Our Core Values

Dale Wills

Last Updated: February  10, 2024

Real estate industry growth is most often equated with numbers—sales figures, profit margins, market shares. Of course, these are all incredibly important ingredients in any organization’s recipe for success, real estate or otherwise.

But, here at Centra, our belief is that the true foundation of sustainable growth lies not just in spreadsheets and analytics but within the bedrock community-oriented principles that comprise the DNA of our organization. These principles are more than just moral compasses or platitudes—they are powerful engines for expansion and success.

The Values That Guide Us

Our five core values—accountability, compassion, integrity, growth, and humility—shape every aspect of our business from the ground up and distinguishes our firm in a marketplace with no shortage of players.

We, as an organization, are propelled by these five core values. They sit at the heart of every decision we make. Whether it is hiring, coaching, or delivering value to our investors, these core values guide our actions. When every individual in our company internalizes and exhibits these values, they gain the power to make well-informed decisions on their own. This independence is essential; it originates from a comprehension and enactment of our core values.

While many organizations may present lofty core values, for us, these principles are essential—there is no middle ground. Each employee is expected to embody these core values in their daily work life. Our commitment does not waver in steering them towards this goal. When we observe someone veering off course due to evolving situations, we step in with coaching and support to steer them back toward our fundamental tenets.

Instilling Foundational Principles

A key element of welcoming new team members into our fold includes familiarizing them with these core values right from the start. I often have the privilege of meeting each new team member to delve into the significance of these principles. Witnessing their moments of clarity is always fascinating—when they connect the dots and grasp why certain questions were posed during their interviews. These queries might initially seem baffling but are crafted to assess alignment with our values.

In our quest to fill specialized roles, like that of an accountant for example, it is important to us to identify individuals who not only excel in their field but also resonate with our core values. While we look to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in accounting, we are also adept at evaluating if their standards align with the values that anchor our organization: accountability, compassion, integrity—which is simply doing the right thing—growth, and humility.

Yet, these values can be subjective and open to individual interpretation. To avoid ambiguity and foster a unified understanding within our team, we have laid out precise definitions for each value. We do not stop there; as a company, we engage in ongoing dialogues about these principles, thereby nurturing a culture where reinforcement is constant and ubiquitous.

Do Right

Our first principle is to do right by maintaining personal integrity. This is encapsulated by a timeless maxim: "Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it; right is right, even if no one is doing it." Our determination to consistently do what is right guides us through complex decisions such as delivering difficult news with transparency. We take pride in honoring commitments whether verbal or written and base decisions on righteousness rather than mere feasibility.


Another core value we uphold is accountability. We hold ourselves to our commitments and accept full responsibility for our actions and decisions. A guiding principle that often echoes in the halls of our office is, 

"It's not only what we do, but also what we don't do, for which we're accountable."

This tenet encourages each one of us to fully own both our actions and, crucially, our missteps. The fear of making mistakes pales in comparison to the significance of acknowledging them and learning from them. We believe that growth from our experiences is indispensable.


Compassion stands as another pillar in the foundation of our business philosophy. It stems from the understanding that enduring hardships augments our empathy and comprehension for others' situations. This dimension of business is paramount—it transcends mere transactions and speaks to the essence of humanity: showing compassion, nurturing families, fortifying communities, and safeguarding investments.

There is wisdom in treating everyone as if they are grappling with a challenge because more often than not, it is true. This perspective underlines our dedication not solely to business objectives but equally to the human and community facets intertwined with our work. Our commitment to compassion extends to every interaction—whether with trade partners, investors, or fellow employees.


Furthermore, humility ranks high on our list of values—a concept eloquently summarized by the great author C.S. Lewis: "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less." This idea resonates with us; it is not about self-deprecation or underplaying our capabilities—we all have unique talents worth celebrating.

Instead, humility for us means shifting focus from self-promotion to fostering teamwork and collaboration. It requires acknowledging that everyone has valuable contributions to make—a principle instrumental to our collective success where problems are solved together through diverse perspectives being valued equally.


We believe that there can be tremendous risk when taking a numbers-only, arguably myopic view of a candidate or team member.

Take ‘growth’, for example—one of our foundational core values. The conventional view might limit growth to business expansion metrics which undeniably matter for profitability and safeguarding stakeholders’ interests. However, we advocate for a more encompassing vision of growth that includes personal development.

In my own life as a husband, father, and employer, I constantly contemplate how I can evolve in each capacity. Are we advancing as partners at home? As nurturers? As professionals? This holistic approach to growth is what we earnestly seek to instill in all our team members.

From our perspective, growth signifies a dual commitment—to our work and ourselves. It is about embracing discomfort associated with change rather than clinging to the familiar status quo.

We encourage delving deep into our abilities and to seeking help when needed. Ralph Waldo Emerson encapsulates this ethos perfectly: "Unless you try to do something beyond what you've already mastered, you will never grow." This sentiment lies at the heart of how we define growth—it is an unwavering pursuit of personal betterment.

