JC 017: Apartments, Banking and Politics with Michael Gibbons
All people want to live in a nice property
Michael Gibbons is a highly respected investment banker with decades of experience successfully owning and operating multi family real estate. Mike is the senior managing director, principal and co-founder of Brown Gibbons Lang and Company (BGL) with offices across the USA and Global M&A Partner offices in more than 40 countries across 5 continents, which allows BGL to deliver their clients unparalleled access to corporations, investors, and opportunities globally.
Michael always had an interest in real estate and started out with a few doubles and a 4-plex. He learned how to install toilets and more importantly what it will take to run a real estate ownership organization effectively. The key is to build up the number of units that you are managing so that you don’t have to personally do all of the work.
Michael and his team are dedicated to providing well-managed, quality multifamily homes. Michael owns an interest in over 10,000 units and lives by the philosophy that each unit must be “good enough for mom to live in.” He believes that everyone deserves to be proud of where they live, and the apartment communities that he owns provide a safe, clean, well-maintained and friendly environment that residents are proud to call home.
Michael’s winning formula is to look out for undermanaged and/or poorly maintained properties and apply a high standard to maintenance and management. You must apply social responsibility to your real estate investments and success will follow.
Michael Gibbons is on a mission to save America. He is entering the political arena and running for a seat in the US Senate representing Ohio. He believes that “the government doesn’t create jobs, business creates jobs.” Michael doesn’t want to be a career politician. He wants to apply his business knowledge in Washington to serve the American people and accelerate the growth of the US economy.
Five key points:
- Everybody has to start somewhere – Michael entered the business of real estate investing where many entrepreneurs start, buying single-family properties and working from the ground up to restore and resell them. The small details that Michael learned during his early days set him up for success in the future.
- “If the unit isn’t ready for your mother to move into, it’s not ready to rent to someone else.” – people want to be proud of where they live. This applies to all income levels. BGL looks for undermanaged or poorly maintained properties and applies defined management strategies to improve the situation, providing people with a safe, clean, well-maintained place to live, somewhere they can be proud to bring their friends and parents to visit.
- Find tenants that fulfill their side of their contractual obligations – always pay their rent in full and on time. It is dangerous territory for landlords to get into situations where they allow tenants to stay without paying rent for any period of time. This practice can quickly lead an investor to defaulting on mortgages. Retain high credit standards, source tenants that have pride in themselves and their property and they will in turn take pride and care for your property.
- Utilize modern technology – install video cameras in your multi family investments. “We have found that with the technology that’s available now, if we put up camera systems, generally people behave properly if they’re always on camera in common areas.”
- Every person involved in real estate is important – from the person fixing the electrical faults to the person vacuuming the hallways, insure that you have a team with the correct cultural fit and chemistry. Success comes when the work is fun and you’re surrounded by other people that “find it fun” and are also willing to put in the hard”
Mike is a three-sport college athlete. These are his top three favorite athletes;
- Jean Gibbons – Michael father, world class athlete, wrestler & coach
- Aaron Shea – former NFL player and Mike’s son-in-law
- Tom Brady – NFL quarterback for the New England Patriots and godfather to Mike’s grandson.
- God’s Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times by John T Flynn
- The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich A Hayek
You can reach out to Michael at BLG, http://www.bglco.com
For more information about Michael Gibbons US Senate campaign visit –http://www.gibbonsforohio.com
Thank you Michael for taking some time out to share your story with us.
Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonlie.com
JC 017: Apartments, Banking & Politics with Mike Gibbons
Michael Gibbons is on a mission to save America
Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.
John Carney: Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host John Carney, coming at you again today from Cleveland, Ohio. The goal for this show is to help the listeners raise the bar in their real estate investment game. Joining me today is a great guest, he is a mover and a shaker in the multi family world of real estate, specifically here in Northeast Ohio and I will let him talk to you about his formula for success in just a moment.
But I’d like to welcome Michael Gibbons. He is the senior managing director, principal and founder of Brown Gibbons Lang and Company. Michael provides an active senior role to client engagements and business development opportunities. Now Brown Gibbons Lang and Company, or BGL, is a leading independent investment bank serving the middle market. BGL specializes in merger and acquisitions, advisory services, debt and equity placement, financial restructuring advice and valuations and financial opinions. With global industry teams in business services, consumer, health care, industrial and real estate, BGL has offices in Chicago, here in Cleveland, Ohio, Salt Lake City and global MNA partner offices in more than 40 countries across five continents, which allows them to deliver unparalleled access to corporations, investors and opportunities globally.
