Ryan Hurley on Running a Successful Business
Ryan Hurley is the president of Hurley Development, a commercial real estate development company that he founded in 2008. The company is based in Vancouver, WA. He has successfully led his company through multiple development projects and with each completed project he inches closer to his goal: transforming Vancouver.
Before Hurley founded Hurley Development, he was working as a manager at Hinton Development. He worked there for about seven years. Hinton was forced to let him go because of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The company had already let most of its employees go, and by the time Hurley was let go, only he and the owner had been left behind.
It was a time of great uncertainty globally, and Hurley was faced with a difficult decision: should he step out and start his own development company during the worst real estate climate the nation had ever faced? After much prayer and consideration, Ryan decided to start his company. Hurley Development was born during the Great Recession and has done wonders in the years since. The goal of his company is to “bring life” by creating a positive impact on Vancouver. “I like to build and manage projects, and work with people and businesses to make communities better. In short, I love to ‘Bring Life’ through commercial real estate and anything else I do,” said Hurley.
A big reason for Hurley Development’s success is that Hurley has focused on four main principles: speed, human connection, communication, and philanthropy. Adhering to these principles has made a huge difference for the company and made it into the success it is today.
“I have a sense of urgency and a strong desire to keep things moving and get things accomplished, and those two things help keep me and our projects and teams moving forward,” Hurley shared.
Hurley understands that moving fast might sound irresponsible. However, he insists on speed because of the nature of businesses today. Time equals money, and every day that goes by without checking on a permit or a design progress or project schedules means additional money is being spent that could have been saved. Especially in commercial real estate development where the effectiveness of a company is gauged by its ability to deliver projects on time, regardless of what is going on behind the scenes, urgency is key.
In an overly competitive environment like commercial real estate, Hurley’s competitors are pushing harder than ever and if his company cannot move fast, they will be left behind. Therefore, Hurley’s need for speed is important for his company’s success.
Hurley alone founded his company but without his team, his company would not have been able to achieve all that it has achieved today. The importance of human connection in business cannot be understated. It is vital for a company’s success and Hurley Development is no exception. Hurley has individually focused on providing support to his employees and inspired in them a sense of purpose and drive – the results of which are there for all to see.
Hurley sees himself as a leader more than a boss and he knows that the metric of a good leader is their ability to cultivate an environment where their team feels connected, supported and thrives. He understands the important role his employees have played in the success of his company. “As a leader, who you surround yourself with and bring onto your team has a significant impact on your success. A consistent, creative, and driven group of people are vital to carrying out your ideas.”
He has cultivated meaningful relationships with not just his employees but also his business partners. “We would be nowhere without our partners and colleagues,” remarked Hurley. This is why he is always looking for things that he can do for his colleagues, customers, strategic partners, and the community. Businesses need people and Hurley makes sure that his people are cared for.
An entrepreneur would be nowhere without strong communication skills. The true mark of an entrepreneur is their ability to innovate, to come up with unique solutions. However, if they are not great communicators, all their ideas will remain stuck in their heads. Ideas need to be communicated to the people who can help the entrepreneur make them real.
It is no surprise then that when asked about the best $100 he spent, Hurley’s answer was his cell phone bill. “That might sound like a strange answer, but my phone helps me check in on colleagues, business deals, friends, and family. I’d be 100x less productive without that part of my life, and not only in business, but in relationships too,” he said.
Hurley has also incorporated effective communication with his employees throughout his day. During a typical day for him, Hurley is in and out of multiple meetings. The nature of his business requires him to frequently meet with multiple people, in addition to his colleagues and company executives. This includes investment partners, financial organizations, city government officials, non-profit organizations, local businesses, and architects. Effective communication with each of these individuals is necessary to keep Hurley’s company moving.
These meetings are essential because it gives Hurley a chance to listen to the people that he works with. Creating innovative ideas requires collaborating with people. It also makes the Hurley team feel heard and valued, which makes everyone motivated to do their best for the company and the community.
Hurley had started his company to ‘bring life’ to the community he grew up in. All the projects that Hurley Development has started have emphasized making an impact on the local community. Remaining true to his goal and the ethos of his company, Hurley actively engages in philanthropic efforts. During the height of the pandemic, he helped FISH Vancouver, a local organization that has been battling hunger. Hurley organized funding for a mobile food pantry to make it easier for FISH to reach underserved communities.
The culture of helping the community permeates throughout his company. It is not just him but also his employees that are actively engaged in helping out where they can. For instance, some employees recently volunteered at the local Clark Country non-profit to help pack the food that was heading out into the community in the mobile food pantry.
Hurley’s philanthropy efforts have played an important role in advancing his company’s reputation in Vancouver. His employees feel more engaged with the community they work in. These efforts have sent a strong message to his partners and customers: generating profits is not the primary goal of his company, Hurley Development is here to serve others and the community, bringing life to everyone.