Insights From REBA's Own - Jason Whittington
As REBA’s Chief Technology Officer, he oversees the company’s technology strategy and drives the delivery of cutting-edge solutions to our customers; which is fitting, given that his passion for innovation has been Jason’s driving motivator throughout his lengthy multifamily career.
“Innovation is being able to apply technology and process to the challenges that the
business is facing, and the industry has many such interesting opportunities right now.
Rents are rising, occupancy is at an all-time high, and management companies are really successful,
which makes it hard for them to prioritize innovation in those kinds of environments,
but it’s necessary for their future.”
But it’s not every day you meet a former U.S. Army Tank Commander in multifamily... so what led Jason to the industry, you ask? His wife of 20 years, Beth.
After completing his 6 years of service stationed in KY, KS, and South Korea while dating long-distance, Jason decided to propose. But he felt like he needed a job before asking his father-in-law for his blessing. So, while apartment hunting, they dropped a lease application and a job application off at the same community. And so began Jason’s 20+ years of multifamily experience.
Jason's on-site leasing experience drove his curiosity and pursuit of innovative solutions for the industry. At Freehauf Consulting, he left property management for a time and helped guide their multifamily clients with better systems, software, and analytics before stepping into leadership roles at Gene B. Glick Company where he oversaw most support departments and led the in-house business intelligence platform build. He’s a tech and data-driven guy through and through and is eager to share his insights.
Get to know Jason better below and see how a small-town farm kid from Indiana skipped Hollywood for a shot at changing the multifamily industry one innovation at a time.
1. Describe yourself in a hashtag.
2. What is the most adventurous thing you've done in your life?
Signing up for the Army as an Armor Crewman was probably the craziest, most adventurous thing I’ve done.
3. What superpower would you want?
I’ve always thought that the power of flight would be the one to choose so I could get to places more quickly without having to sit in a car or on a plane. I love to travel so I would use it to get all over the world.
4. What's inspiring you in life right now?
Having 2 teenage boys and understanding that the window of having them here at home is slowly closing. I am doing my best to be intentional about taking advantage of the time that we have left before they head out and start their own lives.
My eldest's nickname is “the sheriff” he wants to know what the rules are so he can make sure he’s following them and that everyone else is too. My youngest is a little bit more adventurous and pushes the boundaries more.
5. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
I’m definitely a coffee every morning guy & my wife and I are big fans of wine.
We don’t have a wine cellar yet but do have lots of cases of wine in the basement. We like to pair reds a lot with food & whites when we sit on the porch. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in Napa enjoying some of our favorite wines and discovering new ones. We also just got back from Portugal where we enjoyed all the Vinho Verde.
6. What is the best piece of advice you've received?
I try to live by the Golden Rule the most – treat others the way you would like to be treated.
7. Which book should everyone read?
Where The Red Fern Grows is a book from my childhood but, every time I come across it, I remember how much I loved it.
From a business perspective, The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly, talks about how businesses now need to play a role in society as well. A business’ purpose shouldn't just be about how to make as much money as possible for its shareholders, but they should have a greater purpose in business as well. What is a business’ noble purpose that goes beyond the next sale?
8. What is a quote or affirmation you live by today?
My faith is important to me, so I rely on that in situations where I do need affirmation. I usually find that getting it from other sources isn’t always very fulfilling.
9. What’s your favorite time of day?
I am a morning person during the week, but a night owl on the weekends.
10. What is one thing no one knows about you?
At 11, I was recruited to be the lead in the Hollywood movie Freckles. I was playing in an All-Star baseball tournament in Indiana and a person I’d never met before walked up to me and asked if I had any experience in school plays or acting. The agent then proceeded to ask me whether I would audition for the role. I didn’t pursue the opportunity in the end.
*Questions inspired by Vogue’s 73 Questions Video Series.