Requirements rollback may make getting appraisers easier

Scott Calhoun in his office.
Appraiser Scott Calhoun in his Boise office. Calhoun, a member of the Idaho Real Estate Appraisal Board, said strong personal skills are an important qualification for would-be apprentices in his field. Photo by Bryan Rupp.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board, the national organization that governs the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria, is rolling back a requirement that appraisers must have four-year college degrees. Idaho real estate professionals hope that will make it easier to get timely appraisals completed.

The degree requirement, initiated in 2015, didn’t apply to existing appraisers, who were grandfathered in, said Scott Calhoun, a Boise-based certified general appraiser and a member of the Idaho Real Estate Appraisal Board. As of May 1, there will be alternative qualification methods available for appraisers, based on experience.

photo of andrew boespflug
Andrew Boespflug

The college degree requirement made it harder for new people to enter the profession nationwide, because becoming an appraiser required not only the degree but also two to three years apprenticing with an existing appraiser, said Andrew Boespflug, president of the southern Idaho chapter of the Appraisal Institute, an industry trade group.

“Usually it’s either but not both,” said Boespflug, a senior valuation services director for Colliers International in Boise.

This was a problem because appraisers are aging, with half over 45.

“We definitely have seen a drastic reduction of people getting into the industry,” Boespflug said.

Appraisers don’t always have the time or inclination to take on an apprentice, which reduces the pipeline of future appraisers. A hopeful sign is that according to state board statistics, Idaho has 53 registered trainees, up a few from the 46 in 2017.

“If you have a lot of poise and someone thinks you’re a good fit, you may not have a problem,” said Calhoun, who said he doesn’t have any trainees. “If you don’t know any appraisers and you don’t present well, it might be harder to find someone.”

Raphael Barta
Raphael Barta

New rules were also created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act due to the perception that appraiser overvaluation contributed to the recession, said Raphael Barta, president of the Idaho Realtors and a residential and commercial broker in Sandpoint.  Banks now have to choose an appraiser randomly drawn from a pool rather than selecting a specific appraiser, he said. “That means in Sandpoint you could have an appraiser from out of our area, which means they’re not going to appreciate the nuances of this market,” he says.

photo of toni nielsen
Toni Nielsen, Senior vice president and regional president, Zions Bank western Idaho region

Consequently, in rural areas it takes more time and costs more money to get an appraisal, which in turn delays real estate sales. “We’re being told we’re seeing longer time frames to get appraisals completed, and costs are going up,” said Toni Nielsen, region president for western Idaho for Zions Bank, in Boise. “When we inquire, we’re being told that we don’t seem to have as many appraisers.” While she didn’t have specific numbers, anecdotally she had heard such reports from western Treasure Valley cities such as Fruitland, New Plymouth, and Weiser, and north Idaho cities such as Moscow and Lewiston.

However, whether there actually are fewer appraisers depends on whom you ask. REA statistics showed mostly flat numbers since 2014. On a nationwide basis, there’s a three to four percent decline annually, said Boespflug.

“There are more appraisers based in larger communities with more dynamic real estate markets,” acknowledged Calhoun. “Otherwise you starve, right? If there aren’t enough transactions to provide a deep enough need for appraisers, then it’s onerous to live in that place.”

Appraisers who cover rural areas typically drive there from urban areas, he said. “The requirement is to have a ‘geographic competency’ in the area you’re working, but just because you live in Boise doesn’t mean you couldn’t work in Challis or Weiser or Orofino or whatever,” he said. “Your license is good for the state.”

Because the change was announced February 1, the appraisal board will consider a temporary rule to accommodate the new standards, which will then be reviewed by the Legislature at the beginning of the next legislative session, Calhoun said. The board, which typically meets in Boise every other month, intends to take up the issue at its next board meeting in April for implementation by May 1, he said.

How much do appraisers make?

Some appraisers nationwide have complained about their pay, which makes it harder to attract new people to the industry.

“You’d think in most arenas if you had a supply decrease, you’d increase the price and eventually it would balance out,” said Andrew Boespflug, president of the southern Idaho chapter of the Appraisal Institute, an industry trade group, and a senior valuation services director for Colliers International, in Boise. “But there’s been real pushback for any increase in fees. Until that does happen, there’s very little incentive for more people to get into the industry.”

