In this episode of Partnering Leadership, Mahan Tavakoli speaks with Ernie Jarvis. Ernie is a fifth-generation Washingtonian and has established himself as a significant presence in the Greater Washington DC DMV region through his active involvement in the community and commitment to giving back. Ernie Jarvis has been a trailblazer on many fronts, including commercial real estate. In the conversation, Mahan and Ernie talk about how Ernie's heritage and upbringing have impacted his sense of responsibility to give back, involvement in various regional organizations, and perspectives on the future of the return to the office.
- Ernie Jarvis on following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Dr. Charles Drew, and his mother, Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis
- How Ernie Jarvis approaches networking and building relationships
- Ernie talks about the idea behind starting Metropolitan Access
- How Ernie Jarvis advocates for greater diversity in the commercial real estate industry
- The importance of relationships in business
- The impact of the pandemic on commercial real estate
- Ernie Jarvis on the legacy he hopes to leave behind
Mahan’s Partnering Leadership Podcast conversation with Charlene Drew Jarvis
Connect with Ernie Jarvis:
Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:
More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website:
Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm really excited this week to be welcoming. Ernie Jarvis, Ernie is a fifth generation Washingtonian, the oldest grandson of the blood banking and plasma pioneer. Dr. Charles Drew, the oldest son of Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis, who I had the conversation with last year. Ernie, has established himself as a significant force in this region, primarily through his connections in serving community and giving back to people throughout the years.
He has been a pioneer in the commercial real estate industry. He has continued giving back through his involvement with many nonprofit organizations, including fight for children.
He is involved at the leadership level in organizations including serving on the board of directors of the Greater Washington Board of trade, and he was named by the Washington business journal as one of Washington's power 100.
So I really enjoyed this conversation most especially because I have seen ernie over the past 25 years, build relationships and look for ways to give back to people, give back to organizations and give back to the community. And that's how he has established himself in this region as a leader that we can all learn from and look up to.
I also enjoy hearing from you. Keep your comments coming. firstname.lastname@example.org There's a microphone icon on partneringleadership.com. Really enjoy getting those voice messages. Don't forget to follow the podcast, Tuesday conversations with magnificent Changemakers from the greater Washington DC DMV region and Thursday conversations with global thought leaders. Now, here is my conversation with Ernie Jarvis.
Ernie Jarvis my friend, welcome to Partnering Leadership. I am thrilled to have you in this conversation with me.
Well, Mahan you and I have known each other for a long time, when be first started our careers and it's really good be with you this afternoon.
It has been a wonderful journey Ernie watching you establish your own brand and have a significant impact on our community, through both your professional success, but also through engaging with a broader community and helping bring other people along. Can't wait to talk about some of those leadership elements in your journey. Would love to first start out though, with your upbringing.
What was your upbringing like Ernie in DC as the oldest grandson of an incredible pioneer, Dr. Charles Drew, who was the father of Blood Plasma and founder of the American Red Cross' blood bank.
Well Mahan, I'm the fifth generation Washingtonian and I inhale and breathe this city. Love the district of Columbia, and when you mentioned my grandfather, I didn't get an opportunity to meet him because he passed away when my mom was only seven, but what he stated "excellence of performance shall overcome any artificial barrier created by man" that stayed with our family and it stayed with his medical community.
And today I pass that along to my children. I am very lucky to have someone who contributed so much to mankind, especially in his work with blood plasma.
Ernie, did you feel an extra sense of responsibility growing up with was it like people would eventually find out, oh my God, this is Dr. Drew's grandson, and added to that, your mom, Charlene Drew Jarvis, who I had a conversation with last year on the podcast, also on her own count became a six term DC council member, was a PhD scientist.
So did he feel any extra pressures on your shoulders?
I will say, and be honest, when I was a teenager, I had to be a little bit more discreet about what I did because I wanted the entire teenage experience. But for those people, they served as kind of the guiding light. They serve as my guiding principle in my career. I never really felt pressure and in fact, I've been very, very lucky because I still call my mother and I may say, mom, I have a problem. And my options are A, B and C. And she will say, Ernie, you have D E and F too. And I didn't even see those options. So it's experience, it's intellect, and it's guidance. And I'm very lucky to still have her at this point in my life.
