July 19, 2016
BE Modern Man: Meet “The Developer” Rich Domond
Name: Richardson Domond
Profession: Residential and Commercial Real Estate Developer
One Word That Describes You: Consistent
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
To be recognized in such a list is truly a blessing. When I hear of Black Enterprise, I think of it as the bible for black businesses and entrepreneurs. Now, paired with BE Modern Man, it’s a sense of pride seeing men looking like me being successful in their industry and to it is an honor to be a part of this distinguished list. It reasserts that I am moving in the right direction. And gives me that affirmation that the decisions I’ve made in my career thus far have been right, and there is just more to come.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I would have to say the end of 2008 and 2009 was one of the most difficult years for my business as well as my personal life. At the time the real estate market had suffered one of the biggest collapses in U.S. economic history and I had a number of deals on the table that all went under because banks were not lending. And to top it off, I lost my mother to cancer. I looked at the entire situation and had a complete breakdown. I allowed myself to accept the loss, acknowledge it, remember it, and press ahead. Because in life you can’t wallow in sorrow. Sometimes we learn our greatest life lessons in the midst of suffering. I realized at that time I had to do for myself. I needed to reinvent myself in order to get back into the market that had afforded me so many victories. There was no one to turn to for help but God. My family didn’t sacrifice to bring me to this country to make excuses; they brought me here to make something of myself for my future. I had ambition and a vision to jump back in and be better than I had been.
What I did was look at a way to remain in the real estate world but with less financial risk and create something that would be profitable so I can get back into construction when the time was right. At the time, I had rental properties with tenants who needed to be removed, and I was going to different county courts filling out all the paperwork to start the eviction process. I then realized how time consuming that process has been for a landlords and management companies especially if they had multiple units that required removals of tenants. I built relationships with property management companies and hired attorneys and essentially created Eviction Team, which offers affordable tenant removals for midsize landlords. Once I was seeing profit from the business, I jumped right back into buying and renovating properties one at a time—paying specific attention to location, craftsmanship, contemporary designs, and high quality homes. That was when I realized the value in having a diversified portfolio in order to remain afloat. I vowed to take time and effort to create other avenues of income to ensure my businesses will have other cash flow that if one doesn’t perform there are others to take the weight off the underperforming entities.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Having a positive outlook, similar priorities, and ambition are qualities I look for in relationships. Individuals who are able to make decisions without excuses even when things don’t go their way. People who are doers not talkers. Someone who is able to show their character through actions and not words. A lot of people base all their knowledge on theory, research, and being mentored yet have a failure to launch. During my time in this world, I want to make an impact, therefore what I do and whom I do it with has to be meaningful. They need to be able to go out there and take chances once they know what they want to do. I see you doing that I will respect it to the upmost and support you in all you do as a friend. What I won’t do is listen to people speak about what they “want” to do or what they “can” do and make excuses as to why they haven’t done it.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Currently we are expanding the portfolio to include several new constructions from the ground up with land acquisition and pending architectural design approvals. We also have broadened our property acquisitions to include highly sought after affluent neighborhoods. However, our biggest project to date is a mixed-use commercial property approximately 7,000-square-feet, that will consist of luxury apartment homes and a Caribbean farm-to-table restaurant in New Jersey.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was a French proverb “La patience est amere, mais son fruit est doux” which in English means “Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet. At the time, when my friend made that comment to me, I was in the heat of working on multiple projects that required a lot from me, which in turn applied pressure on my team that may have been premature. I was a novice in the game and was taking every deal that came my way because I knew what my end game was, but I wasn’t taking into consideration manpower and stress levels when overextending myself. I had to take a step back and realize there will always be “good deals” and that I didn’t need to take every one of them just to speed up the process of achieving that milestone in my vision board.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
If you really want to go out there to make a difference don’t go out there looking for any accolades and living up to peoples perceived idea of making a difference or being successful. Create your own definition of happiness and every day you will measure up to goals and standards that are attainable by you. Most importantly, you have to be in it for the right reasons. That way, when other men see you being genuine with your intentions and interactions—whether it is in business or personal relationships—it can do nothing but inspire them to do the same. Being true to who you are is the best suit you can ever wear. A lot of these young men out there are trying to define what it means to be a man making a difference in a positive light while maintaining their unique identity in a world that seems to have the chips stacked against them. It’s your decision not to allow circumstances to stop you, instead make that be your motivation to succeed. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s what you want, what your definition of “happiness and success” is, and not someone else. Or you will find yourself living up to impossible measures of happiness because it really wasn’t YOUR definition.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I’m a firm believer in always being ready for the unexpected. In my line of business there is always someone wanting to invest in real estate, or who has a friend of a friend who would like to talk to me about the business. In my experience, those conversations sometimes can turn into a future buyer or a conduit for other business opportunities down the road. So being able to speak candidly about the business at a moment’s notice is the key. As much as I am on my job sites making sure things are running smoothly, at the end of my night, I always set aside time to review my project status, budget, etc., as well devoting time for researching the industry domestically and internationally so I am familiar with the trends and develop my own forecasting as it relates to construction development.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
Unwind time is the key to my growth as an entrepreneur. It’s funny, when people know you as a business owner, especially real estate; you are always called upon for advice. So being able to go away to a place where no one knows you, and you can have that time is priceless. The best vacation was a time I went to Barbados. I literally only planned the flight and villa and when I got there just depended on instinct and my local driver for what to do while out in Barbados. I’ve taken trips in the past with all the bells and whistles and enjoyed my time there also, but there was just a calming feeling when I woke up in the morning and was served the local food like flying fish, cou cou, and boil plantain; relaxed in the pool for a couple of hours and went to the local hangout in Oistins and just shot the breeze with the local people in bar. It was very refreshing.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would have to be honest and say Haiti, my country of birth, is where I would stay. I do travel there, but haven’t stayed for a long period of time. Not to say I don’t see myself doing that in the future, but there is nowhere else I can see myself staying other than the La Perle Des Antilles—it means everything to me. When I left Haiti at a young age and came to America, I knew somewhere down the line I would be back to build something, maybe that is where the real estate buzz came from. However, when I returned as an adult the island had changed so much and that’s when I knew there was opportunity for me in the future to do something great in Haiti. Haiti is rich in culture and its landscape, from the beaches to the mountains and the food whose influence stem from Africa it’s a beautiful island that continues to experience growth; others are finally appreciating the island and it is being seen as a travel destination.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Sometimes you have to risk it all in order to make that deal go through. Believe in yourself. Believe in your brand. Remember, patience, discipline, and consistency is an attribute that you must have in this world to remain relevant and respected. I’ve been involved in acknowledging the people who have been there with you through the ups and downs shows you have humility and appreciation for their input in building the business. I certainly didn’t do this alone and I thank each every one of you who’s worked with me along the way. Building a strong team is a necessity in having a successful business and at this point, I am very lucky to have a core team that has been very instrumental in the continued goals Heritage Legacy Holdings has achieved thus far. I hope that my interactions with individuals are meaningful because I want my time here to be impactful by leaving people feeling confident in whatever mission they have in life.
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