So, we’re going to learn a little bit from Mike about when you scale up a business like BGL, and you get into real estate, you can certainly apply those business skills in that competitive environment of high finance to apartments.
Now, immediately prior to BGL, Michael was president and CEO of Underwood Newhouse and Company, a leading regional securities and investment banking firm in Houston, Texas. And prior to that he was senior vice president for McDonald and Company here in Cleveland. And recently, Mr. Gibbons has announced that he will be running for a spot in the US Senate right here, for a seat in northeast Ohio as well.
Welcome to the show Mike, thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to share your experience with our listeners.
Mike Gibbons: Well I’m glad to talk to you John. I want to make one correction though, we’re no longer in Salt Lake City; we’re in Irvine, California, San Antonio and Philadelphia. And that was a brief stint in Utah where we were unable to really make it work there. And it’s kind of an organic process that you go through and as you staff various locations with various skills you take advantage of that, and we’re doing that.
John Carney: Your resume is extensive. We want to drill into the real estate, and we talk a little bit about sports, we call it The Real Estate Locker Room Show basically because there’s just as fierce a competition out there in the real estate market day in and day out, probably the same in the MNA market day in and day out as you would see in the super bowl, correct?
Mike Gibbons: Well, it’s a very competitive business. I was warned many times before I started it that the likelihood of success, particularly out of Cleveland — and that’s where I wanted a family, and really commuted to Houston for four years, in a very tough environment in Houston, and came to Cleveland and said, “You know, I can’t go back to where I was,” just wasn’t the right thing for me to do, and started BGL.
I had an early setback, far greater setback for my partner, as is noted in the name of the company Brown Gibbons Lang — well Kevin Brown was a wealthy entrepreneur and had a bit of wealth from an inheritance. We had become friends and we were going to set out, with his capital support and my deal skills I developed, and form a company. Unfortunately, Kevin was killed a month and a half after we started the firm in an offshore powerboat race. Actually, the Trump race in Atlantic City. I and a number of my friends were there to watch him and he came into the restaurant where we were sitting — and actually we were playing Blackjack. First time I was ever in a casino in my life. — And he said, “Go home guys it’s too choppy.” By the time we got home, sat around for an hour or two with my family, and we got a call from one of my friends and said Kevin had been killed in the race that he wasn’t supposed to run.
And it was an unfortunate occurrence, but it created the true entrepreneurial situation where I was left with basically my capital, which was relatively insignificant at the time, and a telephone. And that’s where we started. So it’s all worked out, and it shows you what you can do in America if you just set your mind to it. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunities I had, and we tried to make the best of it.
John Carney: So just can you just tell a brief — talk about how you went from investment banking and how you stumbled into real estate and what that looked like?
Mike Gibbons: Well it really wasn’t a stumble, John. I was very interested in real estate, literally from the day I got out of graduate school. I remember I read a book called No Money Down. Since I didn’t have any money, that was an important part of where it started from. And I began acquiring with very little down payment money, had a real estate license and used my real estate license. And the commissions I’d receive on the acquisition side helped acquire various things and would buy some double houses and eventually a four-suiter.
None of those were very successful but I learned a lot. Not only did I learn how to install toilets efficiently, but I understood what it would take to really run a real estate ownership organization effectively. And the key is to building the number of units that you’re managing to where you don’t have to do all the work. Because if you try to do all the work, you’re very limited in the scope of what you can know. And I started out that way, sold those off as I was advancing in my career. But again, I always had that interest and attraction to real estate.
I was in capital markets in the financing business, advising businesses, and I was always attracted by the relative certainty of the cash flows versus the various business I was working in. And I never really had any engineering training or I really didn’t understand how manufacturing worked early on. And obviously, I’ve been in probably one of every kind of manufacturer in the nation and got to learn about their processes and how they operated over the many years I’ve been in the business. But during that period I always had an attraction to real estate. And indeed I was part of a partnership in a regional investment bank where they permitted you to make investments outside the normal scope of everyday business. And I got a couple of partners and one of them ran the real estate. And at one point we got up to a relatively significant number of multi family units that we’d owned jointly. I owned a relatively small percentage of them, of the whole enterprise. But again, expanded my knowledge just from being around and looking at properties, buying properties, financing properties.
