Saint Thomas' Episcopal School

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Hotze ’85
STE Communications
Chris Hotze (’85) and family

Chris Hotze is the CEO and founder of Crescere Capital. His book, Mailbox Money Mindset, was published in September 2018. We caught up with Chris to talk about his time at STE, his experience as a parent of STE students, and his career path.

What is your favorite memory from your time at St Thomas’ Episcopal School?

My favorite memory from STE was being in Classical Greek class with Dr. Jim Freeman which was so refreshingly human. Also, I loved Chuck Underwood’s history classes. He was an amazing teacher who brought a passion to the history of Western Culture that impacted me for a long time.

Why did you decide to enroll your children at Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School?

We knew that Saint Thomas' was providing superior instruction to students. We reached out to meet the teachers before we made the switch and we were so impressed with the caliber of the teachers and the curriculum. The standard test scores went up every year for our children after they enrolled. STE certainly had a positive impact on them. 

From your perspective, has STE changed since you were enrolled? Your children enrolled? If so, how?

Mike Cusack has done an amazing job becoming proactive to advance the school. Perhaps the most impactful thing that I have seen is creating an office of advancement, building a culture of giving and getting parents involved. I loved driving up to drop the kids at school and seeing Mike out greeting the kids, sometimes in the pouring rain with his Vanderbilt University umbrella. 

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your time at STE?

I think the most valuable tool that I learned at STE was how to write. I use that all the time and feel like I can communicate much better because of the amazing people that I was surrounded by. Every time I use a semicolon, I think of Mrs. Graves.

How did your time at STE shape you as a professional in your career?

I was not the best math student at STE and it was a subject that I struggled with at the time. But, there were some formulas and things that were taught to me by Mr. Walters and Mrs. Loeffler that I still use all the time in my real estate business. Quite frankly, I became comfortable with math as I grew older and spent more time running proformas and managing properties. I always go back to the simple math equations I learned from Mr. Walters. He was kind to me in so many ways.

Why did you choose your specific career path?

I chose commercial real estate development because I had seen my father build a portfolio of real estate assets while I was young. I have always been involved in commercial real estate in one form or fashion, so I always spent my after hours studying the business, watching growth patterns and learning about property valuation. 

What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of or passionate about?

There are several large deals that I have done that I look back and think positively about. One of the biggest accomplishments is redevelopment of a couple of critical corners in the Garden Oaks/Heights area of Houston. Our developments there were always ahead of the growth and have been impactful in the way that they both bring an architectural transformation to the entire community.

What is your greatest inspiration in your career? 

My book, Mailbox Money Mindset, is really a book about all of the amazing people in my real estate career who have inspired me.

My dad, the main figure in my book, was my greatest inspiration because he grew up with hardship during the Great Depression and turned that hardship into lifelong determination.

If you could give one message to the STE class of 2019, what would it be?

Figure out a way to stay out of college debt, or have very limited debt to go to college. Debt limits your options, and takes away freedoms, so do everything in your power to make choices to limit debt’s impact.

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