What is your educational background and professional experience?
I graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in psychology and began my career in real estate as an Assistant Property Manager at an apartment community in Chapel Hill, NC. About 8 months later I was promoted to Property Manager of a community in Raleigh and then decided to pursue opportunities with national apartment management companies. In 2004, I signed on with Oakwood Worldwide and moved to Minneapolis to manage LaSalle Apartments. A few months into the position, Oakwood announced the sale of its entire portfolio to a REIT, Archstone-Smith. Archstone sold off its Midwest properties and in 2006, TE Miller Development, a local family-owned apartment management company acquired the property. TE Miller had recently purchased 3 other properties and was in need of someone with on-site experience to supervise its portfolio of 1,100 units, so I stepped into the role of Regional Property Manager.
Overseeing a variety of different communities was an incredible learning experience. In 2008, TE Miller began construction on York Place Apartments in Edina, and I was fortunate to be able to work with the owners to fine-tune development proformas and the details of the community from establishing a unit mix and rents to meeting with contractors to select amenities and unit finishes. My goal with the project was to make decisions that would be cost-effective, sustainable, and allow for the property to be efficiently managed and marketed well into the future, since the owners planned to manage the property long-term.
It’s amazing to be able to watch the whole development process from start to finish and make decisions at each step of the way, knowing those decisions will impact residents’ daily lives for the next 40+ years!
Around this time, I also became very interested in the sustainability of buildings and became a LEED Accredited Professional. I realized I needed a more solid base of commercial real estate and finance knowledge to continue doing what I loved – development, so I decided to pursue a master’s degree.