And then as my career progressed I found myself working with real estate enterprises. And I was always — my early days were public finance, I was using tax exempt debt to do financing for various enterprises. And at that point in time, under the tax laws in the United States where you created an increase to employment you could use tax exempt financing. And the firm I was with, McDonald and Company, was a very significant underwriter of that kind of capital back in that period.
So I just learned more about the financing markets, the mathematics of financing. And ultimately kind of left public finance and moved into more financial institutes in bank, corporate finance type activities; took converted mutuals to stock, in smaller institutions and worked with REITs – a few of them that worked back in those days. And then when I went to Houston, which was supposed to be a two-year stint that turned into a four-year stint, I did it largely because McDonald and Company had gone public. They didn’t have the same cultural fit that I had felt so comfortable in while it was a partnership, and really sought that kind of partnership structure where I could own a piece and help build a company, help build something that I own.
So in doing the thing in Houston I was already — I still had my real estate partners up in northeast Ohio; we were still acquiring and improving and selling multi family during that period of time. And when I came back to Cleveland and formed BGL I was all about MNA for 20 plus years.
And right around when the crash came, actually maybe a little bit previous to that, I had consented to doing a development deal while still at BGL. It was a multi family with an older gentleman that I had established a great friendship with. I did that, saw the deficiencies in the way that they were then managing the properties, and ultimately wanted to create an organization that I could use BGL and investment bank as a platform and create an organization where we had very fine management, and kind of fit my philosophy of investing in multi family. And we’ve done that now for seven or eight years, and we’ve achieved some pretty good milestones in that period.
John Carney: So yea, hardly a stumble in. That’s a correction without understanding the whole story, for sure. But so, I suppose the important take away I got from hearing the whole timeline was you started out with single family homes, a few duplexes, probably spent some evenings there applying paint and fixing plumbing without a license–
Mike Gibbons: Many, many.
John Carney: — so that your tenants could move in the next day. And that is a familiar story with just about every single real estate investor I’ve interviewed to date.
Mike Gibbons: You’ve got to start somewhere, you know?
John Carney: You have to start somewhere. And then what does that look like today? And where —
Mike Gibbons: Well, in a week — I don’t own 100% of very many things, I have a few I own 100% of, as far as real estate dwellings. But generally we’re operating in LLCs, oftentimes it’s the partners in the investment banking business, at times we’ll take in outside investors.
And I didn’t mention this, but early in the days of Brown Gibbons Lang, having been in Cleveland, I knew a lot of the developers in the region, largely stemming from my public finance days as a matter of fact. And I was in a very good position to — down a number of REITs formations, and we took them public while I was in Houston. And the real estate investment trust business changed considerably in the early ‘90s. Prior to that, you needed a separate enterprise to manage those businesses, or to manage the real estate homes that were owned by the trust. It was a very unwieldy, difficult structure to operate in and all that changed in the early ‘90s. And because of my relationship with some of those developers, because I had as much familiarity with REIT structures as anybody probably in the Midwest at the time — I wasn’t an attorney and didn’t work in those areas, I was really an investment banker that had worked with the formation of REITs –I was called on to use some of the expertise I’d developed to advise a number of REITs and their formation, and actually model those enterprises for largely a collection of partnerships; model those pre-excel. I was using Lotus123 back in those days. And created those models and took them to Wall Street, found an underwriting team and we took a number of REITs public where I acted as the advisor, BGL acted as advisor.
Around northeastern Ohio it was Associated States and Developers Diversified, both of those were enterprises that I advised on their formation. I ended up on the board of Associated States after about ten years, became an active board member, shared financial planning and really kind of studied where real estate performance was. Being in the Midwest, it’s very much different than if you’re in the coast or in you’re in the hot growth areas. We have a housing stock here that’s a bit older than most other locations, and I was always tied to Ohio and tied to Cleveland, this is where I love to live. I had spent four years commuting, coming back here every weekend almost. Coached my daughter’s soccer team, I was an assistant coach while I was working in Houston, so I was always connected to northeastern Ohio. So the natural place to invest was northeast Ohio. But the housing stock in a city like Cleveland or around Cleveland is very much different than you’ll see on the coast or in Florida or in Atlanta or in Dallas.
Having been on the border of public multi family REIT, I kind of studied what the differences were and where I thought I could make a difference and also do well for my investors if I had them. And kind of developed a plan. And generally we’ve stuck with working class housing, is what it’s called now. I think we were lucky enough to identify that earlier in the trend, and it’s now become a topic of conferences to talk about work force housing.
