One of the most intriguing things about the affordable housing industry is learning how people got their start. Some people stumble upon it by chance, and some learn about the tax credit industry over time and choose to go in that direction. For Dustin Mills, President of the Taft-Mills Group in Greenville, NC, it was a little bit of both. “Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to build,” Dustin explained. “I’ve always liked the idea of constructing something that will exist for decades and knowing I was responsible for it getting there.”
Just five days after completing his undergraduate studies at Wingate University, Dustin started his first job with a small affordable housing developer. “It’s hard to find a development job after graduating from college without having any industry relevant experience. I took the first one I could find, and it happened to be with a small developer that worked with tax credits. I didn’t even know what they were when I first started working there.” Little did Dustin know, his first job out of college would begin his 22-year long career in the affordable housing industry – and counting.
During his journey, Dustin formed a strategic partnership with Tom Taft, Sr., a Greenville, NC, based developer, to form the Taft-Mills Group. For over five years now, they have developed, constructed, and managed affordable rental housing that blends seamlessly into the communities in which they are located. “I’m so proud to be part of a team that delivers affordable housing with such a high level of quality that people can’t distinguish it from market-rate housing. At the end of each day, I can go home knowing that people are being positively impacted by the work we’re doing. It’s inspiring to me.”
Another thing that’s inspiring? “Our ever-evolving industry. It has its challenges but that is what’s exciting about it. It’s possible that we’ll always have to battle to justify what we do, but affordable housing is good for the community and will continue to be a rewarding process. It’s also great to see affordable housing become a positive platform in the political world – it wasn’t always like that.”
CAHEC is proud to have wonderful partners like Dustin and the Taft-Mills Group. “CAHEC truly personifies the term ‘partner’ because no matter what challenges we face, I know I can count on them.” Dustin said. “It’s critically important in business to have a great partner, and CAHEC always ensures we find a solution that is mutually beneficial.”
Read the article at CAHEC.com