Changemaker Series Nov14

Changemaker Series

For the fifth entry in the Changemakers, the Yardi-sponsored Senior Housing News series that shines a light on senior living’s biggest movers and shakers, we’re taking a look at a leader who founded her own senior living company over three decades ago. And since then, she hasn’t stopped pushing for greater innovation and better quality of care. Lynne Katzmann started Juniper Communities in 1988 to help under-managed skilled nursing facilities, raising capital, monitoring investments and improving daily operations. In the mid-90s, the company pivoted to focus on assisted living, then a new idea in the senior housing industry. They also began to take a more direct hand in running their communities, eventually developing and building a number of their own to meet their high standards. Juniper Communities has now grown to 21 communities in four states, which represent all levels of care from independent to memory to skilled rehab. One of Katzmann’s more recent changemaking initiatives has been Connect4Life, a program that integrates care delivered by Juniper staff and by ancillary clinical providers located in the community. The program gathers essential services under one roof so residents can have faster, more convenient access to care. A key building block of Connect4Life was Juniper’s early adoption of electronic health records (EHR). “By the end of 2012, we had an integrated electronic operating model,” said Katzmann. “And that was pretty revolutionary. We’d always collected data, and we began to be able to use data to drive decisions.” From there, Katzmann was able to establish a model where each resident had their own circle of care providers, all using the EHR system to track details and communicate more effectively with each other. This helped reduce transfers to outside facilities and keep people happier. Now, Katzmann is looking...

Driving Adoption Nov12

Driving Adoption

For senior living providers, collecting payments online reduces staff workload and increases cash flow. For senior living residents and their family members, it saves time and eliminates hassle. A win-win all around. So why is it then that so few residents pay online? At Validus Senior Living, the finance team understood the value of online payments, and they knew residents and their loved ones would appreciate the convenience once they got on board. They just needed a push in the right direction first. Validus Senior Living offers residences across the spectrum of care: independent living, assisted living and memory care. They have 15 current communities throughout the Southeast, and they plan on developing two to three new properties per year. Getting their residents to pay online would streamline finances as the organization continued to grow. Validus finance staff had already offered ACH as a payment option, but adoption was low. To top it off, staff had to enter a resident or family member’s bank details manually to get them in the system, which took extra time and risked errors. So Validus turned to RENTCafé Senior Living for self-service online payments and launched a variety of initiatives to make it the popular choice for bill pay. The results were clear: They achieved an average 60% adoption rate for online payments across their communities! How’d they pull it off? Here’s what Lindsey Hacker, chief financial officer at Validus, revealed: Offer a discount to current residents Old habits are hard to change, but a simple incentive can work wonders as motivation. Validus ran a promotion for existing residents, asking them to sign up for online payments. In turn, they would get a discount on their bill. Though incentives like these may seem unaffordable for senior living providers,...

Data Driven Growth Nov08

Data Driven Growth

When you work in an industry where margins are tight, having the data to see exactly how your business is performing – and what steps you need to take – is vital. This is especially true for senior living, which currently faces one of its lowest occupancy rates in years. Greg Puklicz of 12 Oaks Senior Living knows just how essential data can be. As the company’s CFO, he’s always measuring performance across his communities and finding ways to make that data practical for his team. “I want the accounting and our reporting to be nimble and useful. If you give someone a report that is 8-10 pages long, they may not glean what’s relevant from that, which is why I identify the key metrics,” Greg said in a recent interview with Senior Housing News. “We can turn our attention to those things and chip away at the issues as soon as they arise.” Based in Dallas, 12 Oaks Senior Living provides third-party management and operation services for 16 senior living communities throughout Oklahoma and Texas. A Yardi client, the family-run organization has found a lot of success in lease-up and turnaround properties, and they’re currently looking to expand their portfolio to 25 communities over the next two years. As part of their journey to scale, 12 Oaks relies on Yardi Voyager Senior Housing for property management and accounting. The platform provides real-time performance analytics, pulling data from across the Yardi Senior Living Suite to shed light on areas across their business. Check out this excerpt from Greg’s interview with Senior Housing News to learn more about how 12 Oaks uses data to ensure they’re operating as effectively as possible: Would you say it’s true that senior living has gotten more operationally and financially...

