As a young accountant in Minneapolis, Jon Segner and his colleagues quickly got some straight talk on career development from the partner-in-charge at KPMG Peat Marwick. "He told us we have two choices: We can sit back and let other people make choices about where our careers are going to go, or we could actively participate in the process and steer our own careers. It was up to us."
Some recent college grads might have been intimidated by such a speech, but not Segner. "I found his frankness to be stark and refreshing," says the new president and COO of Dominium Management Services. "[I learned that] my career is my own. If I don't manage it, nobody else will."
He's done that quite well. Segner, previously the company's CFO, was promoted in January, taking charge of Dominium, a Minneapolis-based owner, developer, and manager that owns and/or oversees more than 15,000 units across the country. He set himself up for success with a bachelor's from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.
Q: What are the big opportunities for multifamily firms?
A: The search for new renters has honed our marketing and operating skills. As the rental markets improve, we should be able to further capitalize on our strengths. The cooling of the condominium craze in our markets should also boost our results.
Q: What do you enjoy about the multifamily industry?
A: The variety of issues that arise and the ability to make changes rapidly. As with other industry, property management has fundamentals that we must follow to succeed. With the variety of markets we serve, however, we are constantly tinkering with marketing and operating plans. In some ways it is like a microcosm of our economy: We make operating decisions based on the best available information, and we have to monitor the cause and effect, including unintended consequences.
Q: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you about the multifamily industry?
A: Real estate is a long-term play. You will make money if you stay in the game and mind the fundamentals.
Q: How would you describe the multifamily industry in terms of career opportunities?
A: I don't think it gets any better. Very early in a career as a site manager, an employee has a great deal of autonomy in operating a multimillion dollar business. That kind of experience takes decades to get in most other industries.
Marc Pollack is stepping down as president of Lane Investment & Development, Atlanta-based Lane Co.'s real estate investment and development subsidiary. He will remain a partner and become a consultant. In the 12 years that Pollack has served as president of Lane Investment & Development, the company has acquired and developed more than 80 investments, including approximately 20,000 multifamily units at a total cost of in excess of $1.5 billion.
BRE Properties has promoted Sandra Cath to vice president, asset management. Cath, who joined BRE in 2004, will oversee both rehabilitation and capital management for the San Francisco-based apartment REIT.
InStar Services Group of Fort Worth, Texas, has hired Scott Stamilio as national sales director for the disaster response and property restoration firm. Stamilio, who will be based in Tampa, will be responsible for relationships with national and regional multifamily clients.
Suzanne Billet has been promoted to executive vice president of Quinn & Co. Public Relations. She will oversee the firm's real estate practice for the New York-based company.
Sperry Van Ness has named Scott McNew, a broker in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as senior advisor. Previously, McNew served as a commercial broker for Prudential Burroughs & Chapin Realty.
Hunter Warfield has hired John Bechtold as marketing director. He will handle product development, marketing strategy, and communications for the Tampa-based multifamily debt collection firm, which is a successor to Pierce Hamilton & Stern.
MCL Cos. has promoted two employees: Michael Maier is now vice president of sales and marketing, and Iris Ade is now assistant vice president and managing broker. Chicago-based MCL Cos., which was founded in 1976, has developed residential and commercial properties in the Windy City as well as residential projects in New York, Florida, and Colorado.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based developer Leviev Boymel-green has promoted Bob de la Fuente to director of Florida development for the company's condo projects in South Florida. The company is active in South Florida, Las Vegas, and New York.
WRH Income Properties of St. Petersburg, Fla., has promoted John G. Withers to vice president. Previously, he was assistant vice president at the company. He will continue his role in the acquisition and asset management division of the company. WRH Income Properties, which also has offices in Jacksonville, Fla., and Houston, is the parent company of WRH Realty Services, WRH Mortgage, WRH Properties, and CALEX Realty Group.
Bozzuto Construction Co. has hired John Heagy as project manager at the Village at Shirlington project in Arlington, Va. Previously, he worked for Clark Construction.
SCI Real Estate Investors, a Los Angeles-based tenant-in-common sponsor company, has promoted Adam Bryan to senior vice president and corporate sales director. He will be responsible for raising equity for property investments and working with brokers, investors, and the company's regional directors.
Diane Metz Kreider has joined RE/MAX Heading Home as senior advisor, where she will communicate with consumers and real estate agents inside the RE/MAX network regarding the program, which allows renters to earn credits toward the closing costs of a new home based on their rental payments. Previously, Metz Kreider was senior vice president of regional development at RE/MAX International.
The Newport Beach, Calif., office of architecture and planning firm Meeks + Partners has separated from its Houston-based parent. California partners Kevin R. Newman, John C. Garrison and David J. Gilmour, with the support of Chairman Don Meeks, renamed the office Newman Garrison Gilmour + Partners in January. Newman is now CEO of the firm, Garrison is partner and president of design development, and Gilmour is partner and president of planning.
Jacqueline Hussey has been promoted to director of marketing for Oakwood Apartment Management, a division of Oakwood Worldwide. She will oversee the marketing of Oakwood's U.S. apartment portfolio. Hussey, who most recently served as regional marketing manager for the Midwest and East Coast, has been with Oakwood since 2002.
Southwest multifamily developer and manager Trillium Residential has promoted Michelle Sinclair to director of employee development and Jessica Tom to director of marketing and special projects. Sinclair, who previously managed Trillium at Rio Salado in Tempe, Ariz., will provide employee support at every level, including developing guidelines for new positions and fostering the career path of team members, as well as creating training manuals and standard operating procedures. Tom will now coordinate marketing for the Trillium portfolio as well as assist with projects involving communities and future development sites in the company.