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CREA Spotlight: Jeff Nelson, VP, Account Manager

November 2017

Working closely with developers, originators and closing coordinators to close low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties, Jeff Nelson serves as VP, Account Manager within the Acquisitions team. Jeff joined CREA’s Boston office in 2011 after working as an analyst for Fannie Mae in Washington, DC on both the multifamily lending and the single-family side.

Learn more about Jeff and his work outside of CREA in the Q&A below.

Q & A with Jeff Nelson

What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

Every project is different and has its own particular designs, markets, and problems to solve, which keeps things fresh and interesting, there is always more to learn. Developers are also a colorful bunch that are fun to talk to.

How’d you get started/interested in the LIHTC industry?

I did several Habitat for Humanity trips to the New Orleans area in my undergrad college years after Hurricane Katrina hit, and I wanted to get involved in affordable housing after that. After college, I got a job at Fannie Mae for 2 years, and then went to business school, taking some real estate classes, and worked on a Federal Home Loan Bank LIHTC project competition with a great team, and really learned a lot about LIHTC and how it can bring a lot of affordable rental units into markets that need them.

What do you enjoy most about working at CREA?

The people and the culture. The folks at CREA are warm and welcoming; they also know how to have fun and not take themselves too seriously. Even though I’m in a satellite office in Boston, I still feel connected to the folks in Indy whenever I “come home”. When problems/disagreements come up, people are focused in collaborating on a solution.

What’s the biggest difference working in the Boston office, versus the headquarters in Indy?

In Boston, Tony [Bertoldi] insists we dress in full business suits every day, except for Blue Fridays, where we all dress in jeans and our Colts jerseys.

What do you think is a perception people have about Boston/people from Boston that’s not true?

There is a perception that people in Boston are loud-mouthed, obnoxious sports fans, and…on second thought, that is entirely true. Seriously, a big misperception might be that what most people think of as “Boston” (Fenway Park, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, etc.) is actually a pretty small part of the city. There are lots of neighborhoods with their own character outside of that, not to mention Cambridge and Brookline, which are basically Boston too.

Outside of the office, where can you typically be found? What do you enjoy doing for fun?

I like biking and kayaking when the weather is nice, and going to concerts. I’m a beer snob, so will often go to obscure beer bars and breweries and pay way too much money for craft beers and unhealthy foods.

Is there anything that a lot of people don’t know about you? Hidden talents, fears, interesting facts?

I have a twin brother who lives out in Minneapolis – I’m 5 whole minutes older! I would like to get into winter sports more, like skiing, but I have a fear of falling down and hurting myself, so I’ve limited myself to snowboarding on a bunny slope in the arboretum by my house.

Are you involved in any non-for profits or community organizations?

I’ve been involved with the annual Pelotonia bike ride out in Columbus, OH each summer which raises money for cancer research, for which CREA and my co-workers have been tremendous in supporting and contributing each year. I’m also a mentee for a child in foster care through a group called Silver Linings Mentoring. I also work with a volunteer consulting alumni group called Community Action Partners, where we do 6-month consulting projects for a different nonprofit each year – I’m currently working with Boston Youth Sanctuary.

Describe a time or experience that has shaped who you are today.

My first year out of college I  was diagnosed with tongue cancer, and went through the full surgery/chemo/radiation treatment, so that has obviously had a big effect on my life and perspective at times. It’s been found that even lottery winners revert to their previous level of happiness after about 6 months of being rich, so I try to remember how lucky I am that I got through that ordeal, especially when I get consumed by relatively minor difficulties of day-to-day life.


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