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Unfinished Business

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A few months ago, I was driving back from inspecting a massive distribution warehouse when I got a call from Ross Litkenhous. I answered and we chatted for maybe 20 minutes. By the time I got home I told my wife Atsumi, “I think I may have to take this new job.”

From the outside (and to some of my former colleagues), I’m sure the move was unexpected. Frankly, the move was unexpected to me. I was an established MAI appraiser at one of the best companies in the industry. I had worked my way into several roles where I was performing well. Few opportunities would have enticed me to leave, but Ross came to me with one of them. He gave me the chance to see through – and expand – some unfinished business from eleven years ago.

Back then, I was working with Ross and Heidi in the property tax consulting group of a regional firm. Our entire group suffered daily under the poorly designed software that was standard for the industry. It was so bad that in frustration I proposed we develop our own software and began designing prototypes. I enjoyed the process and spent many hours of free time thinking through the system’s design. 

The idea was that we could use it internally to significantly increase productivity. And maybe, one day, license it externally to generate revenues. We shopped the idea with upper management and tried to marshal resources. Ultimately there wasn’t enough interest to take us away from the immediate concerns of profitable (but time-consuming) work. 

Unfortunately, this mindset is common within property tax. It’s resulted in an industry that is woefully behind in terms of technology. To this day, property tax management systems are reportedly not much better than they were 11 years ago. That’s absolutely mind boggling given the technological development in almost every other industry.

I soon transitioned to appraisal work. I started the long and rewarding journey to becoming a licensed appraiser and an MAI, but I never forgot about the system we had tried to build. Neither had Ross and Heidi. When I spoke with them, I learned that they were actually building it. However they had an even greater goal: create a customer platform to demystify the complex world of property tax and empower property owners.

So, what made me want to join Cavalry? The opportunity to see through some unfinished business that must be completed while working with old friends who are the best in the business. And to be fair, I also liked their logo.

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