• Larry Connor, managing member The Connor Group, poses for a portrait in his Centerville, Ohio office. Photo by Andrew Spear/Aurora Select

    Credit: Andrew Spear/Aurora

    Connor Group’s founder and managing partner Larry Connor says late 2009 into 2010 will kickoff the multifamily years of opportunity, and his namesake firm is investing in people and properties to take advantage of the bright future.

Larry Connor isn’t afraid to put everything on the line. After founding The Connor Group in 1991 and growing the apartment firm from zero to 15,000 units and $1.1 billion in assets, Connor has taken brief time-outs to go international white water rafting and wakeboarding, climb Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro, fly aerobatic stunt planes, and clock in as a two-time national sports car racing champion.

It’s fitting that his racing career focused on the grueling 24-hour LeMans and Daytona 24 Hour Race. When it comes to growth at The Connor Group, endurance is the word. A five-year strategic plan has the Dayton, Ohio-based firm shooting for 21,000 units and $2 billion worth of assets under management by 2012.

Yet, there seems to be little need for speed. “I don’t know that we are going to get to 21,000, and that’s OK,” Connor says. “It is about the discipline of our approach and qualitative growth.”

In an arena bereft of deals and witness to layoffs and cost cutting, The Connor Group has stayed atypical, with four acquisitions in the second quarter of ’09 and an expected six deals worth approximately $175 million by year’s end. Meanwhile, the company increased its sales, service, and management training budget by $400,000 over 2008, perhaps not a bad investment since 2009 revenue per employee is on track to hit $441,000, according to Connor.

“We will have a record-setting year in 2009 in terms of earnings from operations,” Connor says. “It wasn’t without its challenges. We believe in no limitations and constant improvement that leads to achieving the impossible.” Spoken like a true extreme sports fanatic.