“I know anecdotally from other appraisers here in Idaho that they are basically making the same amount they were in 2000,” said Scott Calhoun, a Boise-based certified general appraiser and chair of the Idaho Real Estate Appraisal Board. But there’s no set fee, he said. “If a bank needs an appraisal on a property in Mackie, maybe they’ll have to pay double to get someone to do it,” he said. “If you expect to get that done for the same price as an appraisal ten miles from the appraiser’s house, that’s unreasonable.”

How will big data help the appraisal industry?

Appraisers are increasingly turning to technology to help them do appraisals more quickly. “There’s more reliance on Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM), which is basically an algorithm,” said Raphael Barta, president of the Idaho Realtors and a residential and commercial broker in Sandpoint. “You get the grunt work parameters done by AVM, and then an appraiser makes the nuances. AVM may or may not pick up the railroad tracks or the pig farm nearby, but it will tell you, ‘Here’s the last 50 properties sold in that category,’ which could get you within 10 percent, plus or minus.”

”Big data is going to start doing some of the work that appraisers do now,” agreed Andrew Boespflug, president of the southern Idaho chapter of the Appraisal Institute, an industry trade group, and a senior valuation services director for Colliers International, in Boise. “It works, until the big data misses something. There’s absolutely no replacement for a human set of eyes, and judgment to catch errors and make assumptions.”

And technology only goes so far, Boespflug added. “If the number of appraisers goes down three to four percent a year, productivity is not going up five percent a year,” he said. “It’s not making up for the reduction in the number of appraisers.”

Expert: Treasure Valley has the recipe for growth

Urban geographer Joel Kotkin says Boise has great qualities for people seeking to escape the coastal big cities. Photo courtesy of Nicola McIntosh, Zions Bank.
Urban geographer Joel Kotkin says Boise has great appeal for people seeking to escape the coastal big cities. Photo courtesy of Nicola McIntosh, Zions Bank.

The Treasure Valley for the past 20-25 years has already lived up to urban geographer Joel Kotkin’s recipe for how America needs to build its future.

Kotkin, a fellow in urban futures at Chapman University in California, sees an American population shifting from the overpriced coasts to the more affordable middle of the country.

“My vision is we’re in a transitional phase in this country,” Kotkin told 180 civic leaders Oct. 27 at the Eighth and Main banquet room in downtown Boise. “We cannot maintain a middle class if we decide everybody has to live on the coast. The only future is people moving back to the middle (of the country). That’s the only way to accommodate population growth. Boise has a big part to play in this transition.”

Kotkin was invited to Boise to share his urban theories by Idaho 2020, a policy group made up of Idaho’s leading business leaders, and Zions Bank.

Not that long ago, people flocked in masses to coastal hotbeds like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

“Since 2000, there has been a big reduction in migration to New York and San Francisco,” Kotkin said. “People are looking for affordable homes. In the Bay Area, about 12 percent of people can afford a home. High housing costs is absolutely driving migration. Dallas, Austin, Nashville are attractive. They have urban lifestyle at an affordable price.”

The Treasure Valley population has grown 50 percent since 2000, from 432,000 to 651,000, according to Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho statistics.

Kotkin said Boise also falls favorably in what he calls a “median multiple,” the price of a median house divided by an area’s median income. Kotkin said the ideal ratio is for a house to cost about three to four times a person’s annual salary. In Boise, he said, the ratio hits that sweet spot at 3.5, but many coastal cities have home prices eight, nine, or 10 times the median incomes.

In Boise, people earning $75,000 can buy a house, he said.

“$75,000 in Los Angeles is poverty wages,” Kotkin said. “If you make $75,000 in San Francisco, you’re living on the street.”

Kotkin sees millennials, retiring baby boomers and immigrants defining how this inland migration will play out.

First, he notes retirees “no longer move for five years to Florida and drop dead,” and Kotkin debunked the common views that millennials don’t want kids, don’t want to get married, don’t want to own homes or that they reject the suburbs. He cited a Pew Research Center report that 74 percent of millennials want children, 70 percent want to get married and 81 percent want to own a home.

“Millennials may be weird but they are human,” Kotkin said. “The idea they don’t want to own a home is false.”

