Interview With DMA Compaines President and Owner Diana McIver
By: Capstone Team - 9/19/18
We are excited to share with you our recent interview with DMA Compaines President and Owner Diana McIver. Diana has been involved in the real estate industry, specializing in affordable housing, for 40 years. She founded DMA Development Company, LLC, DMA Properties, LLC, and DMA Property Advisors, LLC, as well as precursors Diana McIver & Associates, Inc. and Conroy & McIver. She serves as the General Partner in more than 25 housing partnerships, totaling more than 2200 apartments and has assisted smaller organizations with capacity building. She was recognized by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s Top Ten Influential Women in Affordable Housing in 2016 and was named Member of the Year 2014 by the Texas Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (TALHFA). She was also recipient of the Jean MacDonald Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 by the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers (TAAHP) and of the 2012 Community Vision Award from the Austin Chapter, American Institute of Architects. Lastly, she received Congressional Appointment in 2001 to the 14-member Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Care Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century. She currently serves on the Board of the TALHFA where, as second Vice President, she chairs its Legislative Committee.
1. Tell us about DMA Companies and what inspired you to start this boutique real estate firm.
In 1998, I noticed a dearth of affordable housing options in the rural and smaller communities of Texas and decided to create a development company to develop and own affordable housing in these communities, which was quite a challenge. I discovered that I liked to tailor the housing to blend with the community and that I had an aversion to “cookie cutter” deals – even though they would most likely have been more profitable. This ability to do “one off” deals has made us an attractive partner to planned communities and special initiatives. As an example, we have just completed a mixed-use, mixed-income development at Mueller – Aldrich 51 – and will begin construction shortly on a mixed-use development with Travis County that will include 146 units of rental housing, 80,000 square feet of County office space and a shared parking garage.
2. As President and Owner, how do you ensure your team members are carrying out your company’s values as a mission-driven company?
I’m fortunate to have a strong and experienced leadership team who share DMA’s mission and pass these values along to our leaders-in-waiting. These values are so ingrained in our corporate culture that sometimes when I hear team members talking, I wonder if I’m actually a ventriloquist!
3. Where do you see the affordable housing market trending in Austin?
Austin has such a shortage of rental housing affordable to young families, seniors and the workforce in general that will only continue to worsen as our population grows. We need to be particularly smart in our location of affordable housing to ensure that it is near places of employment, preferably walkable or with easy access to transit. I’m particularly excited that we are about to begin construction on the redevelopment of the Rebekah Baines Johnson campus just north of Lady Bird Lake. Once completed this 18 acre-tract will include more than 500 affordable apartments for seniors, market-rate residences, and office and retail, all very walkable and with great access to transit.
4. DMA Companies does so much for the community. What initiatives does your company feel most passionate about?
We support any initiatives that support our residents; their success is important to us. Personally, my favorite initiative is our scholarship program available to the residents of our apartment communities. The Camile Pahwa Scholarship Fund was established in 2010 in memory of one of DMA’s outstanding young leaders – Camile Pahwa – who died of lymphoma at the young age of 32. Camile was a strong proponent of education and each year we award between $3,000 and $7,500 in scholarships to our residents for higher and continuing education, educational summer camps and senior education programs. The results are heartwarming.
5. Lastly, what’s your absolute favorite Austin activity you recommend to those visiting the city
I’m a fan of Austin’s sunsets and beautiful evening skies. And the great thing is that you can enjoy these beautiful sunsets whether you are out hiking or biking or simply enjoying a glass of your favorite beverage at one of Austin’s many outdoor cafes or bars.