Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 25, 2021

Berry expanding the family brand

McCallie grad adds investment, development to building experience

Sam Berry has joined Rise Partners as a senior development manager. - Photograph provided

Fresh from his final year of graduate school, Sam Berry has joined Rise Partners in Chattanooga as a senior development manager.

A Chattanooga native, Berry graduated from McCallie School and then attended Auburn University, where he earned a degree in building construction.

He also has earned a master’s degree in real estate with a concentration in development from Cornell University.

Berry began his career in construction management and from there pursued a master’s to transition to the investment and development side of real estate.

In his role at Rise Partners, Berry will focus on developing industrial, retail and build-to-rent residential communities.

Here, Berry discusses his family connection to building construction, his education and his eagerness to begin overseeing development projects at Rise.

You appear to be a true-blue Chattanoogan. Talk about your years at McCallie and show they shaped you.

"I consider my time at McCallie one of the most influential periods in my life, and I feel extremely fortunate to have spent my formative years at such a fantastic and meaningful institution.

"Sure, the workload and classroom rigor creates a prime learning ground and a certain work ethic for its students, but the community of people and the relationships I developed at McCallie with student and faculty alike shaped who I became as a young person and beyond.

"Those friendships will stay with me for a lifetime."

Why did you pursue a degree in building construction? Do you have family in the business?

"I gained an interest in the construction industry at an early age. My dad, Mike Berry, founded Berry Construction Company (now BerryHutton) in 1991 and has been an active general contractor and developer since.

"He’s an Auburn building science graduate, also. As a result of visiting, and working on, his jobsites for many years, I became passionate about the industry and knew there was no better place to receive a formal education in construction management than Auburn."

What did college teach you about your chosen field that working did not?

"Construction is an industry better taught through experience rather than just a classroom education. It takes years of working on and around projects to fully grasp what the textbook is trying to tell you.

"But, a college education in construction management from Auburn introduced me to the constantly adapting and improving technologies that are improving jobsite efficiencies and allowed me to bring that perspective and experience to a field engineer role with a general contractor post-graduation."

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

"I pursued a master’s degree to effectively transition from the construction management industry into the commercial real estate development and investment industry.

"After spending years around the construction and development process, I became more and more intrigued with the development side of the business – the deal searching, the underwriting, the acquisition and disposition process and the initiation and management of new projects that benefit the surrounding communities in which they are built.

"Thus, a master’s degree in real estate, with a focus in development, allowed me to spend two years acquiring a deeper education in topics around which I already felt comfortable, as well as a world class education in real estate finance and other areas."

Your formal education is now behind you and it’s time to apply what you learned in a practical environment. What brought you to Rise Partners?

"I have known [Rise Partners partners] Matt Phillips and Geoff Smith for a number of years, and I had the opportunity to intern with Rise Partners last summer, between years one and two of graduate school.

"In addition to being surrounded by a great group of people, the summer internship was fast-paced, wide-ranging in responsibilities and flat out fun.

"I left the internship knowing Rise Partners was the place I wanted to work following graduation, and am extremely grateful that has worked out."

What will your role involve?

"As a senior development manager, I will initially be responsible for the development of retail, industrial and single-family rental properties that are currently in the pipeline or underway.

"As such, I will have the opportunity to work with the many different parties involved across the locations in which we invest and build."

What challenges does Rise Partners face in the current market?

"Rise Partners is positioning itself as a diversified real estate developer and investor so as to successfully face the different challenges that a shift in market cycles, trends and economic conditions can bring."

What are you looking forward to the most in your work?

"The team here is full of fantastic people who are fun to work with every day. Additionally, having the opportunity to work on real estate projects of varying asset classes across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic is exciting."

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?

"The outdoor amenities Chattanooga has to offer. Recently, that has consisted of running and playing golf."

Last and most important question: Tigers or Vols?

"No question – the Auburn Tigers by a landslide. Four out of five in my family graduated from Auburn, so my UT-educated mother gets to put up with the rest of us."