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Episode 54: Ryan Chase

NIC Hosts Workshop Bootcamp On Seniors Housing with Ryan Chase

Lucas: Welcome to Bridge the Gap Podcast, the senior living podcast with Josh and Lucas and we are once again sitting down with an excellent thought leader in the space here in San Diego at the NIC conference. I am happy to welcome Ryan Chase. He is the managing director of Blueprint out of Chicago. Welcome, Ryan.

Ryan: Thanks for having me guys.

Josh: Yeah, welcome.

Lucas: Yes, and Ryan, we share a love for seniors housing and we’re also on the Future Leaders Council- talk to us about your progression into the space. You could have worked in any vertical doing what you’re doing, using your time and your talents but you’ve chosen to center them in on seniors housing but then also you’re using your time and talents to volunteer the leadership in NIC.

Ryan: So, how did I get into senior housing? It’s actually a long story.

Josh: Well, we’ve got some time.

Ryan: So, you ask that question around the conference and a lot of people say, oh, I kind of fell into it. So, I actually started in a completely different business. I worked in derivative training in Chicago for a few years right when I got out of school. After a few years of that, I looked around and I was noticing that a lot of my friends who were working in real estate, they had a lot of more socially inclusive networks in their job and I started thinking, you know, that’s the kind of business I want to be in.

I was back in school. I applied to get an internship at Ventas. They took me and from there it was history. So, I started really becoming interested in the health care component. My family has a lot of health care background, my sister’s a nurse practitioner and my mom’s a hospital executive. So, I’ve had health care my whole life around the dinner table and it’s just funny that I started really enjoying it and becoming passionate about senior housing through that experience.

(I) met a really ambitious and talented group of people who in 2013 we started Blueprint and when we started, we had 5 people on the team. Now, we’ve got about 50. It’s just been a crazy ride.

Very happy with the way that it’s worked out but the industry itself is growing, that doesn’t hurt. We’ve got to help it grow responsibly and be good stewards of, you know, connecting people and making wise investments and that kind of thing.

Lucas: Exactly.

Josh: So, before you guys talk about the Future Leaders Council, because I know that was the second part, so tell me a little bit about- I’m intrigued by the Blueprint start-up by 5 guys, right? 2013, all similar backgrounds or very diverse? How did you guys know each other?

Ryan: So, yeah. So, we all actually exited from a national real estate broker’s firm. So, very similar backgrounds, very good at facilitating deals, but, at that time, there was really a lot of other companies that view brokerage in a traditional sense where they said, okay, the solution for this owner is to sell and we want them to provide a suite of services that was more agnostic to the services. Maybe it’s not selling, maybe it’s helping people find new partners or new operators or new managers. It’s all about ways that you can approach the challenges that all these owners and capital providers and stakeholders of the industry run into everyday that don’t have to do with selling.

We’re trying to change brokerage from a pure sells play into a suite of services that help people connect live wires in a whole lot of other ways than selling.

Josh: So, you and Lucas, you guys work super hard in your day jobs. (I) have such an appreciation for what you guys do. But you work super hard on your givebacks, too. And so, tie this into NIC, Future Leaders Council. How did that all come about?

Ryan: Got it. Well, so, we did have one person that was on the Future Leaders Council on Blueprint ahead of me, Benjamin Firestone-

Lucas: -an alumni to the podcast.

Josh: Yes, absolutely.

Ryan: Yeah, I think he’s got the fourth most downloaded podcast.

Josh: Yeah, he’s very proud of that.

Lucas: Let’s beat him Ryan.

Ryan: We need everyone to download this one so that I get bragging rights in the office.

Yeah, so, observing him, facilitating connections. The NIC mission is to allow access and choice and what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to bring capital into the industry by creating transparency effectively through data, through conferences like this where people get to meet everyone and the mission of Blueprint actually is not too dissimilar from it. We are trying to align people thoughtfully with data and experience to also facilitate connections.

Our mission and the NIC mission are different, but they rhyme. And, you know, for us to facilitate, you know, connections and teach people, you know, in case of the bootcamp, you know how to value a deal, it’s not too dissimilar to, you know, connecting live wires in different ways.

So, it was a natural fit. It’s something that’s very similar to what we’re doing when we’re training our analysts, you know, how to do already so how do we propel that bigger than what we are as a firm and you know the FLC is a good vehicle for that.

Josh: So, you guys have thrown around this bootcamp. For those that don’t know what the bootcamp is, like yours truly, just been hearing some nuggets, is it too early to release information. Can we talk about this secret bootcamp? Is it a secret? What’s the big mystery?

Lucas: Exactly, no. No mystery. No secret. I got the opportunity to attend at the fall conference and Ryan, so NIC is actually transitioning and elevating this personal development aspect of what they’re doing for continued learning to give back to the space to help people coming into the business for people that are even working in the business refining their skills in this area.

Talk to us about what the bootcamp is.

Ryan: Yeah, so, the bootcamp- the best way to describe it concisely is it’s a crash course that brings in subject matter experts from whether it’s the capital side whether it’s the operator side whether it’s the market assessment side, in order to value a deal. So, the people who contribute to it are people who do that component of analyzing whether or not the opportunity makes sense to buy for their company and help them grow everyday. So, it started out, this will be my fourth bootcamp that I’ve helped contribute to. I was actually doing a bit even before I was on the FLC actually. But, it started off it was a two hour event. A couple years after, you know, I’d been on the bootcamp, it was a four-hour event. Now it’s going to be a six-hour event.