AI, IOT and Real Estate Nov05

AI, IOT and Real Estate...

Editor’s note: Said Haider, regional director of Middle East sales for Yardi, recently spoke to Property Weekly about real estate technology’s transformation and regional implications. Technology is constantly evolving and making our lives easier. Said Haider believes that new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also changing the real estate landscape. Business models are changing, mainly because of digitization and advancing capabilities of applications, Haider said. Yardi is investing heavily in real estate technology, also known as proptech, developing innovative solutions to have a major influence on the industry. Yardi designs, develops and supports software solutions for real estate owners and managers. Its products are available for nearly every real estate vertical, including commercial, residential, investment management, homeowners’ associations, student housing, construction and more. Another area where technology is making a big impact is sustainability. Yardi has developed a platform called Yardi Pulse, a suite of energy solutions that handle utility billing and submetering, energy management and energy usage automation. Pulse helps Yardi clients achieve environmental goals and reduce energy costs. Haider explains Yardi’s support for the real estate sector in an interview with Property Weekly. How do Yardi’s solutions support the property sector? Haider: Yardi was founded in 1984 as a software start-up focused on property management and has grown to become one of the largest companies in the sector. Yardi’s innovative solutions benefit everyone in the chain, from corporations and developers to investors and clients. It offers a single connected solution that meets a broad range of business needs. We help real estate companies streamline their business processes and improve quality of service, which translates to improved performance. For example, the Yardi Voyager is an end-to-end platform combining financial and property management information in a single,...

Community Matters

Yardi Vancouver cherishes its sense of community. Employees participate in philanthropic outreach that benefits members of the local neighborhood, from the smallest pets to neighbours in their hours of need. Each year, Yardi Vancouver selects recipients for grants and group volunteer opportunities. Employees nominate non-profits that are effective, passionate, and engaging. This year, the four grant recipients include: British Columbia and Alberta Guide Dogs Want to know why Yardi Vancouver supported BC & Alberta Guide Dogs? Meeting Spoof may give you an idea. The playful and determined black lab puppy is working towards becoming a guide dog, autism support dog, or PTSD service dog. He demonstrates the discipline and compassion needed to fulfil his role in Guide Dog’s mission: to change the lives of the blind or visually impaired, individuals with autism, and military and RCMP Veterans. In addition to navigation support, Guide Dogs offer emotional support. With their assistance, people feel more comfortable and confident venturing out into their communities, making new friends, and living their lives to the fullest. “Important lesson: People with service dogs are just trying to get about their day. If you really want to greet the dog, greet the person first. Otherwise, you might just wind up getting patted on the head when the person wonders what their dog is up to,” smiles Edward Glen, General Manager, Yardi Vancouver. Aprons for Gloves Few would see the immediate connection between teenagers, boxing, food services and health care. But for Aprons for Gloves, it all works together. Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association is a non-profit organization focused on providing community outreach through the sport of boxing. Many participants are at-risk women, teens, and youth. They receive free mentorship, training, meals, social and health service. Yardi Vancouver visited a local gym...

Serving Seniors

No one said growing old was easy. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s a wealth of aging agencies and community-based organizations ready to help. In Santa Barbara, many of these local services come together every year for the Senior Expo, which provides a central location for seniors and their caregivers to find educational information, fitness activities, health care and more. This year’s fair took place in early October, and nearly 1,000 attendees and 125 vendors packed the showgrounds. The Senior Expo, now in its third decade, is hosted by the long-running Family Service Agency (FSA). Established over 100 years ago, FSA has continuously been one of Santa Barbara County’s most effective nonprofit organizations for families and individuals of all ages and diversities. They routinely provide food, shelter and other basic needs, as well as mentoring, case management and mental health programs, to create and preserve a healthy community. Yardi returned to the Senior Expo of Santa Barbara once again this year to give back. Nearly 20 employees from the Santa Barbara and Oxnard offices volunteered their time for the full event. “The seniors in our community love this event,” said Lyn Shirvanian, coordinator for the Senior Expo as well as FSA’s mental health awareness training. “And it is due not only to all the services provided that day, but all the young people that they interact with as they enjoy the festivities.” Serving the Santa Barbara senior community For such a big event, the Yardi volunteers split into teams to tackle setup, breakdown and everything in between. Groups arrived early for a quick on-site training before taking their posts. Some directed parking as guests arrived. Others unloaded cars and trucks for vendors, carting goods to their booths in the expo hall....