But I never really felt the pressure. I always felt like our family said, here's what you're going to do. It's not how you're going contribute, or when it is, but it is you're going to. And so that was again, kind of the guiding principle in my life. A lot was expected, but it wasn't overbearing. I had every lump in challenge and hit every pothole as any teenager and young person in their twenties, but it was never frowned upon. It was looked at as a growing experience.
As you were going through those growing experiences Ernie, what did you want to do and become when you grew up?
Well, that's the question. I asked myself that today, uh, uh, well, there was part of me that said I wanted to race boats and race cars, but I got really lucky my early twenties and I started to work for a real estate appraiser. And it's really a great background for commercial real estate because you learn the economics of a real estate transaction.
I had a friend who helped me get into the downtown brokerage business. And that was almost 30 years ago when I've never looked back. It's something that I enjoy. It's something that I hope one of my children will look at as a potential career path. But if they don't, that's fine too, but I enjoy being part of the community, I enjoy working with clients, and I enjoy being part of the business community.
Ernie, one of the interesting things is early on in my Carnegie career, I had to train a lot of people in commercial real estate. They were primarily extremely cocky white men that I still remember would wear these thousand dollar pairs of shoes with no socks on. So this sounds like an odd industry for you to want to go in as the industry was very particular and even into the nineties, I only saw white cocky men.
That's it, No one of color and almost no women in it either.
Yeah. you're right about that. And it's changed a little bit, but certainly not enough. When I got into the industry, I didn't look at it like I was going to be a pioneer, although I came from a pioneer family. I looked at this as an opportunity to learn a craft and to make a living.
And over the years, I've been pretty vocal about the lack of diversity and inclusion within the commercial real estate brokerage industry. And so during COVID and doing the George Floyd murder at open the heels of that, I wrote a paper to every CEO of every publicly traded commercial real estate company in the country.
And I gave an action plan of how to advance people of color and women in the commercial real estate brokerage industry. It was received well, the Washington Business Journal wrote about it. The busnow wrote about it, I was interviewed by the New York Times, Bloomberg, but it really is important to have diversity and inclusion in this industry.
One, it's the right thing to do two, there's a compelling business portion to it. Different perspectives have different results and it all benefit our clients. So I'm going to continue to raise that flag and, really continue to challenge the industry. To figure out how we make the industry more diverse.
If you look at a city like Washington, DC, there are very few people of color. If you look at the big companies, CB, JLL, Cushman, and Wakefield, Colliers, it goes all the way down the list. there's only one or two people of color who run a major US market. In 2022, we have to do better. We know there's an issue, and I challenged the companies to really take leadership and bring in more people of color and more women.
And you challenged the companies also based on the experience of someone that did the hard work and rose through the ranks. You joined CVRE and you rose through the ranks to end up becoming the managing director of their office in the DC region. One of the only people of color in the commercial real estate industry countrywide to do that.
I was very fortunate and I kept my grandfather's words, excellence of performance. And so I thought about that, and I got selected to go to an emerging leaders program, because we are publicly traded our CV is publicly traded. So I got selected, I learned, how to look at a company a little bit differently than what I had been doing in the past and that's just general brokerage. So when I had the opportunity to take over the DC office, one of the few people of color in the industry and at the company, I had the corner office at the top floor of the largest commercial real estate company in DC, my hometown. So really, that was a crowning moment for me and certainly a defining moment.
It also gave me the confidence that I could do this. Coming from a background of community servants, we weren't really focused on money. We weren't focused on revenue. We were focused on, the dinner table conversation, making a contribution to the city and the community in which we operated.
Again, that was my guiding principle. It was really a wonderful opportunity for me and I enjoyed my stay at CVRE. in fact I still have many great friends there.
In addition to your role there Ernie, all throughout, you also were very active, still are, in the community, giving back to a lot of different groups, a lot of different organizations. You also founded Metropolitan Access, which you were able to get the sitting president of United States, Bill Clinton, the Vice President, Al Gore to come speak at it, regional leaders from Don Graham to A. Pullen, Frank Raines, all these people to come together to speak at Metropolitan Access. What was the idea behind you starting it, and what was the outcome?
I look at that again, as a crowning moment in a big achievement. We had a family friend in Henry Levite who was then the managing partner at Squire Sanders and Dempsey, a big law firm. He invited me to go to something called the Economic Club of Washington. I called up my mother and I said, well, what is the Economic Club of Washington?