And I just have a philosophy about people and about where they want to live and how they feel about living in a certain situation. And I took that philosophy and applied it to my real estate investment. I believe that every single person in the United States wants to be proud of where they live, and they want their friends and family to come over and visit them and not be embarrassed of the maintenance levels of the property that they’re living in. They want to walk through a lobby that looks like they’re prosperous and they’re living in a well maintained, well managed facility. And I think that’s true across all income levels. I don’t think it’s any different, no matter if you’re struggling in a lower wage job to you’re a wealthy person that just doesn’t want to have any duties of home ownership. And I think every level of those you can do more and more, commensurate with the level of rents and the level of profitably.
So what we look for are properties that are undermanaged or poorly maintained, and our effort is to find those, buy those cost effectively and manage them in the way I just talked about. We have a rule with our management operation: if that unit isn’t ready for your mother to move into it’s not ready to rent to somebody else. And I think a lot of businesses say they have a social responsibility too, and I think anybody that’s operating in America in business should have a feeling of social responsibility. And one of those things is I want to make our tenants lives a little better, because we do the things that need to be done when they need to be done and provide with them with a safe, clean, well maintained place to live. And some place they can be proud to bring their parents or their friends and feel comfortable going in and bringing them there into their apartment. And I think that’s a solution that’s worked for us very well.
John Carney: So would you say your approach and your philosophy has to be in some respect a point of difference; do you see a dramatic change when you buy a property that’s under managed and in need of repair. And can you just talk about the turnaround that you see with existing tenants. And then how that would compare to someone across the street or next door that just doesn’t have that same attitude about providing an environment that you’d want your own mum to live in.
Mike Gibbons: Well, you know, it doesn’t happen immediately. I think you have to convince the tenants that live there that you’re different, and it takes a while to do that, you can’t just come in — we typically don’t come in with a total rehabilitation of the project, because in many cases we just can’t afford to do that.
One of the advantages of investing in workforce housing — and I might add, not everything we have is workforce, we have some higher end properties but we don’t really have the low-income properties. We don’t have any units that would be considered low income. It’s people that work; they may not make professional level salaries, but they certainly are hardworking and they have pride in themselves. And generally you want tenants to have pride in themselves because they are going to have pride in the property that they’re living in, and they’re not going to do damage or dump litter, or they’re going to keep the place clean and not fight the management company.
Oftentimes when you see these undermanaged properties, they’re just not well managed in a number of ways. If you don’t pay your rent, and you have tenants that don’t pay their rent on time — unfortunately we’re not the government where we’re responsible for making sure that everybody has their rent payment every month. So we have very high credit standards and the reality is, is I wish I was in a position to give everybody free rent. If I was in that position it would be a wonderful thing. I try to contribute a significant portion of my income to help those kinds of people, but you can’t do that and have a business. So unfortunately, you’ve got to have people who pay their rent on time. The minute you start allowing people to live there while they aren’t paying rent — I’ve seen a lot of property owners make that mistake; so they’ll try to negotiate with the tenants and they end up defaulting on their mortgage. And you wouldn’t be interviewing me right now if I’d defaulted on a number of mortgages over a period of time. And when a relatively small percentage of your tenants aren’t paying rent you can find yourself in that position.
I’ve never defaulted on a mortgage and I don’t intend to, and the only way to be certain that that isn’t going to happen is to make sure you get cash flow under the contractual arrangement that you have with those tenants. And it’s a win/win situation: we’re going to keep the property up in good condition if they just meet the terms of their contract, which is paying their rent on time.
And oftentimes we’ll move into a turnaround situation, under managed situation, sometimes even over managed situation, where they have a few other different characteristics we can get into. But that undermanaged situation, generally they’re letting people slide by, and you’ll end up with the tenants owing multiple months’ rent, that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s when you talk about the decline of areas and properties, that’s what usually leads to it.
Everybody talks about the terrible slum landlords, well in many cases they are terrible, but oftentimes it starts where they just don’t get their rent payments. And most if not all of these projects are leveraged and they need to make mortgage payments, and if they aren’t collecting their rent they can’t make those mortgage payments. You’ve got to have a discipline about making sure people pay rent on time.