He said only 15 percent of young millennials want to live long-term in a dense urban setting, that 66 percent favor the suburbs for the long term.

“Being 35, being next to the bar isn’t as important,” he noted.

Kotkin has gained a certain national notoriety for dismissing urban planners’ fascination with downtown housing as he insists Americans – even millennials – remain enamored with suburban living. But he sees changes in housing as millennials, retiring baby boomers and immigrants become increasingly important players in state-to-state migration.

“(There are) three things that will be different than our standard homes,” Kotkin said. “The parks are absolutely at the center of everything (for millennials).”

He said millennials prioritize parks over golf courses, while baby boomers increasingly want single-story homes so they can age at home without the encumbrance of staircases.

“People are looking for affordable, smaller towns,” he said. “Among immigrants, there are much more extended families, so (they want) multigenerational homes. You have a house, and then next to the house is a separate entrance with a little kitchen, like a small apartment that is part of the house.”

As for creating middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, Kotkin said Idaho saw 9.7 percent growth from 2001 to 2014, far exceeding the 2.9 percent national average. But nearly all of Idaho’s regional competitors had higher middle-skill job growth rates ranging from 11 to 53 percent: North Dakota, Utah, Texas, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Nevada.

Kotkin said Boise saw a 19 percent increase in manufacturing from 2010 to 2016 with the region the strongest in manufacturing across the northern tier of states from the Pacific to the Great Lakes. Nationally, the north-south line from Michigan to Florida has seen strong manufacturing growth since 2010, while the northeastern states have experienced strong declines, he said.

“Manufacturing and the future of manufacturing is going to be very important for Boise and Idaho in general,” Kotkin said. “Take a look at manufacturing growth up here. Idaho has some of the most rapid manufacturing growth. Look at the East Coast, California, where it’s stagnant or negative. “

As other places in the country face high costs, high taxes and more regulations, Idaho is poised for people in other states looking for rosier pastures, a dynamic already in play in the Treasure Valley since the 1990s.

“Places like Idaho and this part of the country are really going to be the places that offer the alternative,” Kotkin said. “Your growth is well over the national average, people are coming on their own, people are here because they want to be here.”

Growth does present perils as countryside vanishes under development.

“It’s also how do you grow?” Kotkin said. “You’ve got to be able to preserve something of the quality of life.”

Proskriptive raises $400,000

Proskriptive founder Micahel Hollenbeck.
Proskriptive founder Micahel Hollenbeck.

Health care data technology company Proskriptive has raised $400,000 to add development and sales staff.

The Boise company, launched last year, is developing a “Wellness Automation Platform,” which applies machine learning capabilities to health care data in order to improve treatment for patients inside and outside of hospital settings.

Proskriptive co-founder Michael Hollenbeck said the new money means the company will be able to grow faster.

“We will be able to hire additional development resources in order to accelerate our development schedule,” he said.

Proskiptive’s platform will analyze managed populations of individuals in a health care system, separating them into different groups based on a range of health and behaviorial factors, and offer doctors and other care providers treatment options.

Proskriptive is adding a sales person in Indiana, a health care market that Hollenbeck has experience with through his past work with health care technology companies and a state he believes offers opportunities for companies like Proskriptive.

Hollenbeck said Proskriptive plans to have eight employees by the end of February, up from four employees last fall and six in December. The goal is to finish 2015 with 15 employees, Hollenbeck said.

Company co-founder Justin Richie has moved to Boise from Minnesota to serve full-time as vice-president of technology, working mainly on Proskriptive’s wellness automation platform, according to Hollenbeck.

“Having his brain on that full-time is absolutely critical,” Hollenbeck said. “That is definitely a new and exciting development.”

Of the $400,000 the company raised, 75 percent came from a Small Business Administration loan from Zions Bank. The remainder came from Brian Seaberg, a private investor who will receive an undisclosed amount of of equity in the company in exchange for his investment. Seaberg, who now works for Mocana Corp. in Florida, and Hollenbeck previously worked together at the former Boise technology company ProClarity.

“When he saw that we were doing this, he reached out and said he believed in us,” Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck said he never thought the company could get an SBA loan, but he contacted Zions based on a suggestion by Rick Ritter, CEO of Idaho TechConnect.