And this was many years ago. And she said, I'm not really sure and I hit the committee on economic development for the city, but you should go. So I went and I was really young, I was in my mid thirties and, Henry was great at shepherding me around and meeting people. And I noted and said to my self, this is great networking and it's a great opportunity to meet people, make a commitment to doing business with one another. And so I said, God, I should do this for a younger professionals. I think the chairman of Merrill Lynch had flown down to talk to the economic club that day. The next night I ran into the head of Bell Atlantic, the predecessor to Verizon and I said, putting together this group, basing it on the economic club, and I want you to come speak and be our first speaker. He goes tardy, I'd love to. then I said Bill, I want you to pay for it as well. And he put his fork down and he said, wait a minute, you're asking me to pay for me to come and speak.
And I said, it's all about the future Bill. And so he just smiled. He was our first speaker. We had 800 people who turned out all young professionals from the region who would just starting their careers. And over the next four or five years, we were really lucky to have a president, a sitting president of the United States, the sitting vice president.
I ran into Donald Graham, the publisher of the post on the subway, and asked him if he would speak. I ran into Bob Johnson at an event, founder and CEO of BET, and he said, I'd love to do that. So four or five years into that, we were averaging over a thousand young professionals. And to me it was really important.
One, I started to develop leadership skills. Two, I think it was a great venue for young people, young professionals to come together and meet each other and make a commitment to helping each other. But candidly, it also helped me separate from being the son of a local politician. And then I made Washingtonians 40, under 40 and all those things.
And I remember going into the kitchen, I put the magazine on the counter and I said, see, Charlene, it all worked out right. And she said, pretty by the grace of God. Because your parents have a high expectations for you and they want you to succeed, but they also want you to find your own path and find a way to make your own contribution.
Irrespective if my name was Jarvis Jones or Smith or whatever. I think she was pleased with that.
I'm sure she was because from then on out, Charlene would say, I am Ernie's mom. Ernie Jarvis's mom. Rather than you having to say, I'm Charlene Drew Jarvis' son. You brought a lot of people together and if anyone questions your selling abilities Ernie, getting the first speaker to both agree to speak and sponsor, getting the President of United States, Vice President of the United States and all these other people to come, to speak and be involved, shows some of your own capabilities.
Another thing that shows your skillset is the fact that like many of us, you married up Ernie Jarvis.
So, how did you meet Debbie Jarvis?
Debbie was on NBC for the local NBC affiliate and the news. And I went to an event and I met her and we said, hello. And I saw her later, and she was great friends with a guy named Joe Johns, who was there at NBC who then transitioned CNN. And so Joe's wife was my college sweetheart.
And so I dropped those names to Debbie so she would say well, decent guy, but I know that he's not an ex for her because I know some of the same people. And so I had a little credibility and then as we talked, she said, are you related to Charlene? And I go, I'm in now, right. Because she knows my mother.
Right. And so she just laughed and I said, don't hold me to that standard because my mother's very different than I am. And she laughed in, within months we were married and that was, many, many years ago.
Knowing Debbie having seen her in the community, she is an incredible leader. So you were able to do a great sales job with her too Ernie Jarvis. And the two of you have two very handsome sons. One of them, six-eight, basketball player at Yale and six-three, trakstar at Oberlin. Who do they take their tremendous athletic abilities from?
Mahan, that's a great question. In fact, I asked my wife that a lot. My mom's side who are six-seven and six-eight, but six-eight is really huge. I'm five-eleven, Debbie is five-seven. But what they have learned about athleticism and about academics is, I tell them all the time, I can't give them equality, but I can give them education and it's up to them to perform just like my mother said, I can get open doors for you, but you have to have performance. You have to go in and earn your stripes and demonstrate your capabilities.
One of the things that my kids have learned from their mother, especially is when she was at Pepco, she was very involved in philanthropy and supporting community organizations. So one of my kids is more inclined to go into commercial real estate.
It's a little bit of a mercenary, but my other kid really is focused on how do I help people? How do I take the blessings and the opportunity that I have and do something to help people. They went to events with Debbie when Debbie would go into the community and sponsor an event for Pepco, but it was. mentoring. It was the march of dimes walk. It was the cancer society advanced.
