In little more than a decade and a half, Atlanta-based Wood Partners has become one of the most active and progressive multifamily investment firms in the nation. The company’s rapid rise owes to a strong foundation.
In little more than a decade and a half, Atlanta-based Wood Partners has become one of the most active and progressive multifamily investment firms in the nation. The company’s rapid rise owes to a strong foundation.
Joseph Keough is the Chairman & CEO of Wood Partners.
Prior to joining Wood Partners in 2008, Keough acted as the Chief Operating Officer of Fuqua Capital, where he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fuqua family’s office operations as well as defining and implementing the firm’s investment strategy across asset classes. He previously served as the Senior Vice President, Development and Investment Strategy, in the office/multifamily division at Cousins Properties, a publicly-traded REIT. Prior to joining Cousins, he was a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group.
Keough earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and received his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics from Babson College.
Patrick Trask is President of Wood Partners, currently responsible for overseeing the company’s development and construction divisions and for developing new equity and debt capital relationships. Prior to his role as President, Patrick served as Regional Development Director for Wood Partners’ Central Region, which consists of Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Chicago. He serves on Wood's Board of Directors and Investment Committee. Patrick joined Wood Partners in 2001 and opened the Texas offices for Wood Partners.
Before joining Wood Partners, he served as a Development Associate in Trammell Crow Residential’s North Florida Division, where he was active in their developments in Orlando and Tampa. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a Foreign Exchange Interest Rate Trader with CS First Boston and Morgan Stanley in their New York and London offices.
Patrick received an MBA degree at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in May 2000. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College in May 1993.
Wood Partners features a flat organizational structure that encourages associates to function as owner-operators in order to maximize performance. The company stresses efficient and effective reporting, which leads to enhanced decision-making, anticipation of issues and speedier problem resolution.
Bart Barrett is Director of Wood Partners’ Houston office, responsible for overseeing the development, design and financing of construction in Houston and Central Texas.
Barrett was instrumental in developing more than 3,400 housing units with a capitalization of more than $500 million as managing director at Alliance Residential Company before he joined Wood Partners in 2014. Before he joined Alliance in 2011, Barrett was a finance and development associate at The Morgan Group. As a lead analyst for Apartment Realty Advisors, Barrett participated in the transaction of more than $900 million and 19,500 units in multifamily sales in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Barrett worked with The Hanover Company and APS Financial Corporation earlier in his career.
Barrett earned both a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Methodist University. He’s a member of the Urban Land Institute, Houston Real Estate Council and Houston Apartment Association Developers Committee.
Charles Barrus is the Regional Director of Development for Wood Partners’ South Region, covering primarily Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. He has development and finance responsibility for all new projects in the South Region. Since 2002, Barrus has been actively involved in the financing, development and disposition of more than 9,000 multifamily units with a total capitalization in excess of $1.7 BB.
Before joining Wood Partners in 2002, Barrus worked as a manager in business planning and development for the Walt Disney Company, where his responsibilities included hotel development and transportation strategy. Prior to his current role at Wood Partners, he was a development director for the firm in North Florida.
Barrus received a MBA degree from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Davidson College.
Matt Berry is the Director of Construction for Wood Partners’ Central Region (TX, AZ, CO, UT, IL), overseeing all aspects of project plan development and construction execution. Mr. Berry has been in the multifamily industry for 17 years, building both for sale and rental units including garden style, urban infill, mid-rise, adaptive reuse, and mixed use.
He joined Wood Partners’ Dallas office in 2006, and has been directly involved in the planning, design, estimating, and construction of over 8,000 multifamily units with construction costs exceeding $1B. Prior to Wood Partners, he worked for a commercial general contractor in Atlanta, GA, overseeing projects in the multifamily, retail, and institutional markets.
Mr. Berry earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Bryan Borland is the Director for Wood Partners in North Florida, including Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. He is responsible for the sourcing, financing and development of new multi-family projects in the region. Since 2010, Borland has been actively involved in the development of over 2,500 multi-family units and ancillary retail space with a total capitalization in excess of $480 million.
