“I believe in changing the world one home at a time.”
Shawn McIntyre is the kind of person that reminds you that there is still good in this world—and that maybe you need to up the ante on your extracurricular activities. When we spoke with him, he was heading to El Salvador for a week, but not to look at property or for a (probably much-needed) vacation. He’s traveling with a group of physicians to provide medical care to the underserved population there, helping to coordinate the logistics; things like transportation, food and safe places to sleep. He’s been doing it every year for eight years, taking a week out of his schedule to travel south with a plane full of vital medicines. He also helps to sponsor a village in the Northern Andes Mountains in Peru for prenatal and infant care. Additionally, he’s a Partner here at NAP.
Oh, and he sits on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Lee County, Florida; he’s the chapter’s 2017 Chairman.
Ask him why he dedicates himself and his time to all of these causes, and he’ll answer, simply, “Because I believe in them, and because I can”. It’d be easy to just write a check (granted, he says he does that too at times). But Shawn makes it pretty clear he’s not interested in easy—not in his philanthropic endeavors or his professional ones.
“My saying with everybody that works with me is, ‘Give me the hardest thing to do, and I’ll do it’,” Shawn says. Take a look at The Lumberyard near Florida State University in Tallahassee (an NAP project he spearheaded), and you’ll see that principle in action. The student housing development sits on the site of the former J.H. Dowling lumberyard—a family-owned business in operation since the 1950s. “Other developers had offered them more money to just close down and leave,” Shawn explains. But Shawn helped them find and develop a new location, then traded Dowling the deed to their new place for the old one. (Read more about this unique arrangement here). “It proved just how much we care about existing local businesses; we’re not just trying to push them out,” Shawn asserts. “It’s about discipline and respect,” he says.
Shawn’s work with Habitat for Humanity brings all the pieces of his life and career together and into focus—a job in real estate, a commitment to philanthropy, and a respect for the virtues of hard work that comes in part from his service in the U.S. Navy.
“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up, as the saying goes,” Shawn explains. “What that means is Habitat doesn’t just give away homes; families have to put in ‘sweat equity’ (spending time building their own home and their neighbors’) and they pay a mortgage, but it’s a zero-interest loan based on what they are able to afford.” Additionally, Shawn and his wife have personally sponsored several homes. The result? Fifty to 60 new homes each year for families in need.
There’s a common factor in the way he conducts business that he attributes to his success—whether facilitating medical treatment overseas, building homes with Habitat or developing property for NAP: “It comes down to character and doing the right thing.”