Coworking Tech Success...

With shared space workplaces becoming ever more common, it’s important to have the right technology to ensure client success and happiness. Us&Co offers private offices and coworking space in London and Dublin and has a devised a successful model that serves professionals of all kinds. We spoke with Sylvi Wilamowska, head of operations at Us&Co, to find out how on-site tech fits into that experience. An experienced Industry professional, Wilamowska enjoys helping businesses grow and succeed by providing professional workspace they can be proud of, and by taking away the hassle of day to day building management of their own space. Tell us about Us&Co  and the company values, mission & objectives? Wilamowska: Us&Co seeks to provide beautifully designed, high-end, professional workspaces, with a variety of uses. We offer our clients space where they can grow and thrive, which is complimented by first class service, delivered by our onsite team and partners. We are strong on design and appeal to a wide variety of businesses. We major on quality furniture, good natural light and space. Whether our clients are from the financial or tech sectors, they expect excellent IT both in the offices and throughout our extensive break out areas. Client satisfaction and therefore retention is our main objective which we achieve through attentive service from our staff and the best systems available. How does Us&Co fit into that? Wilamowska: The market is expanding fast but so is demand. Some markets are becoming overly competitive and some operators are doing unsustainable deals which are creating challenging trading conditions. At Us&Co, we both own and operate our buildings which gives us stability. We want to expand in a measured and controlled way with a long-term horizon. Prior to the relationship with Medusa, what were the...

A Lifestyle Experience Oct28

A Lifestyle Experience

Meet Chris Armstrong, director of brand, product and technology at Get Living, an innovative build-to-rent operater in the UK that prides itself on delivering unforgettable resident experiences. We recently had the chance to sit down with Armstrong and learn more about how the company is challenging and changing the renting experience. “We are all about innovating the resident experience at Get Living. We were the first to scrap deposits back in 2017 and we’ve never charged fees. It’s something that our residents value – it not only builds trust but affirms our role as an innovator within the sector,” said Armstrong. “Our focus is purely on the customer experience; from first enquiry to move in, right through the tenancy and when resident’s leave us.  We continue to challenge ourselves to meet our residents growing expectations of us to deliver a simpler, better and more rewarding renting experience,” he explained. Read on to learn more about Armstrong’s perspective on resident experiences and how they will transform the marketplace.   Q: So it’s all about the experience – How does Get Living deliver it? Armstrong: Residents are attracted to our quality homes and our quality service. Since launching in 2013 we’ve continued to challenge the norms of renting and evolve our offer finding more ways to take the hassle out of renting. Yardi RENTCafé has helped us achieve that with both new customers and existing residents. The property websites and the online functionality from Yardi enables us to deliver a great online presence. We can display available units as well as showcase each neighbourhood’s amenities all within the Get Living brand platform. Prospects can complete the entire application process online, enabling us to onboard residents quickly and easily. Our leasing cycle has greatly reduced since introducing Yardi – where renewals would have taken 3-5 days, our relationship managers can turn these around in under an hour. For our marketing team, the increase of web traffic is a major goal, as is nudge marketing and social engagement. It means we are fully maximising marketing ROI, and seamlessly bringing the resident a great experience.   Q: It looks like Yardi technology impacts not just your business operations, but the residents life too – how important is technology to their journey with you? Armstrong: Email is dying, our residents rarely use it – in fact we rarely use it on the operational side now either – we are moving to an app-based business. With Yardi’s new white label resident app MyCafé by RENTCafé, we are able to completely brand the renter experience in the Get Living style. We encourage our residents to use the resident app, and we provide a user guide and training for each new resident to further communicate its value and benefits. The app is a far more effective way of communicating with our resident demographic. It also delivers far greater efficiency and mobility for our team, allowing them to be fully focussed on residents’ needs. The app delivers full resident on-boarding which includes inspections. Payments can also be executed via PayPal – all on the app. Residents love that.   Q: What other benefits does the app give your residents? Armstrong: We can further enhance the resident experience by utilising the maintenance functionality within the app to report and raise maintenance requests. This has not only meant faster response times and a focus on visibility of progress; we have seen the maintenance technicians become advocates for using the app; we’ve removed the use of paper from the entire process; and residents get complete visibility of the progress of a request. We can build a far greater sense of community with the promotion and RSVP for exclusive resident events and that drives the lifestyle experience our communities. At that point the technology and the resident experience really comes together. Technology is key to making these successful. Q: How does the use...