Prior to joining Wood Partners in 2010, Borland spent three years in commercial banking with SunTrust Bank and Wachovia Bank. Prior to his current role at Wood Partners, he was a Development Associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office.
Borland received an MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida State University.
Tom Burkert is the Director for Wood Partners’ western North Carolina and South Carolina development operations and is located in the Charlotte office. He is responsible for the development, design and financing of multifamily construction in the region.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, Burkert was responsible for multifamily development as the Vice President of Development for Alliance Residential in their Washington D.C. office. Before he joined Alliance, Burkert was a Senior Development Analyst at The JBG Companies in Washington D.C. and worked on the development of mixed-use, multifamily, commercial, hospitality and retail assets.
Burkert received an MBA from University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2012 with a concentration in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship. He graduated from University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Economics.
Joe Gambill is the Director with responsibility for Wood Partners’ assets in the greater Los Angeles and Inland Empire areas. Gambill manages the acquisition, financing and development for all Wood Partners’ projects in these territories.
Gambill’s background prior to Wood Partners consists of nearly 10 years of construction experience as well as working for a local Los Angeles based developer. Since joining Wood Partners in 2014, he has been involved in the development of over 1,000 residential units with a total capitalization of $400M in Southern California.
Gambill earned a bachelor’s degree in Construction Science and Management from Clemson University and a master’s degree in Real Estate Development from the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute in Los Angeles.
Steve Hallsey is the Executive Vice President of Operations for Wood Residential Service. As head-of-operations he oversees the management, leasing, maintenance and marketing of Wood Partners’ portfolio from coast-to-coast. Steve has over 33 years of experience in the multifamily industry and serves on the board of directors for NMHC.
Prior to joining Wood Partners he served as the President and CEO of AMLI Management Company for 13 ½ years. AMLI is a national management company owned by the Prime Fund and managed by Morgan Stanley. Prior to that he served as the Director of Operations for Charles E. Smith, a publicly traded REIT in Washington DC.
He is a graduate of the University of Utah.
Brian Hansen is a Regional Director of Development with responsibility for Wood Partners’ Western region. His responsibilities include the oversight of development, financing and asset management for all Wood Partners’ activities within this region.
Hansen joined the company in 2006 and, since then, has been actively involved in the management, origination and financing of more than $1 Billion worth of developments.
Before joining Wood Partners, Hansen worked as a Senior Analyst for Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm and, prior to that, was employed at The Federal Reserve in Washington D.C. working as a Research Analyst for the national GDP forecast.
Hansen earned his MBA with a concentration in Real Estate from Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, and his bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
Jim Lambert is a Development Director for Wood Partners responsible for all development activities in the Boston area including origination, permitting, design, capitalization and construction of all new projects in the market.
Prior to joining Wood Partners in 2015, Jim was responsible for multifamily development as the Vice President of Development for Mill Creek Residential Trust in their Boston office. At MCRT he was instrumental in the sourcing, capitalization or construction of over 1,300 multifamily units.
Lambert received an MBA from Bentley University with a concentration in real estate. He completed his undergraduate studies at Northeastern University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
In May 2019, Ben Lazarus joined Wood Partners as a Managing Director in the Washington, DC Office. Ben joins Wood Partners after a successful tenure building a Washington, DC office for Carmel Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity fund. At Carmel, Ben managed the due diligence, investment committee approval, and acquisition of development sites totaling more than 1,800 residential units and approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space.
Prior to Carmel, Ben was a Senior Director with MAC Realty Advisors, a boutique Washington, DC-based real estate capital markets advisor with a focus on urban-infill, transit-oriented multifamily transactions. At MAC Realty, Ben led the marketing of joint venture and financing assignments totaling more than 4,200 units and $1 billion in total capitalization as well as investment sales totaling more than 3,800 units.