And so both of my kids have a feeling of to whom much is given much is expected. We do expect a lot from them, but again, as I was given the opportunity, follow your own dreams, create your own path.
Their grandparents are an inspiration to them. Their parents are an inspiration to them and you are Ernie Jarvis. Debbie has been very involved in giving back to the community as have you through the dozens of nonprofits whose boards you have served on, including a continuing service right now on fight for children.
You are very committed to give back to the community yourself.
Mahan, I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I mean, so far past the expectations that I have of myself, but I've been given a lot as well. I have home court advantage in Washington, DC, but I have one foot in the local business committee, and I have one foot in my own African American community.
And my community is not fair as well as many of the business community. So it's really incumbent upon people like me and others to roll up their sleeves and make a contribution. I went on the board of fight for children last year, and most people know that organization as former Fight Night, but the world has changed and you can't have a boxing ring in the middle of a hotel room, smoking and steak and pie other stuff now.
But what fight for children does is they go into the community and they help organizations. They help organizations with funding with vision, how to give, children opportunities. And so I'm really committed to that. But one that I was really committed to and really enjoyed was Hoop Dream Scholarship Fund 10 years ago with Susie Kay. Susie Kay was a fixture in the local non for profit community organization. And I like to say that I helped her a little, but we sent over 900 kids from ward seven and ward eight to college is really impactful. One kid at a time. and so that's where it all started.
And then I've been in a succession of other things, but Fight for Children and Hoop Dreams is where it started. I was very committed to both organizations.
You have continued giving back a lot through those organizations and other organizations to the community Ernie, you also mentioned the fight for equity in our community is an ongoing struggle. There have been areas where we've made some progress. However, when I reflect on it Ernie, we haven't made as much progress as I would have hoped.
So when you and I were younger and initially met, there were a lot of rooms where I would walk into. And I would look at the rooms and I told myself, you know what? I am going to make sure we are going to make sure that back then I thought 10 years was a long time, 10 years from now. These rooms look different and are more representative of the broader community. I'm afraid to say 25 years later, while there has been some progress, there has been a heck of a lot less progress than I would have thought and I would have hoped for. So what do you think we need to do as leaders in the community to make sure that 10 or 25 years from now we can look at these rooms and at the community and say, we have made significant progress.
That's a great question. I'm going to use the Greater Washington Board of Trade as an example. When you and I met was probably, I can't remember, 20, 25 years ago, I was at the board of trade annual meeting and I went with my mother and Linda Crop happened to be at the table. Then there was there then the chair of the city council.
And they announced the board of directors for the board of trade 20 years ago. And both my mother and Linda stood up and screamed at the top of their voices in this big ballroom were the people of color. I'm glad to say, now that you look at the greater Washington board of trade and some of the past presidents over the last five years have been women and people of color, Tony Lewis, Tony Pierce, Rosie Allen-Herring. So we're making progress, but if you look at the commercial real estate industry, if you look at law firms, association of heads, there's still very few people of color and women. So we have to continue to spread the gospel. People like you and I earning leadership positions and then bringing more people, it's really grotesque in this city.
There are over 1300 buildings downtown 1300, not one is owned by a person of color in Washington, DC. We've got to change those type of things and it's really access to capital. And it is really having more people like you and I, show up to greater leadership Washington or the greater Washington board of trade, the economic club, all of whom are doing a better job than in the past.
Still a long way to go in a number of industry sectors around the region.
Ernie, one of the things that I believe is really important is speaking truth to power and recognizing the problem. The first step in addressing any problem is to admit it, continually talk about it. We need to talk about it and then act on it and have measures of progress. Again, one of the frustrations I've had is that at some points and in some circles, the conversation has been there.
A lot of organizations after George Floyd's murder came out with press releases about the need for equity in the community, the need for anti-racism the need for diversity. However, many of those same organizations, their executive teams are all white. They don't have anyone of color on their teams, boards, senior levels of the organization. What we need to do is continually speak truth to power and make sure that changes are made, not just press releases sent down.
You're spot on and we have to look to vulnerable organizations like NASDAQ. NASDAQ said that they are going to investigate or look at the leadership teams and board makeup of their publicly traded company. Now, they also said, if they're not satisfied, there's going to be some penalty.
