out your front door, cross the street, and you’re inside Harris Teeter. We also don’t have many partners in the deal, so it gives me a chance to be more closely involved with the process from start to finish: financing, engineering, architecture, working with the city council, construction, management — all of it.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
I think the learning curve has been the most difficult. I didn’t have a strong real estate background when I started at Zuckerman Gravely, so I had a lot to learn. I would get in there and analyze the work other people had done before me. That’s how I taught myself.
When I transitioned from real estate accounting to finance — that was crazy. I had to learn everything on the fly. Luckily, the brokerage community was really great to me. I owe a great deal to those guys.
What are you passionate about?
Soccah! I’m passionate about soccer. Love it. Soccah!
I love real estate, actually. I have an incredible job and I work with the top professionals in the industry. The path to get where I am wasn’t always clear or defined. It’s funny how things can just kind of come your way and define who you are for the rest of your life.
I’m very fortunate to be doing what I do, and it’s amazing that I’m doing deals alongside a guy that’s as business savvy as Mr. Hitt. I’m passionate about getting out there and trying to make things happen. I love what I do. I’m a very lucky guy.