We’ve also had very good luck, where we’ll find a property that’s in disrepair and has been neglected as far as the management, or maybe the right management techniques haven’t been used and they’ll have problem tenants. You’ll have tenants that are selling drugs, or they’ll be having gatherings in front of the building and will harass other tenants as they come out. We have found that with the technology that’s available now, if we put up camera systems, generally people behave properly if they’re always on camera in the common areas. When somebody breaks a window we know who broke it. When somebody steals furniture from the lobby, we know who stole it. When somebody comes in and commits a crime on the property we can generally trace when they come in and when they leave. So we had very good luck of just getting better behaved people living in our properties. Because all people want to live in a nice property that is well maintained, and if you allow people that don’t care about that to move in you’re not going to be able to do that.
So that’s one of our initial steps, is to spend the money on camera systems, spend the money on common areas; just the general condition of the property, the street appeal of the property is very important. People want to see landscaping and green grass and nicely maintained shrubbery and lighting and everything should be well lit. You cannot have a full-time security force, it doesn’t work at the level of rents that we run at. But we’ll have — particularly when we’re turning a building around, we’ll intensify security to a certain level and if somebody is on site that’s causing a problem, generally we can have security there in pretty short order.
John Carney: Well, that’s basically a long — for the listeners that are out there that want to be in the multi family game, or anyone who’s struggling managing their own multi family, take note of what advice Mike has given us. Because that’s generally, I would imagine, almost a weekend course in property management and multi family all wrapped into a ten-minute segment, so thank you for that.
Mike Gibbons: I’m happy to do it.
John Carney: That’s great advice, well we wrap this up with a few questions that we end up posting up on the show notes. But when you were growing up as a kid, you were also a college athlete, what sports were you into? And how did you see that team sport aspect of your childhood translate into success in business?
Mike Gibbons: Well, you know, I guess I didn’t appreciate how much participating in team sports — and some individual sports too — how much they helped. But I think it’s just a general attitude of being able to get along and work with people, where you have a particular function, they have a particular function, and when everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do at the same time, things work a lot better. It’s that simple.
I played high school football and I wrestled. My father was actually a wrestling coach, I never quite achieved the level of capability that he would have wished. And I think he would have been a lot happier with me if I’d found wrestling to be my sport. But he was a great athlete, an all American national champion, and I just was never going to be that. And I also participated in track. And when I went to college, I really decided I wasn’t headed to the NFL, and although I had some looks by division one teams, I thought I was better suited — and again I wanted to stay around Ohio. The only D3 school I looked at transferring into, I waited so long to make my decision they’d already agreed to go to a school out of state. And ended up at a D3 school and was able to compete in three different sports while I was there and still go to class and maintain good grades. It was a great experience for me.
I played lacrosse and football in college. And the four years of football, and trying to compete in Ohio in football in a heavily academic school, where it was tough to get a lot of players to help this into the school. We were able to field a pretty good team. And a lot of those guys are still my friends and in each case they’ve all been successful — or I think all of them, I can’t think of any that haven’t been — but they’ve all been successful in whatever profession they decided to go in, and we often get together. We had an undefeated team in the college I went to, that was an unusual thing to have, it was the only one in the history of the school. And every one of those guys — we talk about how the coaches put us together and got us working together. We were always not as deep as the teams we were playing, as long as we didn’t have a lot of injuries we were going to do pretty well. We had people knew their roles and fulfilled them.
And it’s the same thing in real estate. It’s the same thing in investment banking. You have a job to do and you’ve got to do it as well as everybody else does their job, and it’s particularly important in real estate. You’re relying on the guys that vacuum the hallways as much as you’re relying on the people that are fixing the electrical problems or the plumbing, it’s all got to work together. And that kind of team atmosphere is the best situation you can create. And we have that right now and it’s not always that easy to achieve, you’ve got to have the right chemistry among people. But we’ve done it and it’s worked out very well.
So we’ve grown, and we’re one of the larger property owners in northeastern Ohio, and we intend to continue to grow in that area. I’ve got a couple of sons that seem interested in real estate, all of them are still in school, heading to law school and business school, but I think they’ve seen the fun I’ve had with it and the interest I’ve had in it, and I’m hoping one of those guys decides they want to follow and keep this effort going in the family. Like you’re doing John. Your family’s been in real estate for generations. I’m the first generation in mine.
John Carney: Right, and that’s just it though. It is fun. And I think it’s fun because it’s challenging, and it’s hard work and you get to surround yourself by other people that find it fun, challenging and are willing to put in the hard work. Three rapid fire questions before I let you go. We’re compiling a bit of a list. Who’s your favorite athlete – all-time?
