Hank Kelley is the CEO of Flake Kelley Commercial and has been with the company since 1984. “We have offices in Little Rock and Johnson (Washington County,) Arkansas and work with customers from all over the United States. Our customers are business owners that need real estate locations as well as individuals or companies that own commercial real estate and need management for apartments, shopping centers, office buildings, industrial/warehouses or land,” said Hank. He specializes in office and retail space. The company employs over fifty people in Little Rock and northwest Arkansas, from Brokers and Property Managers to office support and maintenance staff. Clients you may find familiar are TJ Maxx, ALLTEL, Jo Ann’s Fabrics, AT&T, Verizon, and Panera Bread, just to name a few.
Hank is a “working manager” and enjoys being “the player coach.” His strategy to do his part to build the company is “to serve our clients through our associates, rather than individually”. “I have put my heart and soul into this company,” he says. He trains and coaches other employees as their team leader. “I am constantly challenged to manage three areas,” says Hank. The first area is self- management of which he lists, “managing myself, my work habits, my presentation skills, my attitude, my balance of life, and my continuing education.” Secondly Hank manages his networks, of which” CAEA is the best”, he says. He also lists Rotary, friends, family, clubs, his church (which is a different type of networking) and his schools, U of A and UALR. The third thing that Hank has to manage is the team who works with him. In his business there is the support team, the partners and the co-agents. There are times when he may be competing with a co-agent in the morning on a deal but helping that person close on another in the afternoon.
According to Hank the downturn and restructuring of the economy has been a key driver in his industry. Foreclosures on commercial properties are very complicated. Flake and Kelley Commercial can service the properties that were financed with Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) and can handle the complexities involved in foreclosures on rental properties. Healing the properties and finding stable owners can often be accomplished. Hank recently participated with an LLC that purchased Fowler Square Apartments, a property he has a personal attachment to, and he hopes to refurbish it. The property, which is located on 6th Street in Little Rock, is a tax credit property that has fallen into disrepair and “is drug infested.” Since the purchase, 40% of the residents who were engaged in drug and other illegal activity have been moved out with the help of the Little Rock Police Department, with 25% more planned. Hank is trying to evict all suspect tenants from the property prior to refurbishing the property.
The events of the last few years have made those involved in the real estate profession have to take a look back at where they have been, and an even harder look at where they want to go. The industry has changed so much in such a short time. We have weathered a hard storm in our industry and have adapted to the opportunities that have been available. We are more of a service organization today than ever before. To paraphrase a quote by Thomas Jefferson that Hank shared, “”Nothing can stop the man (person) with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal ; nothing on earth can help the man(person) with the wrong mental attitude.”