January 30, 2024

Boyle Talks: Rusty Bloodworth Discusses His Career and Boyle’s Approach


In this series of Boyle Talks, Rusty Bloodworth discusses his rich experience in the real estate industry and working with Boyle for more than 55 years.


Gary: I’m Gary Thompson, and we’re here for another episode of Boyle Talks. Today we’ll be interviewing Rusty Bloodworth, who’s our executive vice president. He’s been here for a very long time. Rusty, I think you were hired in 1968.

Rusty: 1968. 55 years.

Gary: 55 years is a long time. Tell us about that.

Rusty: I was in fourth year architecture at the University of Virginia and two new towns were coming up. I drove over to see them, and I was like Mrs. Toad in The Wind and the Willows when he saw the motor car. My heart was really caught, and it reminded me when I was a little boy. I would play making villages and towns in the dirt behind our garage over in East Memphis. I really had a passion awaken within me to to do that childhood fantasy and to really work on it. It was a terrific opportunity when they allowed me to come on board here.

Gary: I know you’ve worked on large communities, small communities. Tell us about how you’ve done that, and what really has driven your passion for that.

Rusty: Part of our whole climate here has been to create terrific product if we could for all of the people that would be in our little communities. My way of coming into that is, I’ve got a vision of myself as about a six-year-old driving down the sidewalk on my tricycle in a little neighborhood here in Memphis, and when I think about every project, I think about the child on the tricycle. I think about people that are may be now my age who are walking on the sidewalk, and I just think about them and about what we’re trying to create. There’s a bit of fantasy to what we do. I think the word “fantastic” comes when we hit something that really elevates the human soul. The experience of what we’re doing motivates me to approach the project in the same way that you [Gary] do.

Gary: I know we’ve always tried to create communities that people choose because it touches them in some way.

Rusty: I think one term that means a lot to me is best loved place. Those kinds of places are gifts to the people that we are serving and if we can do that, that’s a huge advantage.

Gary: So, Rusty, Boyle’s been around. This is our 90th year. So, just like you, Boyle’s been around a long time too. Why do you think Boyle, as a company, has been able to sustain that long?

Rusty: You know, I think immediately back to the impact that the Belvedere development had on me when I first came to the company. That was done in 1907, and it is still today here in Memphis. I think one of the best loved places, and it’s been able to do that because it really had been carefully thought out. It was so well executed, so I think part of the success is putting that same kind of attention pretty consistently over nine decades. There are four important pillars to me about what makes the company tick the way it does. One of them is very obvious to me, it’s the foundation. It’s integrity. Integrity is absolutely key. The second one is fiscal conservative posture. Always very thoughtful about having enough money in the game that we would not have lender or loan problems. The third pillar I think is absolutely the customer. Our tenants, the folks that buy our insurance, the people that live in our apartments and occupy our office buildings, they’re number one. If they’re not number one and you try to go 90 years, you will never make it because the customer is the most important thing to me and I think to all of us here at Boyle. The last one is having a deep bench. A deep bench of employees with very strong expertise in each one of the critical areas of development. We’ve got a very deep bench here and in Nashville, and it’s critical to have. It’s also critical to have very top consultants. I’ve been privileged over a long time now to get to work with these people. Most of them are here in Memphis. They’re the top, and that means our product. It’s so important for the product and thinking about the customer, if we don’t get the product right, we fail the customer.

Gary: Just as important as the team of visionary professionals, is the implementation. I know we spend a lot of time in the field that maybe other developers don’t to make sure that what the vision that we’ve cast is what actually gets built, and then equally as rewarding to that is to have our customer and the public respond to them yes, by leasing them or buying them or moving into them.

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