We’re working on getting some very, you know, very well-regarded thought leaders to be keynote speakers, to help impart their wisdom on a crowd that’s new to the industry and then on top of that you also have networking that happens before. People make connections while the bootcamp is running and then there’s networking afterwards. So, people don’t just learn about how to value a deal, they take home connections as well. So, it’s overall just a great opportunity.

Josh: So, this bootcamp- does it take place at NIC conference or is it throughout the year?

Ryan: So, originally, yes. It was connected to the actual fall NIC. The feedback that we’d gotten was overwhelming that people would come to this even if it wasn’t connected to the NIC, meaning that, you know, if you had a satellite event, people would sign up and people were coming to the NIC just for the bootcamp.

Josh: Wow.

Ryan: Right. So, the NIC being the marketing savvy organization that they are, they listened to that and so it’s actually in North Carolina, April 10 and it starts at 9 a.m. It’s not connected to any conference and it’ll be the first time we’ve done a satellite event. It’ll be for a full day and then I would imagine as we learn from this one as well, we’ll figure out how to do other satellite events and we may even have down the road, speaking as professional development, what Lucas and I learned in our FLC meeting yesterday is that we may have additional modules of learning over time, whether it be right we’re doing assessing a deal and valuing it. We might just have a very much deeper dive into operations in the future. We might just have a much deeper dive into building, you know, the financial model that we give to the users in the future.

So, there’s all kinds of ideas that they’re thinking about, they’re toying with on how to continue the education of the industry.

Josh: That’s really cool. So, who’s the target? I think you said, kind of, new folks to the senior housing industry. Does that mean just young or is that anyone that’s just entering the space.

Ryan: I would say young in terms of actual seniors housing experience, right. So, the typical attendee has three years or less experience in seniors housing but there’s a lot of experienced people trying to figure out how to get into the space. Obviously, the secret is out. The ncreif returns is 10 percent year over year where the broader health care sector is 6 percent, right. So Wall Street hears this, the broader investor market hears this and so you’ve got companies, you know I’ll take a company like Blackstone who, you know, in the early 2000s they were in their senior housing space. Then they exited it. Then they came back in a big way. So, you know, obviously Blackstone is a very sophisticated company. They’ve had people who, you know, are very smart in their own right at the bootcamp.

So, it’s not necessarily young or old or young. It’s just experience in the business.

Josh: Cool.

Lucas: And walk us through, the person who has not attended a bootcamp before, when they walk in, what would they experience as far as the setup? And what would they gain out of being there?

Ryan: Sure. So, what we do is we place into teams at a roundtable. You’ll have maybe 6-8 people at a roundtable depending on the final format and how many attendees we’ll have. Plus, you’ll have one FLC table captain guide the discussion for one, there’s individual breakout sessions. So, you’ll be working on a team and what ends up happening is, you know, we’ll have one of the economists from NIC, Launa, you know, she’ll give an industry overview. Where is senior housing today in terms of occupancy, absorption, average rate growth- all the kinds of things that, you know, the broad fundamental data points that everyone should know.

Then the case gets presented. It’s an actual senior housing transaction that did occur. We’ve disguised the name and location so as to keep some confidentiality but this is a deal that did occur. It did trade. And what happens is we go through different modules of assessing the market, understanding you know marketing and sales, understanding how to capitalize the deal. So, we go through these different speakers who are all subject matter experts in their individual speaking roles. And then all the teams get together on the deal and they submit their bids. They got a whole bunch of time to think about it, weigh the options that’ve been presented to them. As the broker who presents it to them, there’s a lot of value-add components and they have to decide, you know, do they believe the broker on this one or that one? It’s a fun discussion.

And then at the end, we stack up all the bids and we talk to all the groups about, you know, why they bid what, how they valued it and so everyone gets to hear and learn a little bit about how everyone is valuing it which is the ultimate point. And then at the end, we tell them what really happened in real life.

So, it’s a case study where they get to say, you know, if your job is to go out and buy deals and deploy capital, you know, what really did happen because this is a case study that occurred a few years ago.

Lucas: Yeah, and this is one of those things that I think lends itself so well to our podcast platform We are trying to reach some outsiders. We’re trying to educate and inform and influence the people in the business and then also bring outsiders in as a tool to say hey, we need some talent. We need NIC. Our friendship has grown through the NIC platform into this podcast and we love to hear this, that this is available.

Josh: Well, absolutely, and how fitting- we’re in San Diego. Military town. I’m actually looking out where Navy Seals train and Future Leaders Council bootcamp is like Navy Seal training for people that have a little bit of base knowledge but turning them into executing a deal, that’s really really fascinating.

Lucas: Yeah, a lot of fun. And Ryan, we thank you so much for spending time with us. We are definitely going to connect with you in the show notes. For anyone that’s listening, it’s going to be April 10 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Come out, come meet Ryan. Come meet the Future Leaders and come meet the thought leaders in the space that are going to be putting on this training program and a great networking opportunity.

So, we’ll connect with Ryan in the show notes. The information about how to sign up and ways to connect with us. You can always go to @btgvoice to connect with Josh and I and to listen to past shows. But other than that, thank you for listening to another great episode of Bridge the Gap.

Thank you to our supporting partners NHI, RCare, NRC Health, TSOLife, ERDMAN and Sherpa.

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Episode 54: Ryan Chase