Senior Wellness Oct22

Senior Wellness

Socialization is a significant part of senior wellness. By getting the members of the neighborhood involved in activities at your community, you’re offering healthful, value-add services for your seniors that truly make a difference! Below are a few suggestions on how you can improve social opportunities with community support. Animal shelter collaborations are a fun way to expose seniors to the joys of pets without the daily responsibilities of pet ownership. Seniors are able to play with and cuddle their new furry friends, reaping the health benefits of pet interactions. Girl and Boy Scouts projects offer seniors the opportunity to teach and learn from local youth. Contact your local chapters regarding projects such as building raised garden beds, installing rainwater recycling systems, or beautification projects. When seniors have experience in these areas, they are able to feel helpful and knowledgeable. When the experiences are new, senior learners stimulate their brains and feel the invigoration of developing new skills. Student-led tech classes equip seniors with the basic skills needed to stay in touch with the world beyond their senior community. Navigating Zoom and Facetime, for example, allow seniors to stay in touch with loved ones. Computer skills classes make it easier for seniors to take charge of their care curriculum. For today’s students, these skills are second hand and a fun way to get the community service hours they may need for school. Trips to a local ranch for equine therapy come with several advantages: a scenic trip to rural area, the benefits of equine therapy, and the pleasure of artwork and animal interaction. Don’t worry—equine therapy does not mean your seniors must mount the horses! Ask camp leaders if it’s appropriate for seniors to interact with current class members. Serving as a dance recital...

Paint the Town Pink

The AVE motto is live better, and the team there is truly committed to delivering the best living experience possible for their residents. Apartment floor plans are designed for comfort, amenities and services are programmed for convenience and wellness, and events and initiatives are offered for community engagement. Their latest campaign “AVE Goes Pink” partners up with Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® to support its mission to reduce the number of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses in the Philadelphia Area while continuing to provide education, resources, and access to services to those who are battling the disease. AVE Goes Pink “AVE Goes Pink” (link to www.aveliving.com/pink) launched October 1st to support Susan G. Komen Philadelphia®, a respected voice in breast cancer education. “We turned all our logos on our social media channels pink to raise awareness for the cause and to let those who are currently fighting breast cancer know our thoughts are with them,” says Lea Anne Welsh, COO of Korman Communities and president of its AVE brand. “Our teams at the properties will also be wearing pink throughout the month.” “Typically, we wear black or dark grey. When a resident sees me in pink, they ask and it starts up a conversation about breast cancer awareness,” says Lauren Brauer, Leasing Manager, AVE King of Prussia. She continues, “Breast cancer awareness really hits home for me. Having had family members and friends go through the struggles of breast cancer, I want to do all I can to support them, as well as all others who have gone through it and are currently battling it.” Lights for the Fight Much of the Philadelphia skyline is getting involved. Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® and CBS 3 manage “Lights for the Fight.” The duo coordinates with city landmarks to...

Industrial Investment Oct10

Industrial Investment...