Ben attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and graduated with Honors in Political Science. Ben received his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Ben, a native Washingtonian, is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, the DCBIA, and the Washington, DC Real Estate Group. He has also been a speaker and panelist for events in the Washington, DC area including those sponsored by the DCBIA, Institutional Property Advisors, and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Todd McCulloch is a Regional Director of Development with responsibility for Wood Partners’ Central region, including oversight of development, finance, construction, and asset management, and he serves on the company’s Investment Committee. Previously, Todd served as Wood’s Director of Texas markets.
Todd joined the company in 2005, and since then, has been actively involved in over $2 billion of real estate transactions. Prior to Wood, Todd worked in the Transaction & Advisory Services division of CBRE.
Todd earned his MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School and received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin as well.
Ryan Miller is the Director for Wood Partners’ North Texas development operations and is located in the Dallas office. He is responsible for the development, design, and financing of multifamily construction in the region. Since joining Wood in 2012, Miller has played a key role in the closing of more than 1,300 multifamily units valued in excess of $205 million.
Prior to Wood Partners, Miller was a developer with Verde Apartment Communities in Dallas where he developed 1,500 units in the Dallas and Austin areas. Miller began his career in corporate finance before transitioning to real estate as Director of Project Finance for a local single family lot development firm. He also has experience in real estate sales and spent several years in the brokerage industry with The Apartment Group where he was involved in numerous multifamily transactions throughout Texas.
Miller has an MBA from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business and also earned his bachelor’s degree in business from The University of Texas at Austin.
Bob Mueller is the Director of Construction for Wood Partners’ Western Region. He is responsible for managing construction and preconstruction personnel and activities for all Wood Partners projects within this region.
Mueller has over 30 years of management experience in the development, construction and engineering businesses. He has managed a diversity of projects that include Residential (over 3,000 apartments and condominiums), Mixed-use, Commercial, Retail, Office, Sports Facilities, Airport, Educational, Infrastructure, and Department of Defense.
Before joining Wood Partners, Mueller was the Managing Director of Construction for OliverMcMillan, a real estate development firm, and prior to that, was employed by the San Diego Padres as the Owner’s Construction Representative for Petco Park.
Mueller has a M.S. Degree in Engineering from USC, B.S. in Biology from SDSU, Certificate of Business Management from the UCSD and is a Registered Professional Engineer and licensed contractor.
Michael Nagy is the Managing Director for Wood Partners in the Pacific Northwest. He is responsible for the sourcing, financing and development of new multi-family projects in the region. Since 2014, Michael has been actively involved in the development of over 1,500 multi-family units and approximately 50,000 SF of ground floor retail space and with a total capitalization in excess of $500 million.
Before joining Wood Partners, Michael was a Senior Development Manager for Holland Partner Group, a real estate development firm headquartered in Vancouver, WA. Prior to that, Michael spent six years working in real estate investment banking in Washington, DC and was involved in more than $4 billion in public and private real estate financing and M&A transactions.
Michael has a B.S. Degree in Finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute in Portland.
Alexander Panzeri is Director of Construction for the Wood Partners’ South Region which includes Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. He has been responsible for completing over 8,000 multi-family apartments in the South.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, he served as Vice President of Construction with Trammell Crow Residential, Equity Residential and ZOM in self-perform construction and construction management rolls. His construction experience includes a wide variety of multi-family product including traditional three-story garden, four-story wrap, mid-rise, high-rise and mixed-use developments.
Panzeri is a licensed, Florida General Contractor. He is a graduate from the University of Bridgeport and Wentworth Institute, Civil & Highway Engineering Technology.
Brian Pianca is the Managing Director of Development for Wood Partners in California. His responsibilities include development, finance and asset management throughout the state. Pianca joined Wood Partners in 2009 as a part of the firm’s expansion into Northern California. Since joining the firm, he has been actively involved in the origination, financing and management of more than $800 million worth of developments.
