Barbara Adams


Pennsylvania's Housing Champion

Ep. 27 - Barbara Adams is an influential leader in Pennsylvania for her tireless efforts to implement housing projects, help reduce poverty, and advocate for social justice issues. Barbara Adams is recognized as one of Pennsylvania's accomplished leaders with decades of experience in law, finance, government, and public service. Barbara recounts her journey and discusses how to improve senior housing and the keys to tackling a poverty epidemic in Philadelphia. She also shares her work in clean  energy, which she argues is essential for creating jobs and fighting poverty.

Top Takeaways:

    • The consequences of a lack of affordable housing for low-income seniors
    • How to manage a huge number of professionals especially as a woman
    • Using energy as a tool to relieve poverty
    • The opportunities in the energy and affordable housing sectors that young people can explore

Listen to her advice on a career in the energy sector for young people today.

"There's a big challenge on creating enough multifamily housing for the low-income populations who need that product."


For 28 years Ms. Adams worked at the firm of Duane Morris, LLP, an international law firm with its world headquarters in Philadelphia. Starting at Duane Morris as a summer intern and rose through the ranks to tackle complex housing projects that significantly improved the lives in her community. Barbara achieved Partner, was a member of the Partners' Board, and headed the firm's Finance Practice.

She focused her practice in the areas of public finance, derivative products, credit enhancements, escrow restructurings, affordable housing and community development, transportation and infrastructure funding, state and local government law, energy law and political campaign finance law.

Given her expertise, Ms. Adams was a natural choice when Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell needed a new General Counsel to serve in his Administration and to head the legal team supporting the Commonwealth's Executive Branch (2005-2011). Ms. Adams oversaw the work of a 500-lawyer office and had an important role in some of the most significant milestones in Pennsylvania during the Rendell Administration.

Among her accomplishments: she led the legal team to develop a public/private partnership to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike; she negotiated lease rights for natural gas and oil drilling on state lands; she crafted the process resulting a new Open Records law.; and she managed the conclusion of critical bridge financing for the Aker Shipyard in Philadelphia.

As Executive Vice President-Legal Affairs and General Counsel to the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the nation's fourth largest housing authority, from 2011-2016, Ms. Adams rebuilt the internal legal function for the Authority then in receivership by HUD and structured the settlement with HUD to enable the return of the Authority to local control. She also managed insurance/risk management for the Authority and served on its two pension boards, a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan.


Barbara currently serves on the boards of FS KKR Capital Corp (NYSE:FSK) and FS KKR Capital Corp. II, and previously served on the boards of FS Investment Corporation II, FS Investment Corporation III and FS Investment Corporation IV, funds investing primarily in senior debt of middle-market companies. Since 2011, Ms. Adams has also served on the board of the Philadelphia Energy Authority and since 2017, on the board of the Committee of Seventy.


Ms. Adams has demonstrated her genuine commitment to betterment of the community through her volunteer leadership in agencies such as the Peoples' Emergency Center, Reading Terminal Market Corporation, Philadelphia Gas Commission, Philadelphia Energy Authority, Homeless Advocacy Project of the Philadelphia Bar Association , the June 5 Memorial Park Committee and the Committee of Seventy.


Ms. Adams is a graduate of the Temple University School of Law, and earned her undergraduate degree from Smith College.

Listen to hear the importance of clean energy and the job opportunities that exist in the sector for young people today.

Key Moments

She tells the history of her career journey working in the affordable housing sector as a transactional attorney and an implementor of policy outside of Washington DC [4:22]

The crisis that exists now for lack of senior housing and its consequences especially on low income elderly [17:07]

She describes her success story as her accomplishment as a transactional lawyer in the affordable housing and the community development field [21:55]

She explains the difference between an estate and a condo and what it meant back in the 1980s [25:50]

She describes the challenges she faced in her role supervising 500 lawyers at the Commonwealth [27:30]

How she is managing her Energy campaign with some support from the Philadelphia city council [29:22]

The possibilities that exist in the energy sector for young people [32:53]

The need for low-cost housing options to meet the existing demand [35:17]


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Named to Top Legal Post

FSKKR Capital Corp Board of Directors


Monica Sussman

Chuck Edson

Marcia Blum

Joe Schuldiner



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