Jack Geary

by Lia
jack geary

MKI Affiliation:

MKI Instructor and Mentor




Jack Geary Consulting


Jack Geary has always been a self-proclaimed numbers nerd. As a child growing up in Old Colony public housing, he claims that he was only invited to play baseball with the other kids because he could calculate batting averages better than anyone else. This proclivity translated well when he got a spot in a competitive property management rotation program through the Boston Housing Authority. Since being exposed to the world of affordable housing and property management, Jack has had an impressive career spanning both coasts and now works as a consultant to share his knowledge and skills gained.

Another one of Jack’s strengths is supporting and developing skills of people in the community development field. He reminisces, “when I worked at Urban Edge, we had these property managers [that were residents of] the community. And they were so smart. And they said, ‘I don't know how to do a budget’ and I said, ‘you’re a single mother of five kids. You know how to do a budget’. Let's just translate those skills to property management.” As for becoming an instructor at the Mel King Institute, Jack first met Mel himself during Mel’s political career.

When MKI was first founded, he recognized that the Institute was filling an important gap in professional education in the community development field. He was then able to teach his first iteration of Nuts and Bolts of Asset Management, which occurred on a frigid winter day hosted at Madison Park Development Corporation. Thankfully, the students stayed for the full day of training, and Nuts and Bolts has become his favorite class to teach at MKI. This course is the first training of a larger certification that asset managers can obtain through Certified Housing Asset Management (CHAM). Jack has now branched out to teach a variety of real estate focused MKI courses, and even serves as a mentor for the NeighborWorks Strengthening Leadership program.

A lot has changed in the property management world over the course of Jack’s career. One major pattern he’s seen is the importance of nonprofits to pay attention to the details of compliance and tax credit administration as well as stay true to their missions. In his words, “A lot of the nonprofits saw that there are all these rules that came with tax credits. And it's because people have a lot of money at stake…I think the industry had to learn that we had to have the mission, but also to be operational as a business…At the same time, that that we were not forgetting our mission.” At the time, property managers focused on occupancy and rent collection, but what they needed was more knowledge about the details of tax credit compliance. This information gap is part of what led to his teaching Nuts and Bolts as part of the CHAM certification.

Jack has had a distinguished career in community development and property management, and he recommends the hard but rewarding work to those considering entering the field. For him, “I felt that I went home on Fridays, and I felt exhausted, but I felt like every bit of energy that I put out, did something and really helped somebody build something. It was this cumulative effect.” Although the work is never going to be easy, being involved in community development is ultimately rewarding.