Jared Smith, 39, was born and raised in Boise. After high school, he served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Florence, Italy and in New York City. He learned to speak Italian fluently, taught English and headed and implemented training programs for more than 200 volunteers.
Then he moved to the East Coast. He went to The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he got his bachelor of science degree in economics and graduated magna cum laude. He worked for a while as a private equity acquisition analyst for one of the most prestigious real estate private equity firms in the nation, Starwood Capital, where, among other achievements, he formed an investment vehicle valued at more than $1 billion.
Then he went back to school and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master’s in real estate development.
For Smith, it was about coming full circle. And following his heart.
“As a kid growing up, my dad was a real estate developer. I thought I’d follow in his footsteps,” Smith says. “I tried on being an investment banker … but I had entrepreneur in my blood.”
Upon graduation, Smith spurned the large real estate companies where most of his peers clamored for interviews. He had no interest in working for someone else. Instead, he began working on his own business plan with his partner to be – he wanted his own real estate company. Today, Pennbridge Capital and Pennbridge Lodging is the successful dual company – one develops and owns hotels, the other runs them – that came from that plan. Pennbridge owns multiple hotels in Georgia, Colorado, Utah and Idaho, and is a franchisee of Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Smith’s most recent – and most ambitious – project is the 10-story, 186-room Residence Inn by Marriott currently under construction in downtown Boise. “This hotel is our first urban one,” Smith says, “and we’re the owner-operator-franchisee. It’s fun to (build a hotel) in your home town,” he says, adding, “this one has been a wild ride.”
The challenges of getting all the parts and pieces together – including the different entities involved – have contributed to that wild ride. Jason Farmer, area vice president, lodging development for Marriott International tips his hat to Smith for making it happen.
“… (Jered) worked tirelessly on all aspects of the hotel including design, financial underwriting, financing, construction bids, and city support and approval to name a few,” Farmer writes in a letter recommending Smith for this award. “I remember joking to myself early on that he must not sleep. To this day, I’m still amazed at how quickly this project went from an idea to being under construction.”
Smith, who grew up loving the Rocky movies that feature underdog Rocky Balboa who refuses to fall – although sometimes is a little worse for wear – says his father has always been an inspiration. “My father wanted me to find out what I wanted to do, not just what would pay the bills. He was very open to the idea of me finding out what I loved.”
Smith, who is very involved in his church, says “there’s a baseline integrity you come here with.” And he believes in The Golden Rule – “you can never go wrong there,” he says. “And always give people the benefit of the doubt.”
Smith, who was an Eagle Scout at 14 is a volunteer scoutmaster and cubmaster. In addition, he says Pennbridge and its more than 100 employees, embrace community service. The company has sponsored, volunteered for, or donated to, nearly two dozen organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Make A Wish of Utah, the Gunnison County Food Pantry, Children’s Miracle Network, Toys for Tots, Jubilee House, and the Wallsburg Music Festival.
Smith and his wife, Tiffany, are doting parents of their six daughters, ranging in age from 1 to 15. The family spends leisure time attending sports games including volleyball and soccer and snow skiing in winter and water skiing in summer. “I’m in the hospitality industry,” Smith says with a smile. “We do a lot of vacations.”
Most memorable airplane trip: “Skydiving. When I was 18 in my first year of college, I went skydiving. Both ‘chutes opened at the same time. I had to release my main ‘chute and use my reserve.”