September 3, 2015
The Credential
HCCP Board of Governors Spotlight
Meet Vinnie Viola, HCCP Governor
Vinnie Viola is the owner of Birch Island Real Estate Consulting, Milton, Mass., and a member of the HCCP Board of Governors.

How has the HCCP designation impacted your career?

The HCCP designation — a well-recognized credential — and other LIHTC continuing education have positively influenced my career in several ways. The HCCP has broadened my working knowledge of the LIHTC program and given me greater confidence working with tax credit investments and project stakeholders. Today, the designation is part of the foundation upon which I have built a consulting practice.

How did you get into the LIHTC industry?

I started in affordable housing as an intern at the Boston Redevelopment Authority while an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts. I analyzed the economic benefits of the City of Boston’s linkage program, a trust fund capitalized with development impact fees from commercial real estate development to help defray affordable housing production. My passion for affordable housing grew as I became a community planner with Dallas Habitat for Humanity, and later a consultant working on the politically-charged viability assessment of Chicago Housing Authority’s distressed public housing portfolio. Looking for an opportunity to grow my financial skills and interest in real estate operations, in 1998 I joined Boston Financial as an asset manager. Since that time, I have continued down the tax credit career path. 

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As principal and founder of Birch Island Real Estate Consulting, LLC, which provides asset management training and services to developers, operators and investors of LIHTC housing, my daily responsibilities vary widely. I am a jack-of-all trades. I direct my energy toward:

  • Writing and hosting live webcasts and on-demand trainings
  • Working with clients on intriguing scopes of service
  • Managing the company’s IT platform
  • Marketing and advertising to a large and growing client base.

I also juggle ad hoc requests from existing clients and problem-solving sessions with prospective clients. Recognizing the importance of developing and fostering solid business relationships, I spend considerable time nurturing strategic partnerships with industry colleagues. 

What helped with your success in the LIHTC industry?

Continuing education contributed to my success as a tax credit professional. In particular, the real estate finance certificate from Boston University, a Masters of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas (Dallas) and formal training on the LIHTC program have broadened my working knowledge of real estate operations and the tax credit program. The HCCP designation, which requires continuing education annually, has kept me focused on and informed about LIHTC industry breaking news and periodic program changes. Joining the HCCP Board of Governors in 2014, and recently being appointed as Vice Chair of the board’s Professional Development subcommittee, have given me a greater appreciation for the HCCP.

What’s your favorite hobby?

As a business owner and father raising two teenaged children with my wife Lisa, there are many demands on my time and finite energy. To keep life in balance, I make time for gardening, cycling and high-intensity interval training — and just taking in the air and blue skies of majestic northern Maine on Birch Island. These activities in particular help keep my spirits high.