Before joining Wood Partners, Pianca worked as a Development Associate at Trammell Crow Residential and, prior to that, he was employed by Richmond American Homes as a Land Acquisition Manager.
Pianca earned his MBA and Master of Real Estate Development degrees from the University of Southern California. He also holds a BA degree in History from Wake Forest University.
Jeff Quinlivan is the Director for Wood Partners’ South Florida office. He is responsible for the acquisition, development, design, and financing of multifamily projects in the region. Since joining Wood Partners in 2013, Quinlivan has been actively involved in the development of more than 1,100 units with a total capitalization in excess of $370 million.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, Quinlivan was a Vice President with BlueGate Partners, a boutique real estate investment banking firm in its Palm Beach, FL office. At BlueGate, he worked on capital raises, investment sales, and direct private equity investments across all commercial real estate asset classes. Previously, he was with MMC Group, LP, a financial consultancy, managing the resolution and the disposition of distressed commercial real estate loan portfolios at failed financial institutions in the southeast.
Quinlivan received his MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In addition, he holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia.
Sean Reynolds is Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Wood Partners. Reynolds is also a member of the Wood Partners investment committee. He is responsible for the legal, risk management and accounting functions of Wood Partners.
Reynolds represented Wood Partners upon its formation through the date that he joined Wood Partners. Before joining Wood Partners, Reynolds was a partner with Alston & Bird LLP and served as counsel to numerous real estate private equity funds, private REITs and real estate sponsors. He practiced in the area of real estate equity finance and real estate taxation. Prior to joining Alston & Bird LLP, Reynolds was a partner with Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP.
Reynolds received his J.D. and B.B.A. degrees from the University of Georgia and his M.B.A. from the University of Florida. In addition to being licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, Reynolds passed the C.P.A. examination following the receipt of his B.B.A.
Clay Richardson is the Managing Director in Phoenix for Wood Partners. He manages origination, development, design, and financing of new multi-family projects. Since joining Wood Partners in 2011, Richardson has played a key role in closing more than 2,500 multi-family units with a total capitalization in excess of $440 million.
Prior to Wood Partners, Richardson’s experience includes both development and asset management of market-rate and affordable housing with Cardon Development and Gray Development. He began his career as a chemical engineer, consulting with global mining firms including Freeport-McMoRan and BHP Billiton.
Richardson holds a masters of real estate development and a bachelor’s degree in material science engineering from Arizona State University, and is a member of the Arizona Multihousing Association’s Developer Committee.
Bennett Sands is a Development Director for Wood Partners responsible for development and finance for new projects and asset management for existing assets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He has developed and financed more than 3,000 multifamily units and 120,000 square feet of commercial space with a total capitalization in excess of $700 million.
Before joining Wood Partners, he spent three years working in Investment Banking for Robinson-Humphrey. At Robinson-Humphrey, he worked on both public and private capital raises in several industry groups including retail, telecom and information technology.
Sands earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. He received an MBA with a Real Estate concentration at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Caitlin Shelby is the Director for the Raleigh-Durham office of Wood Partners. In this role, she manages the sourcing, financing, and development of multifamily communities in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, Ms. Shelby managed nearly 2 million square feet of development for Boston Properties and The JBG Companies in Washington, DC. Ms. Shelby began her career working in corporate finance and project management at the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Ms. Shelby received her MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, with a concentration in Real Estate Development and Real Estate Finance. She graduated from Fordham University with her BS in Business Administration. Ms. Shelby is a member of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies Advisory Board, ULI Regional Initiative Council for the Carolinas, and ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative Steering Committee for the Triangle.
Carter Siegel is the Regional Director of Development for the East region. Siegel oversees development and finance responsibilities for projects in the South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Since joining Wood Partners in 2006, he has led the financing and development of more than 6,000 units valued at $1.1 billion.
