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Interview With President Of Cal West Apartments David Malcolm - Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

David Malcolm is an accomplished real estate professional, influential business leader, and committed community leader. He has amassed five decades of real estate experience and has earned the premium CCIM real estate designation.


After obtaining his real estate license while in high school, David began his career. He later graduated from the Harvard Business School's President's Program, and he is now a Harvard Business School contributing lecturer. Early in his career, he launched a business, gained exclusive rights to California's Rally Hamburger Chain for Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, and managed over a thousand team members at 40+ locations.


Based in San Diego, David Malcolm is the President of Cal West Apartments, which has provided financing for many commercial clients and home buyers and built thousands of apartments and homes. He has handled sales, management, loans, and acquisitions totaling over $4 billion.


Besides working hard, David has held several civic offices and has served on many boards, including the American Cancer Society, San Diego Christian College, St. Vincent de Paul, and San Diego History Center. He is also passionate about his charitable work as an advocate for the homeless and is a generous contributor to many non-profits. In his free time, David enjoys spending time with his beloved wife, Annie, their children, and grandchildren.


With a successful career as an entrepreneur and real estate expert, what does a normal day in your life look like?


My morning routine has evolved over the years, but I enjoy starting my day with a four-mile walk up and down the hills near my home. Not only do I get a picturesque view of San Diego, but it helps me organize my thoughts, map out my day, and prioritize the challenges and opportunities facing Cal West Apartments.


What significant challenges do you recall from the early years of your career?


I began my real estate career at 18, full of youthful energy and fresh perspective. While these attributes were often an advantage, enabling me to work long hours and cultivate new ideas, this time was not without obstacles.


Unfortunately, young business professionals can experience disadvantages due to their lack of experience, and I was no different. However, I ultimately overcame that through my perseverance and the relationships I developed with mentors. Because my mentors often shared their failures with me, it helped me avoid making the same mistakes. They also gave excellent advice to help me advance my projects. I strongly encourage those just starting in their career, especially entrepreneurs, to seek out mentors and treasure the time you spend with them.


What inspired you to pursue a career in the real estate industry?


After President Richard Nixon signed the 26th Amendment into law, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, California followed suit and lowered most requirements, including the minimum age to obtain a real estate license to 18 years old. As fate would have it, shortly after my 18th birthday, I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper about an upcoming test to earn a real estate license. In April of 1972, full of confidence only youth can provide, I took the test and was fortunate enough to pass. Since then, I've been in love with the real estate industry and can't imagine any other career that would bring me as much satisfaction.


Since 2018, you've served as the President of Cal West Apartments, a provider of quality housing in San Diego and South Riverside counties. Can you tell us how you stepped into that role?


As a longtime friend and philanthropic advisor to Jim and Dianne Bashor, I was honored to become the President of the Bashor family of companies, which includes Cal West and twenty-plus related companies. The Bashor family has always been committed to excellence in business and community service, and I've been fortunate to work alongside them in both endeavors.


Looking back on your diverse and extensive career, what has been your most satisfying moment?


One of the reasons I remain as motivated as ever is that my work isn't defined by a single event but rather by a series of past, present, and future moments. To this day, I still get excited about every deal and receive immense satisfaction from closing a complex transaction.


What does the future look like for Cal West and the real estate industry?


Cal West, like most businesses, will look very different in five years. Staying in front of change is challenging but even more exciting and rewarding. ESG (environmental, social, governance), for example, is at the forefront of our decision-making, and we're always looking for expansion opportunities and creating a more diverse team. Simply put, these practices are good business. I'm confident financial rewards will follow if we can stay ahead of our competition in these areas.


What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?


Every single entrepreneur is unique, just as every business is unique, meaning my advice may not apply to every situation.


With that in mind, I believe individuals should pursue a profession that aligns with their talents and skills. Now, this advice may go against the grain since many people say to do what you love, but if you do what you are good at, the rewards will follow.


Aspiring entrepreneurs must also continually pursue several ideas to hit upon a great idea. Many ideas will fail to come to fruition. But it's vital to be open to failure because it will be life-changing when you finally get the right idea.


Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, find a mentor or several! Good mentors are priceless. Their advice and experience can help you on your entrepreneurial journey in ways that few other things can.

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