While an SBA loan means the company adds debt, it offers several benefits, Hollenbeck said. Proskriptive can still offer a stake of the company as a benefit to new employees, and Hollenbeck and Richie can maintain control of the company. Hollenbeck said raising money from investors can have its drawbacks.

“When you do take that money, you do also have to cede a lot of control,” Hollenbeck said.

In a news release, Seaberg said he invested in the company because of the many changes in the health care market and the fact that Proskriptive’s offerings could help health care companies stay ahead of their risk and manage outcomes.

Sheila Spangler, vice president and director of the Business Resource Center at Zions, said a SBA loan’s guarantee gives banks the comfort to lend when they might otherwise not.

“It doesn’t make a bad loan a good loan, but it shores up a weakness, like collateral,” she said. Spangler also said that some startup companies, in technology or other fields, may not be aware that they could get a bank loan, though Zions and other lenders will still follow their standard lending criteria before issuing a loan. She said Zions and other lenders may be more willing to look at new technology companies.

“In the past, banks may have shied away from technology because there isn’t collateral, because they’re providing software as a service, but we have to realize that the world has changed. Everyone has software in their business,” Spangler said.

Hollenbeck said Proskriptive currently has four health care companies that are customers, three of which are in Idaho. He said there are several more potential customers in the pipeline and that all those customers should lead to growth of between 300 percent and 500 percent during the next year, not including any potential added customers from the new sales position.

HP CEO Meg Whitman: Boise site will see growth as an outcome of split

Meg Whitman on stage Oct. 22 at the Boise Centre on the Grove. Photo by Kevin Kiernan.
Meg Whitman on stage Oct. 22 at the Boise Centre. Photo by Kevin Kiernan.

As Hewlett-Packard undergoes its division into two of the largest companies in the country, the company will grow in Boise, said HP CEO Meg Whitman.

“The good news is as we separate HP into two companies, we will be consolidating sites,” Whitman told a crowd who filled the Boise Centre for an event on Oct. 22. “Boise is a site we want to build on. We want to move people from other parts of the United States to Boise.”

Whitman outlined an eventful last few weeks at HP. On Oct. 6, HP announced it will divide into two companies, one focused on its personal computer and printing business and another on technology services, such as data storage, servers and software, in a bid to raise its profits.  The PC and printer business will use the name HP Inc., and the services business will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

It’s been a while since Boise heard positive news about HP, which last spring announced plans to eliminate as many as 16,000 jobs worldwide. But Whitman’s news had the crowd buzzing.

“It’s great news,” said Rick Ritter, the CEO of the Boise-based Idaho TechConnect. “Although she didn’t say a lot, if you start to think about the need to grow in either one of those two companies, Idaho is a natural place because of the cost of their operations.”

Whitman, the CEO of HP for three years, will lead the Enterprise business and will serve as chairman of HP Inc.

HP is so large – with reported revenues of $27 billion in the last quarter, a 1 percent gain – that after the split, the two divisions will both be among the 50 largest American companies, Whitman said.

Whitman, who served as CEO of eBay for a decade, didn’t give any details about how HP’s split will affect the Boise operation, but she said the company is committed to Boise, where the company employs 4,000 people.

“We have all kinds of disciplines here; we love doing business here, you know this,” she said. “But my advice is make it easy to do business here. Reasonable regulation, not no regulation, education, a business-friendly environment, and creating a high-tech corridor which is anchored today by HP and Micron, that’s going to be a good thing.”

HP has based its printer business in Boise since 1973. Despite the advent of tablets and other mobile devices in the last decade or so, printers are still essential, perhaps as much as ever, Whitman said. They’re just being used with mobile devices now, not desk-bound computers.

“A lot of the rhetoric you see is that people are printing a lot less,” she said. “People at home are printing less; in the office they are printing more.”

Whitman also said every company’s highest priority should be data security, and each business should have one person who is responsible for securing the company’s network.

“We’re making big bets on the cloud,” she said. “No matter what size business you run, you need to do a security health check, because things are changing. We collectively have to get better.”

The Zions Bank event also featured former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and economist Todd Buchholz, a former White House director of economic policy under President George H.W. Bush. Romney’s speech stayed mostly with politics, and Buchholz gave a sweeping overview of the recession, its aftermath, and a rapidly changing global economy where powerhouses like China are starting to compete with U.S. companies for the first time.