Before joining Wood Partners, Siegel worked at Apollo Housing Capital financing affordable and historic tax credit properties. Prior to this position he served as a Development Associate in Trammell Crow Residential’s North Florida Division where he participated in developing more than 750 units in Tampa and Orlando. Siegel also previously worked in the Hong Kong and New York offices of Jardine Fleming, a UK based Investment Banking firm.
Siegel holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and an MBA degree from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Siegel is an active member of several professional organizations including the Urban Land Institute and serves on the NAHB leadership board.
Andrew Steffens is a Development Director for Wood Partners in Nashville, TN. He is responsible for the acquisition, financing, and development of mixed use and multifamily projects throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. Before joining Wood Partners, Andrew was the Regional Director of Development for Ram Realty Advisors, a private equity development fund based out of Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Prior to Ram, Andrew served as the Development Director for Alliance Residential where he opened the local Nashville office for Alliance and delivered just under $200M in class A development. His existing Nashville developments include the award winning 276-unit mixed use community branded Broadstone Germantown, a 330-unit community branded Broadstone 8South, and a 238-unit mixed use community branded Broadstone Gulch.
Prior to joining Alliance Residential, Andrew held various roles within a real estate finance group at Citi Bank. Andrew graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee and earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt.
Todd Taylor is the Development Director for Wood Partners in Arizona and Nevada. His responsibilities include Development, Finance and Asset Management.
Taylor started with Wood Partners in 2005, and has been involved in the development of over 4,000 units in Arizona and Nevada. Among these deals was Alta Phoenix Lofts, a 332-unit 9-story development, which ranked #1 in the 2009 Best of Phoenix Luxury Apartment list. The 2011 Phoenix Luxe List ranks three of Mr. Taylor’s deals among its top eight valley-wide. Phoenix Business Journal ranked Wood Partners Phoenix at #3 for Multifamily Commercial Real Estate Developers in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, Phoenix Business Journal’s the Book of Lists ranked Wood Partners Phoenix in the top 10 for Largest Phoenix Area CRE Developers.
Taylor’s multifamily experience covers a broad spectrum, including market-rate rental, mixed-use, condominium, student housing, age restricted, full-service independent living, and 80/20 affordable bond financed units.
Taylor completed his undergraduate studies at California State University Long Beach and holds an MBA (with a concentration in real estate finance) from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Prior to graduation, he played professional baseball with the Minnesota Twins organization.
Taylor is a member of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council (Southwest Chapter) and serves on the Board of Directors for Homeward Bound Arizona.”
Mark Theriault is Director in charge of Construction for the East and Northeast Region, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and the District of Columbia and is responsible for the design, estimating and construction of all projects in those region. He previously served as regional construction manager for Wood Partners and has been responsible for all construction projects within the Northeast.
Theriault is a veteran multi-family construction manager with nearly 20 years of experience in managing all types of residential construction, including over 7,500 multi-family housing units. He began his career as an assistant project manager with Toll Brothers in 1995. In 1999 he joined JPI, where he worked his way up from assistant superintendent to director of construction for the Northeast.
Theriault earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts in 1993. He has a Construction Supervisors license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
David Thompson is the development director for Wood Partners in Florida and is responsible for locating, acquiring, entitling, financing, constructing, and selling multifamily projects throughout the state. Since 2010, Thompson has been actively involved in the development of 14 projects in Florida with a total capitalization in excess of $840 million.
Before joining Wood Partners, Thompson served as Project Manager for The I’On Company, a real estate firm building a 762-home traditional neighborhood development in Charleston where his responsibilities included leading the development team, managing the builder program, and marketing home sites. Prior to his current role at Wood Partners, he was a director for the firm in North Florida.
Thompson received a MBA from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and also holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College.
Matt Trammell is the Chief Financial Officer at Wood Partners, responsible for overseeing the project and corporate finance functions as well as the company’s asset management platform. Trammell joined Wood Partners in 2008 and has been actively involved in the financing of over $7 billion representing more than 35,000 multifamily units during his time with the company.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, Trammell spent two years as an analyst with Novare Group, a development company focused on high-density mixed-use opportunities around the Southeast.