Mike Gibbons: Well, it’s funny, because I actually know him, and this probably isn’t going to be a popular choice in Ohio. But my son-in-law, married to my daughter, played for Cleveland Browns, and so obviously, he’s probably my favorite athlete along with my father. My father was a world class athlete, just happened to be in wrestling. But my grandson’s godfather is a guy named Tom Brady. I’ve gotten to know Tom a little bit, and I’d consider him one of the — a guy with one of the finest characters — if you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, you only see this guy that comes in and destroys our team when he’s in here. I’ve gotten to know him personally and he’s kind of just a really great person. As is my son in law, as is my father.
So I guess I’ve got three of them. I would say: my dad, Jean Gibbons, and my son-in-law, Aaron Shay, and his big buddy Tom Brady. And I know each of those people pretty well, and it’s great seeing somebody in competition. Aaron’s not playing anymore, my father’s passed away, but I’ve heard the stories many times about how he competed and how good he was at what he did. And we can still watch Tom, usually in the super bowl every year. And for how much the fans of the opposing team seem to hate him, he’s really a great person and he’s a regular guy that just works harder than most everybody else.
John Carney: Yea, he works hard and he’s a leader. So I mean, two key ingredients to become a multi super bowl champion. Is there a favorite book that you have? We’re putting together a booklist out of this show.
Mike Gibbons: It probably is — I often say that there’s been a lot of books that have kind of shaped my — where I’ve ended up in life. When I was in 8th grade I read a book called God’s Gold about John D Rockefeller. I lived in a family that didn’t have a lot of extra dollars floating around the house, and I kind of set off to try to change my family’s trajectory, and I think I’ve done that to some degree.
But I can tell you what changed my whole attitude about politics. In college I majored in political science and economics, and just as most other college students, I didn’t read everything as carefully as I should have the first time I was asked to read it, but it’s become kind of a hobby for me over the last 20 odd years.
But a book called The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich von Hayek, changed my world view. My grandfather was a labor union president, my dad, who was not really about in politics, pretended to be a democrat early on. I had a grandfather that was probably even to the left of that, my mother’s father. And I didn’t really form a political view really until after I was in college and got out of college. And I have to tell you, Friedrich von Hayek influenced me. It was a rational argument that really kind of convinced me that free markets and capitalism could change the world. It has, it’s taken more people out of poverty than any other system of economics in world history and that book changed my view.
I don’t read a lot of fiction, I read a lot of non-fiction and as my best friend says, “You read the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen Mike.” But I think I’m curious, and I read a lot of things that aren’t best sellers. And it’s given me a great base of completely irrelevant and unimportant facts that I can talk about at length, and if you aren’t interested in that sort of thing I’ve got to be pretty boring. But it’s probably the book that changed my life.
John Carney: That’s good. And we’ll link that in the show notes on our website. Well we’ve run a little bit over. If you have a couple of minutes would you like to share your thoughts on your decision to enter into a big political campaign?
Mike Gibbons: Yea, and it took a long time and it was a decision that was very difficult to make. And I’ve said this many times, but I wish I could have found somebody with similar world experiences than me that would have been willing to run. My last son graduated from college a month ago, not even a month ago. My commitment to my children has changed as they grow up. I’ve got more time. I’ve got a son that graduated from Georgia Tech with honors in aerospace engineering, which if you know anything about Georgia Tech and having a degree in that field, he had great job prospects, and he went down and joined the navy and is in Pensacola now in flight training. And I think the combination of that and kind of having my last child graduate from college — I don’t need to focus on my kids as much as I used to. It got me thinking. And he’s adamant about wanting to help his country and defend his country, and I came to the realization that I’ve never really tried to do anything for my country directly. I’ve created hundreds of jobs over the years, and I’ve taken the risks necessary to create those, but I’ve never really given back to this country the way it’s given to me. And I’ve had — there’s been some opportunities, taken advantage of it that I hope everybody can have that same opportunity.
And I don’t like the direction our country is headed. I don’t like the politicians that we’re electing to office. I think we have too many career politicians who really have no experience and they’re very good at winning elections and raising funds to win elections but they really don’t have any day to day knowledge of what it takes to make this country thrive.
