James Donnelly, Castle Group Founder and CEO
- Jun 08, 2012
MHN interviews James Donnelly, the founder and CEO of Castle Group, which has locations in Jacksonville, Tampa, Bonita Springs and Plantation, Fla. He has over 25 years of experience serving Community Associations.
MHN: How did you get into the multifamily industry?
Donnelly: We operated a real estate investment company in Toronto and Ottawa from 1987 to 1994. We purchased Florida apartment buildings, converted them to condominiums and sold them to Canadian investors. Our investors encouraged us to start a management company to manage the rental and condominium. In 1992, we started our first management company in Clearwater, Fla.
MHN: Who has been the biggest inspiration during your career?
Donnelly: There is not one individual who has provided my inspiration. Like most people, I am inspired to provide for my family. I am a driven individual so there is internal inspiration that needs to be satisfied. At this point in my career, I am inspired by the 800 management professionals that work at the Castle Group. What they do every day to serve the 200,000 people that live in our communities is remarkable.
MHN: In terms of work, what keeps you up at night?
Donnelly: Unhappy clients. In a perfect world, all of our clients would be raving fans. In the real world, you do your best and still have some clients with concerns. That keeps me up at night. I want all our clients to be raving fans.
MHN: What’s the best part of your workday?
Donnelly: The time I carve out to think.
MHN: What one story in your career stands out in your mind?
Donnelly: I always wanted to be an accountant. I went to college and the School of Accountancy and became a Canadian Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen back in the ‘80s. In less than a year, I realized I did not want to be an accountant. I resigned and became self-employed at 25. At the time, that was a huge risk. Looking back, it changed my life for the better.
MHN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Donnelly: I will still be the founder and CEO of the Castle Group. However, in five years, I expect we will be twice as big a company.
MHN: What advice would you give another that you wish someone had said to you?
Donnelly: Never compromise on the people you hire or the service you deliver.