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CREA Spotlight: Legal Department

May 2018

Out of the need for an internal team to lead CREA’s legal matters, Brian Villa heads the Legal Department alongside the help of Ashley Reed. Learn more about this newly formed department in the Q&A and video below.


What is your role at CREA/what do you do?

BV: General Counsel – the role includes drafting and reviewing agreements, amendments, letters, consents, etc., assisting various CREA departments with any legal related issues, and trying to answer random legal questions from CREA employees about areas of law in which I have very limited knowledge.

AR: Mostly, I’m getting really good at redlining documents, working in Microsoft Word, and honing my Google skills. My actual role consists of drafting Agreements, Amendments and other legal documents. I also complete various legal tasks as they’re assigned.

How long have you worked for CREA?

BV: 5 years (though, I like to remind everyone I was CREA’s first intern in 2008).

AR: 6 years, 9 months and counting.

BV: What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

BV: Collaborating with some really smart people, trying to solve complex problems, working through issues, and the “deal making” aspect of the job.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

BV: Aside from the typical professional athlete, I wanted to be a millionaire. I thought it was a job.

AR: I thought for sure I’d be a singer. As I got older I realized I’m not great at performing in front of people. I currently get to keep the dream alive by singing for Clara and for now, she thinks I’m the best!

What do you enjoy most about working at CREA?

BV: No doubt that it’s the people and the work environment. I came from a law firm, so the bar was pretty low, but working at CREA has been a great experience. People shouldn’t take the CREA culture for granted because its unique.

AR:  The working environment is top notch and can’t be beat! Aside from that, I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given while working here. I started in Asset Management, moved to Acquisitions and now have joined Legal. It’s been great to be able to kind of reinvent myself through my job roles, all while staying at the same great company.

What do you enjoy most about working with Brian/Ashley?

BV: Ashley has an easy-going personality, great LIHTC knowledge, knows how CREA operates, and doesn’t need a ton of direction, so she’s been a great addition. She also has a subtle way of telling me when I’m wrong or made a mistake, which helps preserve my self-confidence.

AR: Swapping baby stories is pretty fun.

Outside of the office, where can you typically be found?

BV: With my wife and our twins – walking the dogs, playing at the park, or just hanging out and watching the kids slowly destroy the house. What do you enjoy doing for fun? I enjoy golfing, traveling (without kids), reading things other than legal documents, and then playing more golf

AR: Typically, I can be found at home playing with Clara. I like being outside, so I’m really looking forward to the warmer weather when we won’t have to be cooped up all the time. I think everyone is in that boat right now.

BV: Being a dad to twins, what has been your biggest lesson/takeaway from the experience?

Not sure if this is a lesson or a takeaway but someone once told me that, when you have kids, “the days are long but the years are short”, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing how quickly time passes and life changes so you have to make it a point to slow down and enjoy the moments.

BV: Is there anything that a lot of people don’t know about you?

I’m injury prone. I’ve had 4 knee surgeries, a shoulder surgery, and surgery on my finger to repair a tendon which was severed while defending my wife against an attacker wielding a knife (or it might have been while I was washing dishes – it was a few years ago so I really can’t remember anymore).

Hidden talents, fears, interesting facts?

BV: I went bungy jumping at the Nevis in New Zealand…and I didn’t get hurt

AR: I can lay my thumb flat against my wrist.

AR: How’d you first become involved with the Dopey Challenge?

The shortest possible version of the story is I’m way too competitive for my own good. Why only run 26.2 miles when you can run 48.6??

AR: Do you plan to participate in the future?

I have the best time while I’m at Disney running the race so it’s always on the radar. I really enjoy raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through that event. At the very least, I can see myself doing it again for that reason.

AR: Any upcoming races on your plate?

Just signed up for the Monumental in November 2018. They hook me with the medal series!

Click the video link below and hear from Brian and Ashley themselves!


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