We are pleased to announce a new team member to our Southeast office, Ryan Fleming. As an Enterprise Community Loan Fund senior loan officer, Ryan will focus on providing capital to development opportunities in the region.

Can you tell us a little more about how you first got involved with affordable housing?

Ryan Fleming: I took my first deep dive into affordable housing during my graduate studies at Georgia Tech, in the school’s Master of City and Regional Planning program (MCRP). Much of my coursework focused on community development, affordable housing and economic development. 

Right after graduation in 2017, I joined the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). For four and half years, I worked in various positions in DCA’s Housing Finance and Development Division administering the state’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC) along with other HUD-funded programs such as HOME, NHTF, TCAP, CDBG-DR. Most recently, I worked as the director of the Office of Housing Finance, which consists of a 30-person team that reviews all 9% and 4% LIHTC applications in Georgia. 

What will your new position at Enterprise be focused on?

I will be working at Enterprise as a senior loan officer, underwriting loans for acquisition, construction and development of affordable housing and community development initiatives, with a focus on development opportunities in the Southeast region.

What do you wish other people knew about affordable housing?

Since my most recent experience was working for the State of Georgia, I wish people knew that the most successful outcomes for affordable housing and community development occurred through a positive and respectful public-private partnership.

Development can be very complicated and difficult; however, my former role taught me to remember that government agencies, lenders, investors, and developers all want the same outcome and goal, despite not agreeing on the means to get there all the time. 
One size doesn’t fit all in the development space, and flexibility and creative solutions are key to making development happen.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I am a very analytical person and use that part of my mind for my daytime work in finance to assess risk and the financial viability of developments.

However, for personal endeavors, like pursuing my career as a standup comedian, my assessment of risk is often more of a gut reaction. When the fear of not taking a chance starts to eat at me and mounts up to something that causes more anxiety than the thought of making the attempt itself (even with likely failure), that is when I know it is time to try something scary.

What do you do when you aren't working?

I am always on the hunt for new Georgia hiking spots, so please let me know if they find any hidden treasures. I also try to take a hiking trip with my dad somewhere in the U.S. every year to 18 months. Most recently, the two of us went to the Sedona area in Arizona. 

I have been doing standup comedy for almost four years now and love the adrenaline rush it brings. I still remember my first attempt at standup comedy – even the faces of those strangers in the front row staring at me. For most of us comics, you basically black out the first time on stage and forget most of what you said (or want to forget it).

It is a very scary proposition to stand in front of a room full of strangers and try to turn silence into laughter. It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike for the first time while an audience who paid money watches you stumble along for a couple of feet at a time as you try to balance on the comedic pedals.

But the accomplishment of looking fear straight in the face that first time and trying to elicit laughter from strangers energized me enough to keep going again and again.