Founder & CEO
Seneca Captial Partners
Industry: Private Equity
Rhett Trees had humble beginnings on a fourth-generation farm near a small, blue-collar town in the northern Indiana cornfields. For several years, he and his parents lived in a one-room pole barn and this experience led to his passion for affordable housing.
In his mid-30s, Trees committed his time, energy and expertise to fixing the affordable housing epidemic in the U.S. Part of these efforts included launching Seneca Capital Partners in 2017 with the daily mission to “touch someone’s soul today” and “do the right thing, with the right people, for the right reasons.”
“We keenly focus on owning and operating affordable housing for hard-working residents who do not fit into the traditional path to homeownership,” said Trees.
Seneca Capital Partners is now one of the fastest-growing private equity firms in the country with two fully-subscribed funds in the last two years. Trees serves as the founder, chief executive officer and chief compliance officer. Seneca Capital Partners has been vocal about its desire to launch 5 funds in 5 years in hopes of selling the entire Affordable Housing portfolio for $1B between 2024-2026
Before founding Seneca Capital Partners, Trees was an equity partner and a principal at a diversified group of real estate companies, the COO at the PGA Tour Club and a vice president of the nation’s second largest mobile self-storage company. He has been a thought-leader in the affordable housing industry and Seneca is one of the only firms in the country adding supply (new homes) to this sector of real estate.
Trees’ work has earned him a nomination for the Forty Under 40 from the Denver Business Journal twice and invitations to speak regularly at industry events, entrepreneurial groups and non-profit galas. “I find great joy in mentoring a plethora of fellow enthusiasts around the country and I find that in sharing my experience via speaking engagements, it helps others expedite their growth,” said Trees.
“They say that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,’ and Seneca is honored that so many individuals and firms in the industry routinely use and reference our marketing materials and coined terms for ways to add value to the industry,” said Trees. “Seneca takes a unique approach as a ‘hands-on’ operator who works to significantly add value to each of our assets.”
This includes investing in each community with state-of-the-art upgrades that include basketball courts, soccer fields, gazebos, libraries, community centers, splash pads, monument signs and BBQ pits. “Our goal is to curate these living areas into communities, where each of the residents feel connected to each other,” said Trees.
For his impactful work in the affordable housing industry, Trees has been named a Titan 100.
Greatest leadership lesson
Rhett had to apply 3 times to Indiana University as an in-state resident and, after washing dishes to pay his tuition, he earned a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, and now he sits on the prestigious Alumni Board at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Touch Someone's Soul Today