When Atlanta-based Cocke Finkelstein acquired Lane Management back in April, the high-volume transaction quickly became overwhelming. The firm originally had about 7,500 units under management, and more than doubled that count when it took on about 20,000 more units through the merger. It has since assumed management of an additional 10,000 units, growing it's management radar to close to 40,000 units.
That’s a lot of growth in such a short amount of time. The new company, CFLane, immediately began filling positions, but it was evident the company needed more bandwidth and resources to handle the transition, both in terms of properties and new employees.
Naturally, the team brought on Melanie Gersper as executive vice president of property management. Her background with Lane five years ago certainly helped, as she spent several years as regional vice president with the company. Beyond that, her 17 years of experience in the property management field working with strong operators shaped her expertise in the business.
“But interestingly, I’ve never been with a company at this point in its evolution,” Gersper says. “They’re six months into a merger. That part is really exciting to me.”
Gersper’s first point of business is tactically merging each platform and getting everything on cruise control. She’s started to identify needs and resources, so the company will begin seeing a difference in its efficiency once everything is aligned and staff is placed in the right spots.
“CF certainly acquired Lane for the robust platform and the people," Gersper says.
CF had plenty of talent from an investment standpoint, and coupled with Lane’s operational expertise, the deal had all the makings of a winning combination. But Gersper is clear to point out that there will be a huge learning curve thanks to the transaction, something the industry needs to pay attention to as a whole when embarking on such deals.
“We cannot continue to underestimate the impact that this high transaction volume has on our operations,” she says.
A lot of site-level employees, even some regional, have been in the business for years but have never experienced such a shift. Maximizing their performance will only come when they understand and become acclimated with the changes
And that takes leadership.
“Change is never what brings an organization to its knees,” Gersper says. “It’s the inability to manage the change.”