“There are three things the American consumer is buying: automobiles, housing, and Greek yogurt,” Buchholz said. “Consumers are buying durable goods. They’re not really going out to restaurants as much.”

Buchholz advised business owners to work hard at the job of thinking like their customers.

“Think, ‘What are the three websites, newspapers, journals I read?” he said. “Now ask: ‘What are the three websites, journals, magazines that my prospective clients and customers read?’ If there is not a big overlap, then you’re not serious about staying in business or earning the trust of the people you do business with.”

Zions tops in SBA loan count for 13th year

Yoga in the Studio Owner Shannon Femenia said an SBA loan helped her buy and renovate her new studio. Photo by Brad Iverson-Long.
Yoga in the Hood Owner Shannon Femenia said an SBA loan helped her buy and renovate her new studio. Photo by Brad Iverson-Long.

Zions Bank once again made the most U.S. Small Business Administration loans in the Boise District during the past year, though Wells Fargo lent slightly more money, $12.6 million, in the SBA’s 7(a) and 504 loans from last October through the end of September.

SBA lending was largely down compared to the previous year, though a top Zions lender said that’s because more businesses are getting traditional, non-SBA loans.

Cece Mitchell, senior vice president and SBA manager for Zions Bank in Salt Lake City, said the number of non-SBA loans at Zions has been growing gradually and that the dip in SBA lending isn’t a negative economic indicator. She said that SBA lending typically runs countercyclical to the rest of the economy. An increase in SBA incentives in the wake of the recession that ended in 2011 boosted lending for a few years, but has led to a drop-off since, she said.

Mitchell also said that many small businesses were able to make do without a loan over the past few years. If economic conditions continue to improve, those businesses could come back to lenders.

“During the recession, many small businesses learned how to run a very lean operation. We are finding that they like running very lean operations and they haven’t needed to borrow funds. They’ve been able to self-fund or postpone to a later date,” Mitchell said.

Don Collins
Don Collins

Don Collins, vice president and business banking manager for Wells Fargo for southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon, said that bank’s increased lending is a sign that small business owners expect to grow.

“Confidence is growing within the economy. Businesses are looking for ways to expand and capitalize on the revenue growth opportunities they’ve been able to identify,” Collins said.

SBA loans can help new or existing companies open, expand or add new facilities. One recent business that opened after getting an SBA loan is Yoga in the Hood. Owner Shannon Femenia said her loan from Zions Bank helped her buy and remodel her building rather than rent a similar space. She moved from teaching yoga in a bonus room in her house in Hidden Springs to a 1,725-square-foot space that includes a massage room in the North End of Boise.

Yoga in the Hood opened Oct. 6, and also has six independent contractors teaching classes. Femenia said she will also lead a yoga instructor certification course next summer. Femenia said the SBA loan from Zions helped her transform the building, formerly home to the Swim and Run Shop, into a relaxing environment.

“Everyone comes in here and they love the color and say, ‘Oh this has good good energy in here,’” Femenia said. She said the new, larger space is part of her plan to expand her clientele.

“Where I want to stand out as different from other studios is focusing on teaching beginning yoga, which applies to 99 percent of the population,” she said. She also said beginners could be terrified of coming to a yoga studio because they think they’ll look dumb and can’t do many contorted positions. “People really need a place to come to where they feel relaxed.”

In total, banks, credit unions and certified development companies made $140 million in loans from last October to September, compared to $147 million in loans the previous year. The total number of loans fell from 471 to 418. Both 7(a) loans, which cover general business expenses, and 504 loans, which cover construction, land and equipment purchases had fewer loans completed. Bucking the trend, the dollar amount of 7(a) loans rose from $76 million to $80 million, while 504 loans dropped from $71 million to $59 million.

In addition to the different eligibility requirements, 7(a) and 504 programs have different funding sources and guarantees. On 7(a) loans, the SBA guarantees as much as 85 percent on loans of up to $150,000 and 75 percent on loans of more than $150,000. For 504 loans, banks typically cover 50 percent of a project cost, while certified development corporations fund 40 percent. The remaining 10 percent is the borrower’s down payment.

Zions led the Boise region, which includes 34 counties in southern Idaho and six counties in eastern Oregon, in loans for the 13th straight year. Over the past year, Zions made 75 loans totaling $12.2 million, down from 108 loans for $15.5 million the previous year.