The government doesn’t create jobs, business creates jobs. And being a business man who recognizes his own capabilities and is not just out for some kind of an ego trip, that really wants to ensure that our governments can use the principles that made our country as great as it is, and not forego those and pick up on the latest ism that’s out there, the latest cause that somebody comes up with. And really kind of keeps the country directed where it’s — in a direction that’s gotten us where we are right now. And I’m going to try and do that. I promised my wife and my kids I wouldn’t change one iota. I tend to be blunt, and I don’t — I’m not a political soundbite guy. And I want to take that kind of an attitude. I’m going to try to get to Washington and actually tell the truth.
Because this country is in a very serious predicament right now: we’ve got national debt 105% of our GNP. The only time it’s ever been greater than that was after we fought a world war. And the difference is the end of that world war we hit 50% of the industrial capacity of the world. We don’t have that anymore. We have got to grow this country. If we don’t grow 3 or 4 percent over the next many years we’re in serious trouble. We’ve got to address that and there’s ways to address that that our politicians just don’t want to talk about. And they may have the soundbites, they really haven’t developed an argument and understand why we have to do that. Because right now we have enough debt that we’re either going to have to default on it, or we’re going to have to grow the country so that becomes a less significant portion of the GNP, that debt. Or we’re going to have to inflate our way out of it. And the very people that won’t allow this country to grow are the ones — the people that they’re claiming they’re protecting and representing. And they’re going to be the ones that are most hurt in that inflationary environment, if that’s what we end up doing.
But we’ve got to grow the country. I think I know how to do that. I think I know how businesses are formed. I think I know what stands in the way of their prospering. And I think our government has to ease off on those businesses. I think we have to lower tax rates for businesses and get people to create jobs and make sure that those lower tax rates are tied to people that are really taking risks of job formation. And if we do that, we can super charge this economy and we won’t head down the path that so many countries have that have tried this kind of foray into socialism. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked, ever. And they keep saying, “Oh well if we do it right..” There is no right way to do socialism. And even if you want equality in a country, you’re not going to have freedom. And I think that freedom and the fact that everybody gets a shot at opportunity here is what we need to make sure it continues in the future. I’m going to try and do that. And that’s really why I’m doing it.
I’m not a career politician, never thought about it before. If I could have found somebody better to run, I would have certainly supported them and would rather help them in their quest for office. But I can’t find anybody because they aren’t willing to take the considerable risk that comes along with running for office. And I just said –you know, they can make up stories, or they can come up with something they somehow will twist in my background that will make — try to make me look unacceptable to the voters, but I’m willing to take that shot. I think I’ve never done anything unethical in my business career and I’m proud of that, and I’m willing to take anything they can come up with because it won’t be true. So, long story short, I’m doing it because I can’t find anybody else that has my experiences to run and to support. So I’m going to do it myself. I’m the one that complains, I might as well take a shot. That’s what it comes down to John.
John Carney: There you go. That’s the American story. I wish you nothing but luck in your race for the US senate Mike. Alright, well that wraps it up. Thank you for joining me in the locker room today Mike. Where can the audience find more about you if they want to reach out or contact you online?
Mike Gibbons: Sure. Well I’ll give you our firm website is: bglco.com and we’ve got a good bit of information on there. We’ve been around for 28 years, just found out that we are among the top five most recognizable names in middle market investment banking in the United States. I’m very proud of that. They said it couldn’t be done in Cleveland; we managed to put it together and do it. And then my website for my campaign is: gibbonsforohio.com
And we’ve only been at this a couple of weeks, so positions aren’t filled out, but there’s a video on there that will pretty much summarize what I’m about. And I hope the listeners watch that because it’s — I want to be that new politician that our founders envisioned and not the career politician that unfortunately we’re forced to vote for now. We really have no choice because those are the only people that are running.
John Carney: Get in, get the change going, and then hand it over to the next generation. There you have it folks, I am sure that you picked up some actionable advice today from Mr. Michael Gibbons. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play and hit that subscribe button to ensure that you never miss out on the pro tips from our great guests. The post-game report show notes, links and additional content for this episode will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast when this episode is live next week. And while you’re visiting the website, feel free to drop your email address into the newsletter sign up form to receive even more real estate investing insights, tips, tricks, hacks and other good stuff. Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun and stay in the game. I’m your host John Carney and until next week: work hard, play hard, and profit hard.
One more time, thank you very much Mr. Gibbons, for taking the time out of your busy schedule and your campaign to join us. Have a great day.
© John Carney 2017
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