2023 Cleantech Panelist Speaker
Clay is the CEO and chairman of Grubb Properties, a vertically integrated real estate fund manager founded in 1963 that today is focused on the Essential Housing space through its Link Apartments® brand. Since 2002, when Clay became the CEO of Grubb Properties, the company has grown significantly and has been a top quartile producer of returns for its real estate investment funds. The company has received numerous sustainability awards and designations.
Clay leads the long-term strategic vision for Grubb Properties and plays an active role in all investment decisions. Under his leadership, Grubb Properties successfully transformed from a family-owned business to an employee- and board-owned company. The company been profiled in several leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal’s Deal of the Week and the cover of Business North Carolina.
Clay is an adjunct professor of real estate at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. He has been involved in a number of initiatives to enhance the communities and environments where Grubb Properties operates. He serves as chair of the Grubb Real Estate Preservation Foundation, which focuses on land preservation. Clay is on the board of directors for Aymira Technologies, a home healthcare company focused on serving those with developmental disabilities. He is an advisory board member for Charlotte’s Knight Foundation. He is on the board of advisors for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at North Carolina State University.
He is a past member of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., where he served as chair of the National Freedom School Advisory Committee for four years. Clay has served as past chairman of the board of directors of Freedom School Partners, which provides after-school and summer programs to at-risk children. He is also a past chair of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate. He is a past president of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, and past chairman of the board for the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. Clay served as founding vice chair of the Young Presidents Organization’s People Action Network and vice chair of its Helping Disadvantaged Kids Network.
Clay has served on the Kenan-Flagler School of Business’ Real Estate Advisory Board, Queens University’s Presidential Advisory Board, Queens University’s Learning Society Executive Committee, North Carolina’s Environmental Defense Fund Board, the Mint Museum Board of Trustees and the NC Dance Theatre Board of Trustees.
Clay won the 2019 Impact Award from the Charlotte chapter of Vistage Worldwide and is a fellow in the 2018 Aspen Institute’s Finance Leaders Fellowship. He received the Charlotte Apartment Association’s most prestigious award, the Lex Marsh Award, and the Young Bishop Award from Virginia Episcopal School as recognition for his accomplishments. His book, “Creating the Urban Dream,” was published in 2020 by Forbes Books.
Clay received his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and his Bachelor of Science in Management from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, with a concentration in finance and a second major in economics.