EAST COBB - Todd Thrasher, managing partner of east Cobb-based Brooks Chadwick Capital, took the scenic route to find his passion for real estate. As a college theology major, he was four credits shy of obtaining a degree when missionary work and unexpected events kept him from graduating. But it helped him define his career.
Thrasher’s family moved from Birmingham, Ala., to east Cobb when he was 7 years old. After high school, he moved around to several colleges while doing missionary work in China and the Philippines.
“I spent some time smuggling Bibles into China,” he said. “I kind of went out and saw the world.”
His last collegiate stop was Columbia International University, a Bible college in Columbia, S.C.
“I wanted a Biblical world-view that I could then apply to business,” said Thrasher.
In 1999, a plane crash took the life of a close family friend and owner of Leader Enterprises, an Orlando-based sports management agency, as well as professional golfer Payne Stewart, among four others. Thrasher’s life took a drastic turn when he was asked to leave college and work for the company as it rebuilt from the tragedy. Shortly after, Thrasher’s father purchased the company and moved it to Atlanta.
Thrasher stayed with the company three years, managing the endorsements division. During this period, he developed a friendship with well-known Atlanta developer Tom Cousins, whom he now calls his mentor.
“He is the one that stoked the passion of real estate in me,” he said.
In 2004, Thrasher came across a valuable piece of property in east Cobb and took Presley Property Development Company to see the site. He was hired on the spot to do land acquisitions for the company that was developing 300 residential lots a year in metro Atlanta at the time.
In October of 2008, when the real estate market collapsed, the company shut its doors.
“We had just had our first child (Brooks Chadwick), and we had three months’ worth of severance and no prospects,” Thrasher said.
“I had the idea that it would be great to put together a fund to go out and buy some of these distressed properties — but how I was going to get there, I didn’t really know,” he recalls.
In December, with money running out, he found a subdivision property in east Cobb. Along with former Presley partner Dave Clapper, the two convinced a bank to give them 70 percent of the loan needed to purchase the property.
Raising the remaining 30 percent from friends, on Dec. 31, 2008, they closed the deal. Thrasher made $70,000 at closing, and Brooks Chadwick was founded.
“It was not the best of times. … When your back is against the wall, you have no choices.”
The risk paid off — they quickly sold the subdivision to Lennar, the third largest builder in the country, which was starting an Atlanta division.
CEO PROFILE: TODD THRASHER
- TITLE:Managing Partner, Brooks Chadwick Capital
- AGE: 36
- EDUCATION: Went to several schools and traveled all over the world. ... Still waiting to graduate.
- FAMILY: Wife, Whitney Thrasher; son, Brooks, 6; daughter, Hadley, 4.
- FIRST JOB: Chick-fil-A: I was 15 years old at the time, and my dad told me if I wanted a car that I would have to get a job. A car was great motivation that ensured a solid work ethic.
- HOBBIES: Spending time with my wife and kids, playing golf, watching college football and traveling.
- LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY: Always trust your instincts and never be afraid to take risks.