While the industrial sector has rapidly grown in lockstep with the evolution of e-commerce, a number of signs are beginning to point to a slowdown. Warehouses and distribution centers continue to be strong performers, but following a massive nationwide industrial construction boom, supply is finally starting to catch up with demand. Given the abundance of modern, industrial supply, value-add investors must have a more thoughtful approach. Sealy & Co., active throughout the South and the Midwest, takes a straightforward approach to its value-add acquisitions, focusing not only on a building’s potential improvements but also emphasizing location as a key driver of asset value. Chairman Scott Sealy Sr. discussed his investment strategy and the state of the market with Commercial Property Executive. How would you describe the state of the national industrial market, given soaring demand and unprecedented levels of industrial development? Sealy: There are several sectors within the industrial market alone, and most are demand driven. Some, however, are moving to a balance of supply and demand. Larger distribution is still enjoying good absorption and rent growth. Infill properties in the markets we are in have limited vacancy and significant rent growth. We expect the trend to continue for several more years. In which industrial market do you see the greatest opportunity for expansion, and what sets this market apart from the crowd? Sealy: Multiple markets attract us for a variety of reasons. For example, we like Houston for its historical rent growth and fundamentals, the economy is very solid. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find potential development sites here because of the high demand and recognition of this potential. If you’re strategic, thorough and able to capitalize, the economic structure is rewarding. Read the rest of this post on Commercial Property...

Employee Profile Oct04

Employee Profile

Meet Penny Bailey. Recognized by her colleagues globally as a valued contributor, Bailey is a product manager who helps facilitate crucial communications between clients and Yardi’s development, sales and support teams. She shared insight about her work and the fast-paced hobby that keeps her busy outside of the office. How long have you been with Yardi and what does your day to day job entail? Bailey: I have been with Yardi 7 years in this month. As a product manager I am the central point of contact between clients, client services, professional services, sales and the development group.  I gather requirements from many different areas and work with development to build out products, then work with sales, CSD and PSG to promote and support the new features. What product projects are you currently working on and what makes them especially interesting? Bailey: I have maintained and enhanced the Job Cost product since I joined Yardi in 2012 with the introduction of Yardi Voyager 7S.  Most recently we have developed the new Elevate Construction Manager which compliments Yardi Job Cost. It has been overwhelming received by our clients and prospects and is fun to demo. How does your work impact Yardi clients and how does their user experience affect your approach? Bailey: The new Elevate Construction Manager is directed to a whole new user base in providing a very clean and interesting way to present construction job information. We have always been good at job costing financials but this product provides a new way to assess job performance irrespective of the financial data which is very exciting. I have been very involved in all the early implementations, listening to comments, suggestions and watching users to refine our user experience and feature functions. What is something...

Janet Riddlebarger Sep16

Janet Riddlebarger

In 1966 Harry H. Hunt III, the founder of HHHunt, saw the need for faculty and student housing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Now, after more than five decades, HHHunt is a leader in diversified real estate development throughout the Southeast. As president of HHHunt Asset Management Group, a position she assumed in 2017, Janet Riddlebarger is responsible for the operations of the organization’s apartment and senior living communities as well as the development division, which is comprised of the land acquisitions, development and construction groups. How has HHHunt changed since it was founded in the 1960s and what aspects of the culture and mission continue to endure?   Riddlebarger: The organization has changed in many ways. We have added senior living, home building and communities development to our very stable apartment living platform. We have focused on providing a great place to work, and our employment now sits at close to 2,000 teammates. We also have expanded our market footprint. We began in Blacksburg, Va., and grew regionally in Virginia, especially in Richmond, and now have communities in Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina as well. Our culture and our mission are still part of what makes our company special. Although we officially created our vision, mission and our brand promises in 2013, we were living the values and exhibiting the behaviors associated with that brand long before they existed in writing. We have become more employee-centered with the help of our HR team and business partners, creating programs such as HHHunt University as a way for our team to grow and develop. We also offer competitive compensation and our benefits simply rock. What’s the best part of your job?  Riddlebarger: There are two best parts of my job. First, I get to...

