DAVID LYND DOESN'T THINK multidisciplinary, stand-out industry performers are necessarily new to multifamily—and definitely not new to The Lynd Co.
“As my brother and I were growing up in the business, my father was working us on site since we were 14 years old,” says the COO of the San Antonio, Texas-based apartment operator. “We picked up trash; we mowed the lawns; we hung sheet rock; we made units ready—you name it, we did it. What we gained was priceless: a 360-degree view of the multifamily business.”
Lynd is seeking to distill the same institutional IQ into future company executives with the formal establishment of the Lynd Special Ops training program: intense, elevated training for high-aptitude personnel who are drilled in every facet of the apartment business and trained hands-on from groundskeepers up to asset managers.
“As part of the curriculum, we find a property that needs extreme lease-up, and we pair them off into teams at different sites and have a competition to see who can get the property stabilized the fastest within a designated time frame,” Lynd says.
That exercise has been paying off. “We recently deployed a team to a struggling property in Atlanta and to a property acquisition in Jacksonville, Fla.,” Lynd says. “In Atlanta, we got 78 leases in one month on one property, and in Jacksonville, we moved a property from 53 percent occupancy to 70 percent leased in just two months.”
The Lynd Co. isn't alone in its use of crack leasing and maintenance outfits for short-term tactical deployment. The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Laramar Group has been finding similar success in the use of the company's star team, which was recently called into duty to help stabilize the Lembi portfolio of San Francisco apartments that Laramar is managing through special servicing.
“The star team consists of property managers, maintenance supervisors, maintenance technicians, and leasing managers,” says Laramar CEO Dave Woodward. “We have full-time floaters that take on assignments between two weeks and two months, and we also have star team members who have regular full-time jobs at a property that can be called up on short notice for assignments.”
Woodward says establishment of the star team has been an invaluable recruiting and internal motivation tool. Since members can only be attached to prestige assignments if their current property is performing at peak levels, members are incentivized to maintain high occupancy and rent rolls relative to the Laramar portfolio.