Founded in 1977, KETTLER is a multifamily developer, real estate investor, land development, and property management company based in McLean, Virginia. Cindy Fisher joined KETTLER in 2016 as chief administrative officer and has been president since September 2019. Fisher shares what sets the company apart and the moves it recently has made to become even stronger.

How did you get your start in the multifamily industry?

I was introduced to this industry when I graduated college. I had an adviser that said the skills I acquired in my undergraduate work would translate very well to the business world so I should keep my options open as I looked for positions. I landed my first job in property management via my first job search. Little did I know that this one step would put me on a path for a lifelong and rewarding career in the multifamily industry, and, to my adviser’s credit, he was right.

What makes KETTLER different from other multifamily companies?

We are a fully integrated company with amazing talent across all disciplines; however, as I look back on our history, one factor always shines through, and that is our ability to be nimble and pivot our platform to meet the needs of the industry. This includes how we look at land, design, development, and operations, which is clearly seen in the diversity of what we have developed—multifamily, condo, land development for residential, commercial development, etc., and our ability to expand into new markets.

What changes has KETTLER made to become a stronger company?

The last two years we have been focused on changes that address the challenges in multifamily and service delivery to our clients. This included strategically looking at our targeted operating model to assess service delivery, identifying gaps, and defining our key initiatives for the next few years to mitigate gaps. Some key initiatives in progress include changes like centralization of some operations, increasing leadership to support our site teams, and making changes to reduce friction through technology for our residents. We will continue to mature the property management platform with next-generation technology to meet our clients’ needs and keep pace with our ever-evolving industry.

What’s in KETTLER’s development pipeline for 2024?

We have a very healthy pipeline of over 12,000 units in various stages of development, predevelopment, and entitlement. We are very excited about our continued growth, and this includes continued expansion in our targeted growth markets, North Carolina and Florida. We are exploring new markets as part of our expansion strategy. We are also continuing to expand our third-party management in our target markets and have a strong pipeline of new business opportunities.

What’s a fresh amenity or experience being offered at a KETTLER property?

I am not sure I call it a fresh amenity, but I do think the focus is on the resident experience and how we deliver service to our residents. For example, we focus on resident renewals as a key performance indicator; through data and new technology we can get real-time insights from our residents that not only give us indicators on satisfaction but an opportunity to recover a resident if they are dissatisfied. In this way, we can be high touch and high tech in our overall service delivery model, aligning both approaches with resident expectations. We are using this data to model and deliver enhanced resident experiences that connect with what our residents value most.

During the week, you live at a KETTLER property. What has been most surprising about this experience?

I like to think of myself as an undercover resident, meaning I live at the community like any other resident and have the full experience from the application process through the move-out process. I have been a homeowner for many years, so I was sitting in a position where we were designing for what we think the resident wants to have as the living experience and having the perspective as a resident. I use the amenities and attend functions, so I often get real-time observations from our residents. To be honest, it is always about the basics that center around service, the quality, and the professionalism of the team at the top of the list. This is our home, and, even though I have more than 300 neighbors, we all want our units to feel like our home, not that we are guests.

What is your outlook for the multifamily industry for the remainder of the year?

As it relates to our pipeline and expansion strategies, I think my vice president of research and data strategy, Alyson Bode, says it best: "Multifamily will continue to be a desirable asset class over the next several years as demand strengthens due to chronic undersupply in the for-sale side of residential and strong demographic fundamentals. However, multifamily supply remains a heavy focus for us in 2024. Some markets, like the Washington metro area, have maintained a healthier supply/demand balance and are positioned for growth this year. Many Southeast markets are overwhelmed by deliveries at the moment, and we will see continued price pressure in those locations."