From Kevin Doyle's perspective, online opportunities are among the most important in the multifamily business these days. So it makes sense that in May, he was named senior vice president and general manager of, a Chicago-based firm that provides Internet-based apartment searches and relocation services. Doyle, who has a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame, says recent college grads would do well to consider a career in the industry, which offers "huge growth opportunities both financially and professionally."

Q: What appealed to you about this job?

A: First and foremost, appealed to me because our business provides a great service to our advertisers–and, equally exciting, it is cost-effective. Secondly, has tremendous employees who care a great deal about our customers and our industry.

Q: What do you see as a significant challenge for the multifamily industry in the coming year?

A: From an advertising perspective, it is critical that operators understand the ROI they receive from each advertising source. With more and more online choices and with the major shift in apartment searches taking place online, it is critical that [operators] identify the marketing vehicles that truly drive their value [that is, leases]. Those who execute in this area will capitalize on higher occupancy and a significantly improved ROI related to marketing spending.

Q: What are the big opportunities for multifamily firms?

A: Firms have huge opportunities to gain access to renters utilizing the Internet. The Internet is a major resource for individuals looking for an apartment. Make sure your firms have exposure in this area, and it will pay big dividends for your business.

Q: What was your first job in the multifamily industry?

A: My first job in the industry was as vice president of sales for I spent the majority of my time with managers and owners explaining how could drive residents and revenue to their businesses. I immediately saw and enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm that professionals in our industry have for multifamily.

Q: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you about your career?

A: Go out and find people who are self-motivated. Managers don't motivate people; rather, motivation comes from within. Find those people and build your team.

JER Investors Trust and J.E Robert Co. have announced several new hires and promotions on their management team. Mark S. Weiss will become president of JER Investors Trust and a managing director of J.E. Robert Co. Weiss, who will be based in the New York City office, joins the company after 16 years at Goldman Sachs Group. Kevin Walsh has joined JER as a director of CMBS investments, having worked for Wells Fargo since 1989. Bev Casanova has been hired as vice president in the special servicing group of CMBS after working as director of administrative agent servicing for the Bank of New York. Jo Rathbun has joined JER's team as a vice president of fund investment management, based out of JER headquarters in McLean, Va.; previously, she was asset management vice president for Jamestown, a German investment firm. And Devin Chen has been promoted from an associate to a vice president of JER's fund investment management group.

Ellen Cheng
Ellen Cheng

The Athena Group has two new executives on its team. Ellen Cheng has joined the company as senior vice president of development, drawing on her skills in site acquisition, project analysis, architectural design, development and construction management, contract and legal negotiations, presentations and marketing, RFP submittals, and governmental approval process. Lee S. Saltzman also has joined the company as its chief operating officer. In conjunction with Athena's president and CEO Louis M. Dubin, Saltzman will be responsible for the strategic direction and the operations of the company and will be in charge of the company's new business initiatives. He recently served as senior vice president and chief investment officer of American Financial Realty Trust, a REIT focusing on properties leased primarily to financial institutions.

University Partners has promoted three members of its investment team. Mark Riley and Taylor Stone have been promoted to managing director–investments, and Kristine Osburn is now vice president–investments. Previously, Riley was an executive vice president, Stone was a senior vice president, and Osburn was a senior development manager, all on the investment team. has hired Chris Weisbecker as New York regional sales manager for its newly opened office in Long Island, N.Y. He will be responsible for introducing the company's resident screening and online leasing technology to residential property managers and owners in the New York metro area.

Charles A. Brass has joined Atlantic Development Group as executive vice president. He will be responsible for day-to-day management of the company's development activities, including arranging financing for transactions with both public and private funding sources. Previously, Brass was senior vice president for finance at CPC Resources and held a number of positions with the New York City Housing Development Corp.

Equity Resources has hired two new personnel for its management team. Karen Wigley, formerly a regional vice president at Colonial Properties Trust, has been named director of operations. Linda Geiss, also coming from Colonial Properties Trust, where she was vice president of marketing, is Equity Resources' new senior vice president of research and marketing.

Highland Development Co., a subsidiary of Marcus & Millichap Co., has named two new executives. Gregory N. Hoxworth, now president and CEO of the company, was most recently the president of development and acquisitions for Combined Properties. Michael J. Singelyn, who has been appointed director of development, previously was director of leasing for Lewis Retail Centers.

Gary Goodman
Gary Goodman

Passco Cos. has promoted Gary Goodman to senior vice president, acquisitions. He joined the company in 2005 as vice president of acquisitions for multifamily properties. In his new role, he will assume day-to-day responsibilities for all of the company's acquisitions and related efforts.

Craig Kucera has joined the Bear Cos., an investment and banking firm, as director. Previously, he was a senior vice president and real estate equity analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co., where his primary focus was on residential real estate, including multifamily REITs and home builders.

Trammell Crow Residential has appointed Darren Schackman as senior managing director of the company's newly established North Texas division. Schackman, who previously was managing director of the company's Gulf Coast division, will oversee the development of urban infill, mixed-use, and multifamily residential projects in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Oklahoma, and Arkansas region.

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