Don of a New Day

Posted on July 29, 2021

alt text

You’d be hard-pressed to find a commercial real estate professional in the greater Nashville area who hasn’t somehow been positively impacted by Don Albright. With a 40+ year career in the industry, Don has been a part of the leasing, selling, developing, and purchasing of just about every building that paints the Nashville skyline.Beyond the accolades he has received throughout the years for his professional achievements, Don is also one of the best stewards and representatives in our industry.Says Nashville Market Leader Jason Holwerda: “Throughout the years, he has been a personal mentor to many professionals in the brokerage community, including me. Don is a voice of wisdom and encouragement for those who are just trying to break into the industry all the way to seasoned veterans. It would be difficult to find someone in our city that has had a greater impact within the real estate community than Don Albright.” Foundry CEO Paul Ellis echoes similar sentiments: “For me, what strikes me about Don is how positive and joyful he is. I can’t remember not laughing when around him, and that shouldn’t take away from how talented he is in our space. His positive attitude is infectious, and how he makes others feel is accretive to his skill set.”


Fortunately for Foundry, shortly after the firm launched a Nashville presence, Don Albright’s career path shifted in such a way that it was possible to begin conversations about joining the company. “I had always been with national flags, and to be honest, I thought that’s where I’d remain. But there’s just something special about Foundry,” said Albright. “It is as special and unique an organization as I’ve ever been fortunate enough to affiliate with. People genuinely care about each other. I have such an affection for Foundry, its people, and its culture. And who could have known – when I joined the organization – just how evident all of those things would become to me during this season of my life?”His leadership within the Nashville office has been a huge part of the success in the region during the formative years and beyond. “His presence on the Nashville team has been critical to launching and building Foundry’s brand in this market,” added Holwerda. “Don embodies everything that Foundry stands for. He puts others before himself; he has no idea what a silo even looks like; and he takes the success of our associates, clients, and partners personally. Don is passionate about raising the next generation of real estate professionals, and we are lucky to have his fingerprints all over the Nashville office.”


To that point, one of the character traits often attributed to Don Albright is his willingness to mentor up-and-coming commercial real estate professionals. Tara Hasenour, Graphic Designer in the Nashville office, said: “He knows everything there is to know about the business, and he’s willing to take other professionals under his wing to help them learn how to best navigate this industry, and he does it in a way that is so nurturing and not at all intimidating. We knew a few people in common before I had the opportunity to meet him, so I knew in advance I was fortunate to be working alongside him, but no one prepared for me for the fact that my connection with Don would be instantaneous. He immediately makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room and mentors you in a way that is subtle and encouraging.” Paul Ellis reflects on the decision Don made to come to Foundry in order to continue to serve as a mentor to Jason Holwerda as the new office location was launched. “Don was clear that he wanted to come to Foundry based on his relationship with Jason and how they cared for each other. That kind of commitment within a business context doesn’t always get talked about, but it is an incredible testament to the type of company we want to be,” Ellis said.

Don Albright, wife and grandchildren smiling


In late 2020, Don Albright was admitted to the ICU, where he spent weeks fighting for his life. Across the company, associates prayed for Don and his family, sending messages of encouragement and support to the Albright family during a difficult season. True to the spirit of his character, Don has made a miraculous recovery. “It’s funny what I can and cannot remember from the time I was in the medically induced coma; however, I do recollect hearing my family members read the outpouring of love and notes,” added Albright. “Charles Jonas must have written me a note every day; I’m surprised he didn’t get carpal tunnel syndrome. And I even received cards from the entire class of Jason’s second-grade son. It’s been such an important part of my recovery to go back and read them all again now that I’m home.” He then went on to add: “When I was considering joining Foundry, I had the chance to meet with Ford Gibson for the first time, and I have always admired and respected him. Perhaps our relationship was born of divine circumstances, because as I was getting out of the ICU and I was feeling particularly discouraged, Ford reached out and shared some of what he went through several years ago. He said, ‘Whatever you do, just don’t ever, ever quit.’ I’ve held that advice close, especially on some of the harder days.” Tara Hasenour reflects on the time she, too, suffered a medical trauma and Don was there to encourage her and support her every step of the way. “I’d been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, and there was a long road to recovery ahead of me. Don could immediately sense that, and he’d just come over to my desk, invite me to church, and we’d find ourselves at church praying together on a random Tuesday morning. He was such a rock to me during that turbulent time, and I wanted to be the same for him and his family.”


As time wears on and Don continues to progress, his booming personality can’t be suppressed. He’s gradually making his way back into work activities, and there’s a big sigh of relief to see him pop onto a Zoom meeting or to receive an email in your inbox from him. While he knows the road to recovery won’t beeasy, he’s encouraged by the support he continues to receive from his colleagues at Foundry... a term he is careful to reassess. “Friends. I have deep friendships at Foundry,” he states. Jason Holwerda echoes similar sentiments: “More than a professional, a mentor, a partner, or an associate, Don is a friend. His friendship has made me a better professional, but he’s also made be a better person, a better husband, a better son, a better father, and friend. I am forever grateful he chose to chart a course with Foundry, and I anxiously await what lies ahead.”