Name: Berry Craven
Tell us about your career:
I started in the apartment industry October, 18 of 2000 as a service tech with my current company Ginkgo (at that time we were known as BNP Properties). I was more or less a glorified grounds keeper as most of my days early on were spent cleaning laundry rooms, pools and light fixtures around the property. I never looked down on any task that needed to be performed, but rather saw any and all tasks as equal. I worked my way through the ranks of assistant service manager in 2002 and as service manager in July of the following year.
I was 24 years old running a multimillion dollar asset that was the Villages of Chapel Hill. It was a 321 unit student property in Chapel Hill NC. When I was promoted I was immediately short staffed in the worst time of year for any site, much less a student site. I was working crazy amounts of OT to the tune of 1 2 week period logging 126 hours and loving every minute of this new career I had found. Through my hard work and my companies recognition of my dedication I was allowed my first opportunity as a regional service manager (RSM) when my company expanded into a western division.
In January of 2008 I moved my family to a small town outside of Fort Worth, Texas called Keller. I was over our 16 assets in and around the DFW area as well as one site in St. Louis. This is where I learned a much more in depth understanding of this industry from a bigger picture perspective. Our company got out of the western division in January of 2012 at which time I moved back to NC and ran a site we were managing in Raleigh called Arbor Creek Aptartments.
I went to two other sites with Ginkgo before I was offered another promotion to become the RSM over our RDU portfolio...and the rest is history. I have been very lucky to have found this industry and be allowed a career path with a company that I have grown up with. While many things we do are very hard at times, I wouldn't trade my almost 21 years in this industry for anything!
What advice do you have for someone just starting in your field:
Get involved in your local, state and national association...and go to as much industry training classes/courses like CAM/CAMT/Leadership of excellence as you can.
Anything else you would like to share?
As with anything else, the work you put in will increase what you get out of this industry. That goes for the positions, sites, companies and associations you work for.
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