Raymond A. Watt, whose enthusiasm for USC and for 7 a.m. business meetings are equally legendary, was inducted into the Housing Hall of Fame of the National Assn. of Home Builders in Washington last week.
It may or may not be true that Watt's many joint ventures are necessary because it takes all the effort of three dozen or more individual builders to keep pace with the 65-year-old Watt, but his undiminished pace includes visits to several far-flung development projects a day. He describes himself as a "builder with an appetite for challenge."
Founded in 1947
Watt is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Watt Industries Inc., Santa Monica, a firm that since its founding in 1947 has been responsible for more than $6 billion in completed projects. These range from single-family houses to government-subsidized housing, country-club developments, business parks, shopping centers and luxury condominium complexes.
His firm currently has under development more than $1 billion worth of real estate in California, including housing priced from $70,000 to $700,000 a unit.
Public Sector Service
As if his workaholic pace in the private sector hasn't been enough, Ray Watt has been a leader in the public sector, beginning with his appointment in 1969 by Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney as assistant secretary. Later that year, he was elected president of the National Corp. of Housing Partnerships, a firm established by Congress to accelerate development of middle- and low-income housing. He continues to serve on the corporation's board of directors.
Watt served as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco from 1972 to 1979.
He has served on the board of trustees of USC since 1968, and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of law degree from USC. The Ray and Nadine Watt Hall of Architecture and Fine Arts was dedicated at the university in 1974.