AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
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In our early days, Jared, and I both were under the impression that an apartment industry job meant free rent. And thankfully, we were both able to capitalize on that. Some things you may not know about Jared include his ferocious tenacity with a fax machine, his advocacy to be an “agent for change” and how he looks at communities with a different lens than most – cohesive from every angle. His journey as the Director of Marketing and now, years later, as the COO at RedPeak is impressive, but not at all surprising!
I love dissecting words and looking for greater meaning like the word Apartment. What sets you “Apart” and why are you “Meant” for the multifamily industry?
One of the blessings I’ve had is the opportunity to work my way up starting as part-time leasing professional. I’ve worked onsite, been the person responsible to fix troubled assets, a marketing professional, an asset manager, an owner, a developer, and everything in between. That experience at every level has framed my approach, understanding and allowed me a perspective that is more holistic.
This business reflects who I am to my core. The opportunity to provide homes to people – the place where they will create lifelong memories – is an honor. The opportunity to help people find their careers and thrive is a huge motivator for me. It is the opportunity to give to others in the same way people invested their time, talents, and energy in me.
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
While in college, I decided to get my real estate license. I quickly realized the barriers to success for a 20-year old in single-family home sales were more significant than I had anticipated. I liked the idea of real estate, so I did some research and decided to look at the apartment industry. To be honest, I was under the impression that an apartment industry job meant free rent. That turned out to be a myth. Not to date myself, but I picked up an Apartment Guide Magazine and faxed my resume to nearly every apartment community in the book.
After weeks of faxing and no bites, I was on the verge of giving up when I received a call from Sandi, a manager in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. I interviewed and then patiently waited for feedback. Sandi called a few days later to let me know the person she really wanted to hire didn’t work out, so she decided to give me a chance. Yes, that was the real conversation. I started off as a part-time leasing professional at Runaway Bay Apartments in Columbus with NHP. Eventually, I proved myself and moved into a full-time role. At one point, I was shopped by the president of locally based Edwards Communities – Kathy Lane. Kathy came back after her secret shop to reveal who she was and to ask what I planned for my future. I don’t believe she was trying to hire me, but it was clear she was investing her time to show me what this industry could provide. For the 21-year-old me, that was a wake-up call. The realization of the career this industry could afford became evident.
As NHP was acquired by AIMCO, I decided to move to Atlanta and focus on marketing. Roles within AIMCO weren’t available, so I started interviewing. After a few months, I found a role at Lane Company as an operations troubleshooter. Eventually, I moved into marketing and business development – becoming the company’s first Director of Marketing and overseeing marketing for 35,000 apartments in over a dozen states. I took every opportunity to learn operations, acquisitions, development, and redevelopment. I’ve held seemingly every position since then from marketing to operations to asset management to partner/co-founder. It was the people that invested their time and energy in me that helped me grow, thrive, and build a home in this industry. My goal is to do the same for others.
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
Choosing one is impossible. I have several playlists on my phone in the event I need a pick me up. My taste in music is super eclectic and my playlists are reflective. It really depends on the situation, but I have various playlists for various situations.
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
This industry provides more opportunity than one can imagine – especially from the outside looking in.
Relationships are key. Build them carefully and never burn a bridge. The apartment industry isn’t 7-degrees of separation – it’s more like two.
Once you join this industry focus on soaking up knowledge, taking on opportunities outside of your job description, and being the person that is supportive of those around you.
If I could add a 4th, I would say not only embrace change but be an agent for change. Multifamily has been slow to evolve, but the pandemic illustrated how quickly we could change. We’ve entered a period of immense change in our industry and being an advocate will only help your career.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
Choosing one is challenging, but I would say the day I returned to RedPeak after being away from the company for 11 years. I worked at RedPeak as the company’s first Director of Marketing from 2005 until 2007. I spent 11 years trying to replicate the culture at RedPeak. While there are great people in every company, there is only one team like this. I am thankful to be back home.
Who is your mentor and why?
There have been so many people in my career that I’ve looked at as mentors. Some mentors are there for a brief moment in time, while others become career-long/lifelong mentors. There have been too many to list, but they know who they are. Some gave me a chance early in my career and knew that throwing me into the deep end was how to motivate me, others have been there just at the right time when I needed support, others were people I watched and admired because they walked their own talk and they would openly share so others could learn. The apartment industry is full of truly amazing people.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
There have been many, but the immediate standout – and it is an older book at this point – Mavericks at Work. My friend Melissa Robbins introduced me to this book 10+ years ago, and it really helped push me to do things differently and not accept the status quo.
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
I was fortunate several years ago to form a partnership with a co-worker/friend and his childhood friend. The three of us set out to acquire and develop student housing and multifamily communities. We acquired several communities and built three from the ground up. Easily my favorite was ARCHIVE Oxford in Oxford, MS near Ole Miss. I had long dreamt about developing a community that was cohesive from every angle – architecture, interior design, brand, service, and operational execution. ARCHIVE Oxford was exactly that. In a market with the most challenging market metrics I’ve experienced, we leased the community and reached occupancy of 93%+ while the market was in the low to mid-’70s.
If I personally developed another community, I don’t know where it would be, but I would focus on the alignment described above and challenge the architect and interior designer to craft a plan that doesn’t’ feel like every other community. We can do better than designing a white box and offering the same amenities as everyone else on the block.
What is your most memorable vacation?
Travel is a passion for me and for my family. Experiencing different countries, cultures and cuisines really opens one’s mind. My most memorable vacation was a trip to the Baltics with my son, my partner, and my mother-in-law. I had been before, but seeing the sights through my son’s eyes was amazing. It was an opportunity to disconnect and experience the world. We try to take my son on one eye-opening trip per year. Sadly, with the pandemic, that wasn’t an option in 2020 or 2021. Here’s to 2022!
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
I would spend more time with family, friends and likely benefiting others.
Chief Operating Officer