Jumping from planes

George Bush Senior plans to parachute from a plane to celebrate his 85th birthday in a couple years.

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I know this because he told us at the recent Mortgage Bankers Association conference in San Diego. He had just had his second hip replaced, but you couldn’t tell it. No matter what you think of his politics, you can’t help but like him. He’s a consummate statesmen, charming, articulate and so real you almost want to ask him to pass the potatoes. But then you remember, hey, he was the president of the United States. NAFTA. The Clean Air Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act. That was him.

Bush Senior shared anecdote after anecdote, name dropping some of the most powerful leaders in the world as though they were his Thursday night poker buddies: Mitterrand, Thatcher, Gorbachev, Putin. There is a power in his civility and understated charm that is found less frequently in today’s world, the loss of which is not any less missed.

He shared a number of his lifetime prescripts: Lead by example. Good business people delegate. If you’re a bad putter, advocate for rapid play.

When I had lunch with MBA Chairman, John Robbins just after the President’s speech, he was still dazed by the graciousness of the man with whom he had just shared the stage. John’s best impression was the kindness of the President and his staff throughout his escort.

John, himself, had also just delivered some powerful news to the session: 50 percent of the commercial product (including multifamily) needed to accommodate our population in the next two decades has yet to be built. That put a charge in the group.

Throughout the CREF, (Commercial Real Estate Finance/ Multifamily Housing) meeting, it was never more apparent that multifamily housing is so very critical to the well being of our country.

In this issue, we also cover another important organization to our fold, National Association of Homebuilders Multifamily. Next month is the 16th annual Pillars of the Industry awards event, during which many of the best and the brightest will be honored for their accomplishments in multihousing. Pillars recognizes the brain-trust of the industry. It’s important to stay in touch with those leading the way. The collective soul is, indeed, empowerment. Whether for legislative advocacy, educating our future multihousing professionals or drawing from the knowledge of others in the industry, it is far better to be connected.

President Bush said he will parachute from a plane on his 85th birthday to “set an example for other boomers.” And he adds, “Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t do fun things.”

I’m not sure that I agree that jumping from a high-flying plane is fun. I do imagine it could be an experience that takes you outside yourself and reminds you that there’s a much larger world out there with which we need to stay connected and leave just a little better than we found it.

It is my fondest wish that this issue of Multihousing Professional leaves you a little better… and without risking life and limb.