Cece Mitchell
Cece Mitchell

Mitchell said the bank provides fast service, including a centralized processing group specifically for SBA loans, to help its clients.

“We continue to do well in SBA lending because we focus on making sure our borrowers get the right product and that sometimes is an SBA loan,” she said.

Wells Fargo led the region in dollars lent, but was tied for third in number of loans with D.L. Evans Bank, both of which were behind Zions and U.S. Bank. Unlike most of the region, Wells Fargo increased in total loans, from 32 to 34, and doubled in dollar amount, from $6 million to $12.5 million. Collins said Wells Fargo offers many resources for its business customers, including tools on its Wells Fargo Works for Small Business website.

Overall, 41 banks and credit unions made SBA loans over the past year, though just 22 institutions made more than two loans. Mountain America Credit Union led credit unions with nine SBA loans.

Zions offers step-by-step small business guidance

Zions Bank's Sheila Spangler confers with Shawn Schnitker, who graduated from the bank's Business Resource Center. Photo by Pete Grady.
Zions Bank’s Sheila Spangler confers with Shawn Schnitker, who graduated from the bank’s Business Resource Center. Photos by Pete Grady.

Whatever the number bandied about – 60 percent, 70 percent, even 80 percent – small businesses fail at alarming rates.

The reasons nearly always add up to business owners lacking an adequate grip on the basic rules of business.

“They don’t know difference between a financial statement and a financial projection or a balance sheet and an income statement,” said Sheila Spangler, director of the Zions Bank Idaho Business Resource Center.

The center provides free courses to arm small business owners with the essentials in finance, marketing and selling. A lifetime in commercial banking has shown Spangler that these areas are the Achilles’ heel of most business owners.

“The reason we came up with these classes is we got tired of hearing the same thing over and over in one-on-one counseling. Let’s do it for 18 people at a time,” Spangler said. “We provide the block and tackle training for business owners.”

Spangler and Karen Appelgren, the assistant director, established the center’s  Business Success Academy. It  offers a series of free, two-hour workshops open to anyone that delve into the “Inside Secrets to Funding Your Business,“ “Money-Making  Marketing … to Reach, Keep and Grow Your Customer Base” and “LinkedIn Strategies: Managing Your Brand.”

“While you can’t cram a four year college degree into 10 hours of workshop time, we lead business owners in self-discovery,” Appelgren said.  “Our main objective is to guide entrepreneurs to shift their thinking from their dream of how they envision their business to the reality of what the market truly wants to buy.”

Karen Appelgren
Karen Appelgren

The Business Resource Center is precisely as new as the Zions Bank Building at Eighth and Main. The center opened on the sixth floor of the tower in February, just as Eighth and Main opened to the public.

One of the first students was Shawn Schnitker, director of business development at Treasure Valley IT, a computer repair and service support company. He took the courses over four or five months.

“I think it was absolutely worth the equal of a whole semester college course,” Schnitker said. ”I absolutely think it could have been an accredited course. The real-world information they gave us was really useful. It wasn’t just fluffy, useless material. It gives a really in-depth basic view of everything a business owner needs to be aware of.”

Spangler and Appelgren moved to Zions Bank in November from the Women’s Business Center of Idaho, which Spangler had relaunched in January 2012.

Along with her decades in the trenches of commercial lending, Spangler also ran her own business as a certified business intermediary to help people buy, sell and finance business.

“When Karen and I were hired, we said here’s what we should offer,” Spangler said. ”Here’s what we’ve seen are the weaknesses in the market. We created five core courses. The Business Success Academy is the basics that business owners need to know.”

Sheila Spangler
Sheila Spangler

Spangler and Appelgren like to start off clients with the two-part Smart Startup for Business, designed for entrepreneurs before they launch their businesses. Only 30 percent of students continue from Part 1 to Part 2.

“They don’t want to do the homework,” Spangler said. “We say bring in the financials and they don’t know what it means. They can’t articulate why their product is the best. We teach them and show them what they don’t know.”

The center is all about tough love.

“Suddenly, we’re poking holes in their dreams,” Spangler said. “Some people call us truth talkers or dream killers. We want people to succeed.”