David Malcolm is a real estate expert with over five decades of work experience. He earned his real estate license in high school, his broker’s license in 1974, and holds the highest professional commercial real estate designation, CCIM. As the President of Cal West Apartments, Inc., he has managed numerous complex real estate, development, and financial transactions, with an exceptional ability to recognize real estate opportunities that others don’t, thereby maximizing value.
David is a true San Diego-based entrepreneur and community leader. He has held numerous municipal and statewide public offices, and he was the longest-serving California Coastal Commissioner in state history. In addition to his successful career, he is committed to giving back to the community, with a passion for helping the homeless get their lives back on track. He and his wife, Annie, also support two San Diego gymnasiums and other charitable non-profits.
As an entrepreneur and father, was it important for you to instill business values in your children?
Let me start by saying that reflecting on my experiences has allowed me to see the importance of instilling values both in business and in family life. While I may have initially focused on instilling family values in my business, I have come to realize that it is equally important to instill business values in my family.
One of the key values that I hold dear in my business is the importance of keeping one’s word and working together as a team. I firmly believe that these values are essential for success, and I have always held myself and my associates to these high standards.
However, upon further reflection, I recognize that there have been times when I did not live up to these same values in my personal life. I regret that I was not always able to attend family events or fulfill commitments to my loved ones due to business obligations. It is a lesson that I have learned, and something that I am happy to say has led me to achieve a better balance today.
Despite this, I am proud to say that I have instilled important business values in my children. I have always made sure to teach them the importance of honesty, hard work, and teamwork. These values have served them well in their own endeavors, and I am confident that they will continue to be successful in their lives.
Were any of your children inspired to follow in your real estate or entrepreneurial footsteps?
I am incredibly proud to say that both of my adult children have been inspired to follow in my real estate and entrepreneurial footsteps. One is a general contractor, and one is an attorney who does entrepreneurial real estate transactions for himself and his clients.
Both of my children have shown a tremendous amount of talent and dedication in their respective roles. I am grateful that they have been able to find their own paths within the real estate industry, and it brings me great joy to see that they have found success and fulfillment in that industry.
Can you describe a specific example of how you encouraged your children to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas or ventures?
I supported my children’s entrepreneurial spirit by providing funds for them to invest in real estate with me. This opportunity gave them valuable experience and taught them they could achieve greater financial success than a traditional 9-to-5 job would allow.
As a result, both of my children have completed successful real estate transactions on their own. Watching them pursue their passions and achieve their goals in the real estate industry has been one of the greatest rewards of my own career, and I am grateful for the privilege of supporting them in their journey.
How has your relationship with your children evolved as they built successful careers?
Our family remains extremely close. This credit goes to my wonderful wife, who is the “glue” for the family. The biggest change in our relationship with the children is that they no longer need Dad’s money/support to complete a real estate transaction. As a father, that brings both happiness and a little sadness. I enjoy working with them and being a partner. The tables have turned, and now it seems I invite them into a good real estate deal vs. them asking me to be their partner.
How did you balance your company’s needs with supporting your children’s professional pursuits?
While I have made my share of mistakes, I have put my boys’ projects and endeavors before mine. I dropped everything to work with my sons.
What have been some of the most rewarding experiences you have had as a business-centric family?
Both difficult and easy projects are rewarding for a father working with his adult children. My most memorable project was getting government approval to close a mobile home park and build a subdivision of new homes on the property. This project put one of my sons and me up against difficult odds, but we did it. It was a great learning experience and one that really challenged us. We really thought we had conquered the world together when this project was completed.
What advice do you have for parents who want to encourage their children to become entrepreneurs?
I strongly believe that not every child is meant to attend college, nor is every child intended to become an entrepreneur. We should support our children who want to be teachers, electricians, plumbers, and stay-at-home moms/dads.
However, in today’s world, if your child wants to be entrepreneurial, you often need to support them both mentally and monetarily. Getting a loan and dealing with banks has become almost impossible for anyone starting out in business. This is truly unfortunate for our children and our country. Everyone deserves a chance, and I was fortunate to have it easier, seemingly having lived through the best of times. Today’s reality places an obligation on all of us to help not only our children but also to mentor others to help start their business ventures.