Ashley Monroe started leasing properties as a weekend job during her first year of college where she was studying criminal justice and preparing for a future with the FBI. Luckily, she was also interested in business management, so when the weekend job turned into a full-time one, she switched her course of study and obtained a master's degree in business administration. “I got my bachelor's and master's degrees while working full-time, and literally since that day in 1998, I have been in the industry every single day. I've never worked in anything different,” she says.

Now, the multifamily veteran is using her keen senses and sharp eye for detail as Atlanta-based Lane Management's latest recruit and newest regional vice president. Monroe has already made her presence known. Since her start date in early June, she has visited 35 of the 45 properties in her portfolio. “I've been doing all sorts of site visits and have really taken a look at the assets we're managing; it's been going extremely well,” she says of her first couple of months on the job.

In her new role, Monroe supervises the management of multifamily rental communities in the Southeast, including Alabama and Georgia. Before coming to Lane, she was regional director for Sterling, Va.-based Centrum Management, overseeing the firm's Maryland portfolio. Along with experience in all facets of residential property management, she has held a number of management positions with Greenville, Del.-based Mid-Atlantic Realty Co.

Q: What appealed to you about this position?

A: I was very interested in moving to a southern state. In addition, Lane is large, owning or managing about 27,000 units, which is three times the size of the company I came from. So I was excited for the larger challenge. Plus, Lane has exciting things in the pipeline and continues to bring on new business. It's a company that is not done growing.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?

A: For the region that I oversee, which is primarily Atlanta and one Alabama market, I want to increase occupancy and decrease delinquency as well as increase the business for the area—get the name out there even more than it already is in the market.

Q: Do you have a specific strategy for dealing with the tough economic times?

A: Our mission is a back-to-basics approach to property management, where we're really honing in on the assets in our portfolio and making sure we're managing them as effectively as we can. In addition to growing new business, we're offering a great deal of technology to clients, and so our strategy is continuing to offer decent technology at affordable rates and really just being at the top of the industry.

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

A: Work hard everyday; make sure you don't take things personally; and, in this kind of industry, you have to get your hands dirty, no matter what position you're in.