The penalty may even be. And it may be a draconian way that your company will be delisted. If you don't have enough minority and women population or representation on your board. JP Morgan Chase also said that he wanted to have, and I think he committed $30 billion to DE&I initiatives Goldman Sachs has done that as well, because they want to embrace the spirit of this, but what they don't want to do is be caught with lack of commitment and a lack of execution on these initiatives because their shareholders are going to hold them accountable. And then again, organizations like NASDAQ. So that's a really material progress.
And their shareholders will hold them accountable and into community. It is up to each and every one of us to hold each other, and to hold organizations we're involved with accountable. So it is not just statements when the time is for to statements, but it's action because it is time for action. The responsibility is on our shoulders.
Now in your own career Ernie, you eventually left their role at CVRE, led first Potomac Realty trust, which is a public traded REIT. Then you decided to start Jarvis commercial real estate in 2016, but anyone that knows much about commercial real estate is that most of these companies have been merging and acquiring and becoming bigger and bigger.
What made you decide to start your own outfit in commercial real estate?
When we talk about a dearth of minority business leaders, especially in the commercial real estate brokerage world, I wanted to demonstrate that minorities and women can compete at the highest level. It was a little contrarian because as you just mentioned, there was consolidation within the industry and the global companies were expanding their platforms, I think in this market where I grew up and, I think I've created somewhat of a brand. I saw an opportunity for a boutique commercial real estate brokerage company. We started in 2016. we've had great success, but Mahan, I can't say that I did this all on my own. I took the chance, but many, many people have supported me.
Many people have called me and said, Ernie, come over and talk about commercial real estate with us. We're either in lease space or we're selling our building or buying a building or so, because I think that people saw this and I've seen me grow up in a leadership role. Many have said, including someone I'm very close to go for it
It's an opportunity for you. The funniest conversation when I called Dub Jamal and I told him about it and he screamed and hollered and excitement, and he said, "Ernie, I'm so happy for you. You can do this. You're the one. Go forward". And he was really screaming he says to his son Norman, who was a great friend, Norman aren't you excited for Ernie? And Norman said, yep. Ernie, my dad and I are really excited, you can tell by in screaming. And so many, many people have helped me. That's just one example, but many people have called me and urged me on and invited me to events and said, Hey, we are rooting for you. So I can't tell you how much that means to me, because I didn't do this on my own.
Jimi Hendrix had an old song called Voodoo Child where he describes chopping down the mountain with the side of his hand. That's what I feel like I'm doing, but I'm being lifted by a lot of people.
Ernie, it's sign of your humility. As you talk about being lifted by a lot of people.
One of the reasons you are supported and people cheer you on is that all throughout the years, you've done such a great job giving back to people and building those solid relationships, Which is a key part of leadership in the community.
You have networked with a sense of community impact and giving back rather than networking with a sense of what can I take and get from this person.
My goal was really to become part of the fabric of the business community, not just going to a networking event and looking at a business card and making a quick decision. This is a good relationship, or this is somebody that I don't need. That's disingenuous. This is my vote. I'm not going to go anywhere.
Been here five generations. My kids are sixth generation Washingtonians I want to build relationships and I want to build multi-generational relationships. That's how I look at it. If you believe in servant leadership, and if you believe in helping others, that'll be a creative to your business career, and it has, but thank you for saying that, I really appreciate that compliment because it really is community first, business second. Even though they're intertwined with one another.
Business thrives when the community is thriving and therefore you need to prioritize both. It's a cycle that feeds itself. Now, after about four years of you having launched your own business Ernie, we went through what could be classified in the lifetime of all of us as one of the most severe disruptions we have faced most specifically having to do with things, including commercial real estate with remote work and the pandemic hitting.
How did the pandemic impact your business?
Well, we were very lucky because we represent companies and organizations in acquiring or subleasing space. And our clients were calling us and saying, what do you think what's going on in the market? How can we restructure our lease? In some cases, revenue were down 50, 60%. Was there an opportunity to go to a landlord or a building owner, and restructure your lease, but they just needed guidance.
They want it to figure out what's going on in the environment, and how they can benefit their own organization by it. We were really, really busy and still a very busy in the COVID time. A lot of people ask us, "what's re-entry look like?" " When do people come back into the office space?" There's a stat that I saw the other day, only 32% of downtown office workers are coming in on a daily basis, only 32%. So that has quite an impact on the downtown business environment or retailers on building owners on their tax base, downtown on the culture of a business community. I think it'll change post nine 11, which nine 11 was a shock to the system.
