Shelly O’Brien: ‘World’s Best Teacher,’ Her Mom

Shelly O'Brien was born to be in the property management business. Her mother, Bonnie Weinberg, started managing subsidized rental properties in 1974 and formed Weinberg PM Inc. 10 years later. For more than two decades, O'Brien worked alongside her. "I was raised with this stuff," O'Brien said with a chuckle.

Weinberg passed away in 2004. Today, O'Brien and her husband, Jeff Carda, operate Weinberg PM. Their company owns and manages subsidized rental housing properties in, Elk Point, Jefferson, Parkston, Sturgis and Yankton. They also have properties in Nebraska and Iowa. Weinberg PM is responsible for about 350 housing units, with 228 of those in South Dakota overseen by SDHDA. O'Brien credits her mother for much of the company's success. "I had the world's best teacher, because Mom had done it for so long and she knew how to work with both the business and the people side of the industry," reflected O'Brien.

It wasn't easy for Weinberg. In 1970, when O'Brien's father died, the young widow didn't have a lot of professional prospects. "That was a tough time for women to get jobs," O'Brien said. But Weinberg was a quick learner. She went to work writing grants for the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council in Sioux City, Iowa. After learning the regulations, programs and requirements of federal housing, she decided to strike out on her own. She became an owner and manager of a number of SDHDA financed properties. Today, O'Brien and Carda continue to keep up with the ever-changing business. There is always something new to learn.

O'Brien and Carda have two grown children, one grandchild and another grandchild on the way. Do they represent the third and fourth generations of Weinburg PM? "Not likely," stated O'Brien. "Good or bad, it is a different era and kids don't follow in their parents footsteps like they used to. I was lucky to have an amazing mentor in my mother and I am glad to have been able to carry on her legacy."