Access, Equity

If you see the picture on the right and think “wheelchair ramps,” you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It’s also a stroller ramp, an aid for people with chronic joint pain, a ramp for tiny kids with tiny legs, and a blessing for CrossFitters on leg day. In short, all sorts of people appreciate a gradual transition between spaces. Toronto-based StopGap helps businesses and organizations make such transitions possible at low or no cost while broadening the conversations on access and equity. 1 or 1,000 Steps, Same Problem  Although Luke Anderson is an engineer, he had never paid much attention to the multitudinous businesses, places of worship, and public structures that used stairs to transition between spaces. Once Anderson began using a wheelchair daily, he noticed just how many buildings failed to offer barrier-free access to visitors and occupants. While such access is essential for wheelchair users, others would benefit from barrier-free entry as well. The “curb cut affect” defines that when something is made easier for one population, it often helps members of other populations. Ramps for wheelchair users would also benefit delivery persons, the elderly, and others who are hindered by stairs. Anderson, along with his friend and coworker Michael Hopkins, began to plan a way to bridge the gap between accessibility and the costs needed to improve accessibility. Addressing the Gap  Anderson is now the executive director and co-founder of StopGap, which aims to break down barriers one step at a time. StopGap Foundation works to create a world where every person can access every space. As a result, the non-profit is creating a world where everyone can live a life of independence, spontaneity, and ultimate fulfillment. But the organization didn’t begin with such grandiose plans. “I thought it...

Developing Leaders

For most kids, growing up is riddled with lessons in how to be a good follower. Follow the rules at home. Follow directions at school. Follow the norms of the community in which we live. Youth leadership, however, is widely accepted as a means of instilling responsibility, positive self-image and motivation in kids. Youth Empowering Parents reverses the mentorship dynamic to help kids uncover the leader within. Yardi caught up with Agazi Afewerki, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit, to learn more about its successful and innovative programs. Millennial Style Agazi co-founded Youth Empowering Parents with his friend in classic . They saw two needs in their Regent Park, Toronto community: adults without access to professional development resources and kids without access to meaningful leadership opportunities. They looked around for support, but they didn’t find what they needed. They then proceeded to spearhead  the nonprofit themselves. Learning along the way would be part of the business plan. “It’s how I and a lot of other kids grew up,” says Agazi. “We helped our parents learn. It’s a natural dynamic. So we figured why not put that in a classroom setting? It’s a leadership opportunity for young people and a high quality education for adults and seniors.” With only 11 days of business development behind them, they launched their first class. Its success surprised (almost) everyone. Solving Multiple Problems with One Program On the surface, Youth Empowering Parents fills the gap between adults and the skills needed to thrive in a new world. Many adult participants are first generation immigrants that struggle to transfer their existing knowledge into a country with a new language and rapidly changing technologies. But that’s only one layer of the problems that the nonprofit addresses. Youth Empowering Parents provides personal...

Changemaker Series Aug30

Changemaker Series

Welcome to the fourth segment of the Changemakers, a Senior Housing News (SHN) series of interviews that spotlight leaders who are shaping the future of senior living through innovation. Yardi is sponsoring the series, and for this installment, we are excited to share that the featured company is a longtime Yardi client. Meet David Eskenazy, president of Merrill Gardens based out of Seattle. Merrill Gardens has over 30 communities across the U.S., and they’ve even begun expanding into China – a move that Eskenazy helped lead and that few other providers have yet taken. Eskenazy joined Merrill Gardens back in 2015, and since then has pushed the organization forward with a focus on efficiency, technology and the data insights it brings. During his interview with SHN, Eskenazy spoke at length about his passion for pulling, analyzing and leveraging data. “I’m kind of a data nut,” he shared. Eskenazy believes that clear reporting – and an understanding of what the numbers really mean – are essential, not just for himself but for the managers in Merrill Gardens’ communities. “And so we built,” Eskenazy said. “To the point where I believe now we probably have the most sophisticated business analytics tools in the industry.” The results are impressive. He and his team can quickly dial in on sales, marketing or care and see what’s working and what’s not throughout the organization. But what did Eskenazy change at Merrill Gardens for his team to attain that level of instant insight? You don’t need to wonder. He explains more in this excerpt from the SHN interview: How did you get the tools you needed to achieve this [business analytics function]? Fundamentally, you have to see where your information is. For example, when I went to Aegis, we had...

Big Data is a Big Deal Aug26

Big Data is a Big Deal...

