By Callan Smith | Rose Law Group Reporter
This week we spoke with Chris Webb, Director of Project Management, via email, for our continuing series about the amazing people who make up our Rose Law Group (RLG) team.
You are a bit of a unicorn – a former engineer working as the Director of project management in a law firm that does a lot of real estate work. It seems like you and RLG really created this department and that there are no other firms in Arizona that have such a thing. Tell me what the Project Management department at RLG does?
That’s true. We hatched this idea about 10 years ago when I first approached Jordan about joining RLG. I approached RLG because I had hired most of the big land use firms/attorneys in the past and I knew Jordan’s entrepreneurial mindset would embrace the notion of marrying up what I did with the firm’s growing land use/real estate practice. Other law firms have planners on staff to assist with land use and other real estate related cases, but RLG is the only one I’m aware of with full project management capabilities.
The idea behind the creation of the Project Management department was to offer RLG’s land use and real estate clients a full scope of services. We can handle everything from full due diligence evaluation on acquisitions to managing a team of consultants through land use entitlements, design and even into construction. We often operate as a “surrogate” land team for our clients, allowing them to avoid having to staff up internally and plug us in when needed.
So, you could be working as an engineer, or at a homebuilder – I think you have done both? Tell us your background.
Yes, I’ve done both. After getting my BS in Civil Engineering I spent three years working as a design engineer for a large firm here in the valley (CMX), designing subdivisions for various homebuilders. I quickly realized I wanted to get involved in the larger scope of development projects, went back to school and got my MBA, and then joined Fulton Homes as part of their internal “forward planning” team. I spent about four years at Fulton Homes doing land acquisition, entitlement and development with an incredible mentor, Norm Nicholls, who really taught me the business and how to do it the right way.
In 2007 I went to work for a private equity group in the southeast valley (Alliance Investment Group) where I set up and managed the acquisition and entitlements team, with projects in Arizona, Colorado and Utah. This experience was invaluable and allowed me the opportunity to gain experience in how land deals are structured, financed and ultimately brought to fruition.
And in 2008 I joined RLG as Director of Project Management.
I hear that just last week you celebrated one full decade with RLG. That is awesome. Tell me why you like it there and why you chose to spend your time at RLG?
Yes, thank you. It’s crazy to think it’s already been 10 years! I originally chose RLG because of Jordan, her reputation and her entrepreneurial spirit. Come to find out RLG is full of incredibly talented people who reflect the values Jordan has created here. Over the years I’ve had a number of offers to get back into the homebuilding business or do other real estate related things, but I just enjoy what I do and the people I work with too much to leave. My role here at RLG provides me the opportunity to represent the best people and companies in the industry on a huge variety of projects. Every day is different and presents a new set of challenges and opportunities. And Jordan has given me the support and freedom to run with it.
So, you have four kids, plus you are really involved in the community and recently even served as a Queen Creek Planning Commissioner – tell me why you do what you do and how do you find time?!
My life is pretty busy. My boys range in age from 6 to 16 so I’m all over the place trying to keep up with them. In our family we value both community and service, so I’ve tried to find opportunities over the years to be involved with both. My wife Sarah is the shining example in that regard. At the end of the day you have to know what your priorities are and what’s really important and then make time for those things. There are a lot of “good” things you can spend your time doing, but you have to narrow it down to the “best” things, and then try and do those things really well. I’m trying to do that, sometimes with varying degrees of success.
Why do you like living in Queen Creek?
Clearly, I love Queen Creek, or I would have moved closer to RLG a long time ago. I’ve been doing a 45-minute commute into work for 10 years now. For me, Queen Creek offers a great combination of amenities and a small-town feel. We have easy access to shopping, restaurants, movies, etc., but I can also go less than a mile from my house and be in an alfalfa field. I think it reminds me a bit of where I grew up. We’ve been there for 14 years now. Our kids have grown up in the same neighborhood in Queen Creek their whole lives, and there’s always been lots of other kids for them to pal around with. We’re pretty entrenched now.
What is your best shareable RLG story?
There’s so many. I love being able to help clients resolve their problems and help incredible projects come to fruition. Some crazy things have happened along the way. The best stories probably aren’t shareable here, so I’ll just leave this one alone.