Ryan Hurley of Hurley Development: An Entrepreneur with a Mission

Ryan Hurley is the CEO and founder of Hurley Development, a commercial real estate development company based in Vancouver, WA. Hurley started this company over 10 years ago, with the mission of bringing life to Vancouver. ‘Bring Life’ also happens to be his company’s mission statement. For Hurley, a good mission statement is essential for success, as it is a short but broad description of the company’s ethos. Hurley Development’s mission statement is reflective of the company’s culture, and indirectly a reflection of Hurley’s own mindset.

Hurley was born and raised in Vancouver. He appreciates the city’s role in his life and how it got him to where he is today. So, when Hurley decided to start his company, he wanted to build on a mission statement that was easy to remember and highly applicable to their work. After considering multiple alternatives, he ultimately decided on the simple but powerful ‘Bring Life.’ For him, it met the two key requirements of a good mission statement, unforgettability, and applicability.

“To me, a mission statement needs to be rememberable for the ethos of the company and the institution to really live by,” Hurley shared. He says with confidence that there is not one person in his office that does not know the mission statement and what it stands for.

A good mission statement also signals to the company’s customers and business partners what to expect. Which is why it needs to be simple. However, at the same time, it needs to be powerful and directive.

Anyone who manages a business knows that flexibility is important for running a successful operation. In life, no matter how much planning and preparing you do, you never truly know what is coming next. And it is for this reason that flexibility is a crucial aspect of Hurley’s business strategy. In his line of work, uncertainty is just around the corner. There are times when he might have to redesign a project or find new tenants at the last minute. A small change to the market or timing can cause a big shift and they might have to start all over again.

The simplicity and breadth of his company’s mission statement allow for that flexibility. “The idea of bringing life is very broad and it allows me to flexibly change and modify and grow and redirect so much. I love flexibility, it is my best friend in this business,” Hurley said. However, flexibility does not mean that Hurley strays away from his overarching mission.

“It also provides guardrails,” said Hurley. These constraints have allowed the company to remain true to its purpose over the years. Hurley’s work provides him with purpose in life, and he is careful that this purpose is not tainted by collaborating with the wrong partners. Just because Hurley believes capital has no personality does not mean he will pursue profit at the cost of his principles. “There are groups that offer capital that we just don’t agree with, or individuals and groups that don’t value important things about community and people and as a result we just can’t partner with them,” shared Hurley.

The quality that he looks for in the people that he partners up with is generosity above all else. “I value generosity above many other things, and it’s different than giving. It’s a state of being,” he said. He firmly believes that the impact of generosity is boundless and ongoing, and far more impressive than any other human act. In his everyday life, he tries to incorporate it more and more every day, it’s like fuel for him he shared.

Hurley appreciates that his mission statement manifests itself in multiple ways. It has translated into him choosing projects that ultimately enhance the potential of Vancouver. Hurley believes in the untapped potential in Vancouver’s downtown area and has initiated and completed multiple projects there, which have greatly rejuvenated the locality.

“What I love about it is that bringing life can happen in so many ways. It happens when we activate and remodel a older building, or repurpose an asset that’s in an economically challenged area of our city. Our team feels a powerful sense of accomplishment when we drive by these kinds of projects every day,” he said.

When Hurley is about to undertake a new project, the first step is to conduct studies on the impact of the project on the community. These studies are designed to assess the overall economy of a project, the direct and indirect employment opportunities it creates, and any tax benefits that may come with it. This holistic assessment allows him to make a value judgment about each project, things that can be improved, and if all looks good, they can be proud of the result.

Another advantage of his mission statement’s broadness is that it is open for interpretation by his team. The input he receives from his employees allows him to appreciate different perspectives on the meaning of ‘Bring Life’ and increases his team’s involvement in the process. “There are things that are life-giving to them, that are life-giving from their perspective, and they bring it to me,” he said.

Hurley and his company also bring life to the community through multiple philanthropic efforts. Recently, Hurley helped raised funds for a mobile pantry for FISH Vancouver, a local food bank fighting to eradicate hunger. The project was capital intensive, so Hurley rallied the community and together they raised enough funds for the mobile pantry, with the biggest donation coming from Hurley himself. Each of his employees also gets to choose charities they want to help and volunteer at these places during office hours. In the past, this policy has created multiple avenues for bringing life to the community.

Hurley recognizes that bringing life to a community is a big undertaking. He also knows that he is not perfect, mistakes can and do happen. For this, he has a simple fix – humility. If you are willing to admit you were wrong, people are more forgiving.

In more than ten years of his company’s life, Hurley has stood by these principles, which is why his company continues to thrive while enjoying the trust of the community.

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