Ryan Hurley on the Power of Collaboration and Community

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When entrepreneur and commercial real estate developer Ryan Hurley is asked about his favorite book in the last few years, he immediately turns to Beyond Business by Lonnie Gienger. His reason for liking this book is simple: it compels business leaders to reimagine their reasons for being in business. More than ever, today’s business world is about profit over people. The book challenges leaders to consider the paradigm shift of linking together with other businesses to create a successful society, which in turn creates a more successful company.

Hurley founded his own real estate development company back in 2009 called Hurley Development. Through his company, Hurley tries to live by Gienger’s words: “As a business leader, you are positioned to change the world. That’s not motivational hype. Your business is the ideal platform to build a better world.” A true believer in the power of collaboration and community, Ryan Hurley is dedicated to renovating Vancouver and every community his company serves.

Hurley Development is not just about securing high profits. When Hurley started this company, the intention had been to leave a positive impact on downtown Vancouver, Washington – the town where he grew up. The town that had given him so much, and now he wanted to give back and help bring it back to what it once was, and beyond. Today Hurley’s company has established itself as one of the premier regional commercial real estate development companies based in Vancouver. However, making a positive impact on the community in which it operates remains the company’s ethos.

Hurley emphasizes community because of the transformative power collaboration has played in his journey. Collaboration has helped him with charitable efforts, driving innovation, and improving the quality of people’s lives. “Building strong partnerships with our investors and with business leaders has been vital to our growth. We would be nowhere without our partners and colleagues,” he said.

Charitable Efforts

The advantage of collaboration is perhaps the most obvious when it comes to charitable efforts. The importance of rallying support for charitable efforts is why a collaborative community is vital to a successful city.

Hurley frequently partners with non-profits to help them achieve their goals, looking for transformational projects. He also encourages his employees to do the same, through opportunities created by the company with local nonprofits. This creates avenues for his employees to directly make a positive impact in the community. Hurley Development’s frequent collaborations have helped address multiple societal issues and challenges.

One such organization that Hurley partners with is FISH Vancouver, a local food bank that has been working towards the eradication of hunger in Vancouver. When the executive director of FISH Vancouver met with Hurley, Ryan Hurley envisioned a potential collaboration with a new mobile food pantry. Due to the capital-intensive nature of the project, Hurley rallied local businesses to join in the funding. It was natural for him to bring in local partners to invest, because of his relationships with local businesses and business leaders, and strong presence within the community.

Hurley’s company donated the largest amount for the mobile food pantry, a whopping $60,000. The initiative was also supported by Riff Creative, Specialty Graphic Solutions, and LSW architects, all of whom are Hurley’s business partners. Hurley also invited Crossroads Community Church, a large ministry in the local region, to join with them in the project and they donated $15,000. Hurley, with the collaboration of local business partners, managed to raise more than $81,000 for FISH Vancouver and more than that, the truck has been transformational to the local community as thousands of new families have been fed through the pop up pantry locations.


Collaboration fuels innovation. The two have been associated with each other for as long as one can imagine. In a way, even competition is just an indirect form of collaboration – at the end of the day companies need each other to compete. Hurley is aware of this, and as someone who loves innovation, he is quick to get the right minds involved. “I absolutely love to create, and I am inspired by creation. Naturally, I gravitate toward talking about what if’s and what could be,” he said.

Talking about his ideas is only scratching the surface. Whenever Hurley is trying to bring ideas to life, he brings in the right people. He leans on his team to develop ideas further. “I’m in a lot of meetings that range from our executive team to company directors to investment partners, banks and financial organizations, non-profits, city government, architects and designers, and leaders of businesses we own,” he shared.

Before Hurley founded his own company, he was working at Hinton. The company had to let him go during the 2008 financial crisis, which in retrospect proved to be a blessing in disguise. When Hurley decided to forge his path in the industry it was his experience at Hinton and longstanding partnerships with small businesses that helped him find firm footing amid times of doubt and uncertainty. In the early years, there was a lot of improvisation, or as Hurley describes it, “painting the plane as we were flying it.” His partnerships helped him find good business opportunities. He got around to purchasing buildings in the underserviced downtown and launched his first project – a sporting goods building and the rest is history. Soon after came projects like a climbing gym and an upscale restaurant, among many others.

quality of life

A sense of community and collaboration is a surefire way of improving the quality of people’s lives. Especially considering the positive impact the two have had in Hurley’s life and business, he is keen on providing the same experience for his staff and customers. All projects that Hurley Development undertakes are centered around a communal experience. “I absolutely love what’s happening with smart technology and the nexus it has with sustainability, along with the unique customer experience it can provide,” said Hurley.

In two of his latest projects, the Adera apartment community and HQ Vancouver, he has focused on building communities that begin with collaboration. For HQ Vancouver, Hurley brought in smart city consultants to help design the first micro smart city on the west coast. HQ wants to take advantage of smart, sustainable and energy-efficient technology to create a connected community. The Adera apartments are designed to provide a strong sense of community to their residents. The technology that is embedded into the backbone of the living experience includes a social component that makes it easy for residents to connect and share life with the Adera community. Adera is equipped with communal working spaces and recreation areas so its resident can enjoy the benefits of working in collective environments. Adera and HQ Vancouver are both equipped with lightning-speed fiber internet to provide the best connectivity available anywhere.

Hurley has been actualizing the message in Gieger’s book, one day and one project at a time. For those still wondering if businesses joining together to change the world is a good idea to take a page from Hurley’s playbook. The impact of collaboration is like a tree that takes a little time to grow but it bears much fruit.