Building a Growth-Minded Team

We believe growth should encompass not just business acumen but also personal development as well. Both concepts are integral to continued success as a professional and as a person. Indeed, we offer an array of pathways for growth. For those continuing their college education, we provide tuition reimbursement. This support can extend to participation in continuing education seminars.

On a personal note, I am a staunch proponent of learning through books; there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from extensive reading. Moreover, we encourage involvement in peer groups and educational organizations. We recognize that growth is not always a straightforward journey and thus encourage our employees to discover their unique paths to development.

I find it astonishing that I read 50 to 60 books a year yet many people have not touched a book since completing their formal education. This realization often becomes apparent when we ask someone about the last thing they learned or something that intrigued them.

In line with this philosophy, we have implemented an unusual incentive: we offer up to $50 reimbursement for two books per month—regardless of the book's genre. Whether it is a biography, history book, or even a manual on rebuilding Model T cars, if it contributes to personal growth, it garners our support.

During the hiring process, rather than asking direct questions such as 'Will you do the right thing?'—which most people would naturally answer affirmatively—we take a different approach in evaluating potential candidates. Our focus is on getting to know them personally—their interests, what they appreciated about their previous job, their family life, hobbies and so on. This enables us to tailor our questions more closely to their experiences.

Asking about something as simple as their last camping trip might reveal how they interact with the environment or discussing the last book they read could provide insights into their eagerness for growth and learning. It’s all about uncovering those subtle indicators that reflect their values and character.

In getting to know people, especially in professional settings, asking strategic questions helps us understand their character. It reveals if they are likely to do the right thing under pressure, whether they are focused on personal growth, and if they are compassionate and supportive in others' times of need. Through these interactions, we frequently uncover surprising aspects of individuals, particularly in contexts like job interviews where such depth is not commonly explored.

Ultimately, it is about going beyond superficial assessments to truly understand an individual's character and how they may integrate within our culture and ethos.

These values are not mere words; they are tangible elements woven into the fabric of our office culture—displayed prominently on walls, incorporated into meeting discussions, and forming a bedrock for coaching sessions within our team. They are etched into who we are as an entity—they shape our identity and guide every facet of how we operate day-to-day.

A Truly Collaborative Leadership Ethos

As the founder and CEO of Centra, my primary focus is on nurturing the company's vision, establishing its structure, and spearheading deal-making initiatives. I am fortunate to have my brother by my side as the president, David Wills. Not only is he one of my best friends, but his formidable background includes managing projects worth over a billion and a half dollars across various continents. His expertise makes him an invaluable asset to our team.

Our leadership also includes Paul Tabone, our VP of land acquisition and entitlements. Paul and his team are tasked with identifying valuable assets, troubleshooting issues that arise, and ensuring that we protect our investors' interests at every turn. They play an integral role in assessing the potential value of assets—be it for constructing apartment complexes, houses or rehabilitating existing buildings.

When it comes to operational excellence, Dave Ruhland runs our operations team. His focus spans across construction and purchasing sectors. Dave's team is instrumental in sourcing qualified subcontractors while ensuring they carry necessary insurances and pass stringent background checks. We value our long-standing relationships with many contractors; however, we are not complacent—we continually seek out new partnerships when appropriate.

Dave's responsibilities are comprehensive: from scrutinizing project plans to navigating bidding processes, all the way through to supervising contractor performance on each project. Our project managers also play a pivotal role; they ensure contractors adhere strictly to schedules and maintain high standards—key aspects overseen by Dave.

Together, we strive for operational excellence—a journey that is made possible by the collective effort of every member within our dedicated team.

As our CFO, Ben Nelsen is at the helm of all financial facets of our operations. Under his guidance, our team ensures that bills are paid on time, payroll is processed without delay, and strong banking relationships are maintained. It is Ben's know-how and seasoned background that are indispensable in steering our financial ship.

Jon Rawlings represents a critical component of our organization as he heads up our investor relations team. This branch is pivotal in not just offering investment opportunities but also in sustaining regular communication with our investors. What truly distinguishes Jon's team is their unwavering commitment to transparency and consistent updates.

Our approach to investor relations goes beyond the passive nature typically associated with stock investments; we are proactive, providing regular financial statements and investor letters that delve into all facets of the investments—the good, the bad, and the unpredictable—ensuring that our investors stay thoroughly informed and protected.

Learn more about the Centra Capital Partners executive team here >>

Ethical Excellence Equals Success

Every leader plays a crucial role in securing our success across various domains: operational efficiency, financial management, or investor relations—it is this synergy that upholds our standards of excellence in every area we touch.

Intrinsic values serve as both anchors and catalysts in our voyage towards corporate excellence. We have seen that these principles do not merely hang on office walls or echo in meeting rooms; they are lived experiences embedded in every interaction and decision within our organization.

By nurturing these values consistently, we cultivate an environment where individuals flourish both professionally and personally—a testament to the power of a culture steeped in ethics and purpose. As leaders in this enterprise, we remain committed to this path because it is one paved with integrity and intentionality—a route that promises not only commercial success and a legacy of positive impact on people's lives, but also on delivering outsized and principled results for our investors.

Interested in becoming an investor with Centra Capital Partners?

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