Trammell graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Julia Wilk is a Director of Development in the San Francisco office of Wood Partners. Wilk is responsible for the sourcing, financing, and development of multifamily communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since joining the firm in 2012, she has managed the origination, financing and development of over 800 multifamily units valued in excess of $400 million.
Prior to joining Wood Partners, Wilk worked as a Development Associate for JDT International in Philadelphia and as an Analyst for Arroyo & Co in San Francisco. Wilk began her career as a producer of documentary television and film in New York.
Wilk earned her Masters of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a Certificate in Real Estate Design and Development. She also holds a BA degree in History from Yale University.
Scott Zimmerly is Regional Director of the Mid-Atlantic region, managing the development and financing for projects in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. He has been involved in the sourcing, design, development and financing of more than 2,600 units with a total capitalization in excess of $600 million.
Before joining Wood Partners in 2006, Zimmerly spent five years in the investment banking industry in New York and Maryland, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions across a multitude of industries. He also has experience working in the acquisitions department of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, owner and operator of high-quality office, retail and multi-family assets in the Washington Metro area.
Zimmerly received his MBA with a concentration in real estate from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. He graduated from Washington and Lee University, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
An active member of the Urban Land Institute and Real Estate Group (REG), Zimmerly is also a frequent speaker and panelist in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metro region including events sponsored by Bisnow and Marcus and Millichap..
As we wrap our 20th year (we were founded in 1998), I wanted to give credence to our achievements in 2018. For the last several years, I have noted that our team of associates had executed a record year for Wood Partners. Understanding that the last several years have been strong years, 2018 topped all our previous years. On behalf of the partnership, I want to thank our team of talented associates across the country. Our development, construction, property management, asset management, accounting, HR, IT, finance, marketing, education, owner property services, legal, risk management and other support teams continue to do a great job executing at the highest level. The team’s list of 2018 accomplishments speaks to this:
All the above statistics represent industry-leading performance. In addition to our great team of associates, we also thank our growing list of debt and equity partners that entrust us as fiduciaries each year.
It is also important to take stock with regards to how far we have come over the last 20 years since our founding. The real estate development business is one of the more risky and difficult businesses to execute at a high level over a long period of time. The fact that we have survived and thrived for over 20 years speaks to the quality of the company and our team of associates and leaders (both past and present). We started as a southeastern-focused, regional player with two offices in 1998. We opened our 18th office in Nashville in December of 2018 (more on that below). We had ~50 employees in 1998. Today we have over 650 employees. We started 5 projects in our first full year of operation in 1999 (a productive year with only 3 offices). As noted above, we started 19 projects in 2018. Over the last 20 years, we survived two recessions including the Great Recession in 2008 (the worst economic downturn this country has faced since the Great Depression in 1929). We not only survived the Great Recession in 2008 but emerged from it as an industry leader, more than doubling the size of our business over the last 8 years. A lot to be proud of and humbled by. As a partnership, we are looking forward to making the next 20 years even better than the last 20.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, in December of 2018 we opened our Nashville office with the hiring of Andrew Steffens as a Managing Director. Prior to joining Wood, Andrew spent five productive years at with a reputable, national developer where he was the Middle Tennessee Director of Development. A Tennessee native, Andrew is a great fit with our culture and I strongly believe he will do a fantastic job for us as we expand into Nashville.
As I look forward to 2019, I continue to be optimistic about our business while at the same time being cognizant of the fact that we are in the midst of one of the longest economic expansions in our history. As economic cycles mature, managing the risks of our business becomes even more important. I strongly believe we are doing an effective job managing the downside risks of our business while continuing to maintain industry-leading development production. I am happy to report that we are continuing to see high levels of interest from our debt and equity partners to invest in multifamily development and we expect to continue to see high levels of interest throughout 2019.
I look forward to a fun and productive 2019.
Chairman and CEO