Several months after that no one wanted to travel because they were worried about a terrorist activity. In a year or so, the pendulum swung back the other way. My gut feeling is that we'll get past the Omicron, that we will figure out the COVID is here to stay, it will still work around it, I think there'll be a lot of enthusiasm, second, third, fourth quarter of 2022. And I think that people are desperate for human contact, are desperate to see their colleagues and to communicate and for collaboration. Again, I think the shock to the system was COVID. The pendulum will swing back. And I think that will be in the fall, winter of next year, people will start coming back to the office.
You know, I quote Jamie Diamond a lot. Jamie Diamond said, "if you want to work for me in this bank, you're coming back to work". I think a lot of people will share that sensibility and with his leadership and prominence within the national business community. I think that a lot of CEOs are going to follow that sentiment with exception if you are a technology company of Google, and Amazon, or whomever, Microsoft, and you can work from home on your laptop. I do think that that will be different. But our tendency in Washington, the government, law firms, associations, non-profit, financial services businesses, I think they're going back to work, this summer.
There is real value Ernie and I talk about it, about the humanity and the connection, the collaboration that happens when we are in person with people. And I agree with you that the pendulum has swung to one extreme and it is not going to stay in the extreme of everyone can work remote full time. That's the way it's going to be. The pendulum is going to swing.
However, would love to continue on this theme in that even if, organizations choose to give people flexibility to work from home only one day a week, that's about 20% of the workforce at any point in time, that is not going to the office. Space is not going to whether its the downtown centers or the many mini downtowns in the suburban environments.
How do you think that transition? Not the full remote, but the opportunity to work from home just once a week. How will that impact these centers of business and office space?
I think that high plan that you're talking about will last for a while. It was interesting. I was having a conversation with the CEO of a prominent organization here in the district. And he said to me, I can tell that efficiency has gone down because when people are working from home, I don't see emails from nine until four. And then all of a sudden I get a flood of emails from four o'clock to eight o'clock because people have been watching Oprah or doing whatever they're doing during the day, but they want the boss to know that they're working. So he said between four and 10, he's flooded with emails and he goes, that's not efficient.
It's not efficient for the organization and it's not efficient for the leadership. I think while people will say we prefer a day, whether it's a Monday or a Friday for a long weekend, I think that business and organization leaders will say, ' is this the most efficient for the enterprise?"
So I think there will be a short period of time of kind of looking at that, evaluating and analyzing. But I think ultimately, leadership will say, we really need your back into the office.
As we see more of these transitions, everything is going to rely on leaders like you that have their finger on the pulse of what it takes for organizations to use space effectively to get the results that their employees, the community, their stakeholders, want from them.
So Ernie, you're still a very young man, and if 20, 25 years from now, we have a conversation with each other and you have had a significant impact, you already have, but 25 years from now magnify that impact on this community, what will that impact be like?
Well, that's a great question because in 25 years from now, I'll be on my boat, reflecting on the contributions that I made, but no longer engaged in it. I hope. I would like it to be that, I saw an opportunity in commercial real estate, commercial real estate brokerage to demonstrate that people of color can compete at the highest level, that can run an organization, whether it be private or publicly traded. I want people to know that people of color can excel in a publicly traded real estate investment, trust environment. I want people to say that people of color and women can be president of the District of Columbia building industry association. Be involved in the greater Washington board of trade at a high level, but also give back to the community, not only run a profitable business, but make a difference in some lives.
I hope that young people, women, and people of color and young people in general will say, I learned from Ernie Jarvis. If he can do it, anyone can do it. This is an effort in work opportunity. This is a relationship building opportunity. this is an opportunity to go back and talk to young people and young professionals at the high school, college, and, business level about the opportunities, at least in commercial real estate.
It's one of these industries that if you work hard, put your nose to the grindstone, develop capabilities, you can really do well. But if you're do well, it's incumbent upon you to give back to the community. I'm not talking about writing the check. Time or treasure. I'm talking about time is more important, especially to younger people of color and younger women.
I try to talk to somebody at least once a week, about the opportunities we're going to grow our company. And, we're going to make a difference.
