Taft West joined CCLF in 2017 and manages the Technical Assistance and Sustainability programs. Taft began his real estate career in the late 1970s as an Assistant Manager trainee at a high-rise market-rate development with over 2,000 apartments and 30 commercial units near Lake Michigan. During his 30-year real estate career, Taft worked in various management assignments including condominiums, affordable housing and public housing. Taft began taking his peers to visit schools in disadvantaged areas for “Career Days” to share with the students how life experiences led to their varied careers.
In 2001, Taft received his Broker’s License and began working with Community Investment Corporation as a contract trainer in the Property Management Training Program, teaching Preventive & Routine Maintenance Systems to property management students. In 2002, Taft joined Community Investment Corporation (CIC) as the Deputy Director of this program and after a hiatus of several years, during which he pursued consulting projects, was named Director of Property Management Training in 2007.
The Chicago chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) awarded Taft its annual Premier Education Award in 2009 for outstanding commitment to enhancing the education of the Property Management Industry. In 2013, The Metropolitan Tenants Association of Chicago awarded Taft its “Tenant Champion” award in recognition of his support and commitment to Chicago’s tenants. The Association Of Illinois Real Estate Educators (AIREE) recognized Taft as the 2013 Educator of the Year “in recognition for his outstanding dedication to real estate education.” Only one real estate educator per year in Illinois is honored with this designation. Most recently, in 2019, Taft was named “Freedom & Fairness Lifetime Champion” by the Metropolitan Tenants Association of Chicago.
Taft attended the University of Illinois-Chicago and Roosevelt University. Taft is a Veteran of the United States Army, serving as a Medical Corpsman during the 1962-1965 Vietnam era war.