Blokable Opens California Office and Taps Manufacturing and Real Estate Investment Veterans to Expand Production and Develop Housing Pipeline
Dec. 17, 2019
Tesla and Ford Alum Jeff Robinson Joins as VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain; CalSTRS and CalPERS Real Estate Investment Veteran Jim Hurley Joins as Director of Real Estate Finance
Seattle, WA – Blokable, the vertically integrated developer that builds high-quality, low-cost, and connected housing, announced today that it has opened its California corporate office in the City of Sacramento. Blokable also announced that Jeff Robinson, formerly of Tesla and Ford, will lead the company’s manufacturing expansion and housing pipeline development and will be joined by CalPERS and CalSTRS veteran Jim Hurley, who will lead real estate finance.
“California is ground zero for the country’s housing crisis and this is where solutions are most needed. Our vertically integrated business model is the only way to drive down costs and unlock the equity required to force the housing market to work for everyone. We’re building an exceptional team here in California in order to scale where scale is most needed.” said Nelson Del Rio, Co-CEO of Blokable.
“Blokable is a top tier, venture backed startup using innovative technology to address one of the biggest challenges of our time. By re-imagining the development process to create affordable housing through public-private partnerships, the company can bring creative solutions to the entire state,” says Barry Broome, President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. “Blokable’s decisions to locate offices and manufacturing operations in Greater Sacramento will not only drive investment and jobs in the region, but will also give our region the opportunity to be on the front lines of solving the mounting housing crisis.”
The new office is the first step in the company’s plans to scale its footprint in California, the state with the largest housing deficit in the nation. It’s estimated that California needs to build 3.5 million housing units by 2025 to close the current housing gap. Blokable’s Sacramento office will be home to the company’s growing product development team, led by VP of Product Timothy Miller, as well as the manufacturing and real estate finance teams led respectively by new hires Robinson, VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain, and Hurley, Director of Real Estate Finance.
Serving as Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Robinson is responsible for the manufacturing strategy and implementation at Blokable. He is also tasked with leading the supply chain and the development required to scale Blokable products and facilities. Prior to joining Blokable, Robinson spent over 20 years at Ford Motor Co. followed by approximately 3 years at Tesla Inc. While working at Ford VO (vehicle operations) as an assembly manager in both Final Assembly and Body Assembly, Robinson honed his skill set in flexible manufacturing and quality systems and leadership. He also held positions as Plant Engineering Manager, Lean Transition Manager, and ultimately as Manager of F-150 Quality.
During his tenure at Tesla as the Senior Manager of Quality, Robinson utilized his extensive knowledge of flexible manufacturing and quality systems to further Tesla’s mission of catalyzing sustainable energy in the transportation sector during its initial production phase of Model S and launch of the SX assembly line (2013 – 2015). Robinson also provided strategic quality development advice that led to manufacturing accomplishments for the company. Between Tesla and Blokable, Robinson also spent time at two other start up electric vehicle companies — first as Global Director of Quality at Faraday Future Inc., where he developed the company’s Global Quality Policy and standards, as well as providing leadership and direction for the Quality Engineering team, and second, as Vice President of Manufacturing and Quality at Chanje Energy Inc. Robinson was responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the company’s manufacturing and quality vision, as well as fostering support for the company’s unique culture.
Robinson joined Blokable to leverage his manufacturing talents and experience in a new environment. He brings with him his unique leadership style and professional insight of transferable manufacturing principles and concepts. Through strategic planning and the proper application of manufacturing principles, Robinson and his team will help Blokable redefine how “affordable housing” is interpreted.
As the Director of Real Estate Finance, Hurley will structure Blokable project financing and develop real estate funds for the company’s market rate and affordable housing work. As the company develops partnerships and finances individual projects, he will establish the financial models and secure financing for these projects, and also structure the funds where Blokable can build more programmatically.
Hurley has 27 years of experience as a fiduciary and advisor in the institutional real estate industry. From 2008 to 2017, he served in management positions in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System investment office leading teams responsible for the acquisition and management of real estate investments. From 1999 to 2007, he managed the multifamily investment portfolio for California State Teachers’ Retirement System growing the portfolio from 2,000 units to 46,000 units. From 1990 to 1999, he was a Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle with responsibility for a portfolio of $800 million in real estate investments.
Since launching in 2016, Blokable has reinvented the development process with a global first — a vertical platform that integrates design, planning, permitting, almost complete off-site manufacturing, delivery, on-site construction, and ongoing operational support into one transparent and easily managed service. The Blokable Building System allows standardized manufacturing while creating endless site variation. Combining physical standardization with a vertically integrated business model, Blokable drastically reduces the cost and time of developing real estate while delivering a higher quality product that lowers long-term operating and maintenance costs.
Blokable’s project partners include land owners, investors, and nonprofit housing service providers who are looking for more efficient alternatives to traditional development. The company’s process creates lower cost real estate projects that generate real estate equity for itself and its partners in market rate projects and in the community via nonprofit projects.
The proprietary Blokable Building System, currently built in the company’s first factory in Vancouver, Washington, unlocks previously unavailable efficiencies through just-in-time manufacturing of standardized, prefabricated components called Bloks. The Bloks are easily combined and stacked into a variety of configurations and floor plans ideal for both market rate and affordable multi-family housing as well as hotels.
Founded by real estate and technology industry veterans, Blokable is a self-performing developer that expands prosperity and equity in communities by building high-quality, low-cost, connected housing at scale. Blokable offers the world’s first vertically integrated development platform — from design, planning, financing, and permitting, to almost-complete manufacturing, delivery, on-site construction, and ongoing operational support. For land owners and investors, nonprofit housing service providers, and municipalities, Blokable offers a turnkey alternative to the costly and inefficient traditional development process. By turning development into a transparent, precise, and easily managed service, Blokable disrupts housing creation models that maximize industry profits at the expense of communities. Blokable’s one-stop solution de-risks and accelerates the creation of affordable and energy efficient housing where it is needed most, while giving its partners certainty on cost, product, and quality from day one.
Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC) was awarded one Gold Rank and two Bronze Ranks in the 2021 Excellence in Economic Development awards. GSEC won two awards related to its #NextOutWest campaign: a Gold Rank in the category of Digital Media for the multichannel marketing and PR campaign and a Bronze Rank in the category of Multimedia/Video Promotion for its campaign video. Finally, the organization was awarded a Bronze Rank in the category of Talent Development and Retention for its Digital Upskill Sacramento program. The honors were presented today at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.
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