Serving as an example, Ernie by itself can help elevate others. When we see people, whether it was in the case of your grandfather, who is able to be at the cutting edge of science, when people of color, young black men and women, see that hear the stories of your grandfather, they can then picture themselves being scientists like him. Same with your mom. She was a wonderful scientist before going into politics. Seeing that, visualizing that young girls of color, young girls, any of them see that success, they can visualize it. And that's the same thing for all people looking at your success, in part it is your community involvement, reaching back, mentoring, having those connections, in part, through your success, you show that success is possible which is part of the reason I really have enjoyed seeing both your success and also the way you have gone about it Ernie, continually being mindful of the relationships in the community and giving back to the community.
Now, in addition to all these wonderful things, you have a wild side to you Ernie Jarvis. With, boat racing, all kinds of boats that I'm not sure I know all the names I've seen the cigarette boats, fountain boats, velocity, boats. And you just went to a race car driving school in Death Valley. What is this thrill seeking part of Ernie all about.
Mahan. It is quintessential midlife crisis. I mean, textbook, right. But I tell you, I love the water. I grew up, in Annapolis, on the weekends, my father was in the navy so I really inherited his love of the water. I liked speed. I like to go fast. I liked the risks. I like man versus nature. And so if you are on the bay and you're going 90, 80, 90 miles an hour, there's no feeling like it.
But in December I went to a race car driving to school in death valley where you're in a helmet, and they give you an instructor and you want to push the limits as hard as you can. It's a little bit dangerous, my wife says that I can do all of those the only thing that I can't do is buy a motorcycle.
Maybe 15 years ago I bought a Harley and she made me take it back. so much of being the commander of my own ship. I literally had to take it back. I went with one of a great friend who was one of the leaders in the Charles D. Smith company. And I was really embarrassed to call him the next day and said, I can't take delivery on it because my wife who says no go.
But I, do like, speed. I do like to push the edges, I love it. My father who used to race cars, nothing like NASCAR, just 19 60, 70 muscle cars. I just went out, to the Meekum car auction with a great friend and I love old Corvettes, I love old Mustangs, I like Ferrari's, but with two kids in college that will happen till after graduation. But that those are my hobbies. Some people have golf, some people have tennis or horseback riding. I want to go as fast as I can in anything with an engine.
I see the cigarette boat flying down Chesapeake bay, I know it's every Jarvis,
Well, you will hear me. Yes.
So Ernie, when you're asked for leadership resources or practices, are there any, you find yourself recommending to others for them to elevate their leadership and have the kind of purpose driven impact that you've had?
I wish I had something deeply profound that people could say, wow, that was very thoughtful, but I read a book 15 or 20 years ago by Keith Ferrazzi, and it said never have lunch alone. And it is not because of the companionship, which is important, it's getting to know and building the relationship.
What did, that person's motivation? What drives them? What keeps them up? Talk about your children. Where did they go to school? Where do they interest. In your spouse whatever. They may have an interest where do you like the vacation? And you build the relationship and you get to know someone.
In fact, if I look at myself, I'd probably chastise myself and saying with my network, let's do business, but I like to say, let's get together first. Let's get to know one another. How can I help you? A native Washingtonian. This is a transient city. How can I plug you in to somebody who may have a good realtor on the residential side or someone who's a principal of a school.
Build the relationship. So I try to never have lunch alone. It's not great for my growth and my stomach. I can run down my favorite lunch places in DC very easily, but it is the connection. It is the connection to humanity.
That human connection Ernie is important, whether it is for leaders leading inside their organization, understanding to connect and the need to connect on a human level, or it is in establishing relationships outside of the organization. And both are of real value. It's the human connections that at the end of the day matter most, whether it is to personal success, professional success, or community success, and our community is fortunate to have someone like you, Ernie Jarvis, with a deep values and grounding that you have with a desire to be a positive influence to others and a positive role model. And I feel fortunate for 20 plus years, 25 years having seen you interact with others with genuine humility with your authenticity, with the desire to build true relationships just for the sake of the relationship, having seen you over these years.
And I look forward to celebrating many more successes with you Ernie Jarvis, as you continue to set an example for others in our community. Thank you so much for joining me in this conversation Ernie
Mahan, I enjoyed it immensely. I enjoy our friendship and I look forward to seeing you out there.