Not long ago, most real estate companies made business decisions based on guesswork and backward-looking data aggregated into spreadsheets. Today, new technology automates data collection with advanced analytics to provide a complete picture of a portfolio’s opportunities and future risks. That’s big data. When it comes to leveraging big data for big results, Diana Norbury knows her stuff. Norbury is senior vice president of multifamily operations for Seattle-based Pillar Properties. Her experience includes over a decade of managing mixed-retail multifamily communities throughout the U.S. Pillar Properties is an award-winning developer, owner and manager of luxury apartment residences in the Puget Sound area and a developer of senior living communities through sister company Merrill Gardens. Since joining Pillar, Norbury has focused on refining revenue management and business intelligence practices, talent management and education, operational systems implementation, and lease-up and marketing strategies for the company’s growing portfolio. Yardi recently sat down with Norbury to learn more about the benefits of big data. How do you use big data to drive performance? Norbury: I use big data in a variety of ways. Big data is a huge resource when we’re having team calls. For example, I can go to the data when we’re talking about vacancies and pricing. With Asset Intelligence, we finally have a tool that incorporates all our property and leasing data with historical traffic and pricing data. The system marries all that information together. I can find information fast without having to dig around. It also helps us format and present our data, which we can export into Excel or PDF — I think that’s really cool. How do you use predictive analytics? Norbury: I use Asset Intelligence and predictive analytics specifically for upcoming exposure and vacancies. In the past, we’d use a variety of...

Race for a Cause

Providing opportunities for children without homes and supporting those in need is important to Yardi employees around the globe. On July 18th, Yardi’s UK office participated in PropKart, a go-karting event hosted by PropSki with all proceeds benefitting LandAid and Maggie’s Centres. These two heart-warming charities prioritize emotional support and health support. Read on to learn about the exciting race and the special organizations benefitting from the event. PropKart A team of five Yardi employees proudly represented Yardi at PropKart, The Property Industry Karting Championships, at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit – the biggest professional go-karting track in Europe. In their first time participating in a PropSki event, “the team were raring to go! Enthusiasm got the better of one employee who spun out on the track, but all team members were excited by the event,” says Hannah Holmes, a Yardi marketing associate in Great Britain. Among the 23 property industry attendees were Vectos, Greenaway Architecture, and Buckler Environmental – the first, second, and third place winners. Yardi came in further on in the pack, but was most excited to help raise £5,000 for LandAid and Maggie’s Centres, two important and selfless organizations. LandAid LandAid brings businesses and individuals from across the property industry to change lives by working to end youth homelessness in the UK. According to LandAid,  around 86,000 people in the UK will be homeless. Through the nonprofit’s inspiring efforts, countless small-medium sized charities across the UK have received investments totaling over £2 million each year, which enables the construction of new buildings and renovation properties. In its work to end youth homelessness, LandAid follows up its funding with strategic advice and property expertise to each project. Last year, LandAid provided 472 homes for vulnerable young people, reaching their three-year target of...

A Bright View Aug16

A Bright View

Since opening its first community 20 years ago, Brightview Senior Living has established itself as a leading developer and operator of independent and assisted living and dementia care facilities across eight Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The company, based in Baltimore, will open its 40th community by the end of 2019 and intends to continue opening three to five new communities annually. Marilynn Duker, CEO of Brightview, has spent much of her 27 years in the real estate business focused on the firm’s success. After completing a presidential internship for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, she joined forces with a lawyer-turned-developer and began developing affordable, market- rate and mixed-income communities. The partnership soon added a property management arm that at one time oversaw some 22,000 units for clients. Eventually, the business expanded into senior housing and gradually disposed of the property management operation and apartments. Tell us how Brightview began and why senior living appeals to you. Duker: Senior living is really an operating business that happens to have real estate as a platform, so it’s much different than other real estate asset classes. Arnie Richman, who had built and ran a large nursing home company, joined us in the 1990s and brought the operating experience, and we had the development platform. While we have grown significantly over the last 20 years, getting to scale wasn’t a big goal. Instead, it has always been about providing a high-quality experience to our residents. We have a lot of control over our destiny, too. The four business partners have owned 10 percent of every equity fund we’ve raised, and we have had tremendous repeat investment. (Brightview’s first fundraising effort in the 1990s attracted about $6 million.) Its most recent fund in 2017 topped out...

Staff Training

Could the most important component of technology be the instructions? It’s arguable that a complex piece of software cannot live up to its potential without well-trained users, no matter how well it is designed. Fortunately, Yardi has taken user training beyond a manual with Yardi eLearning, a dedicated learning management system just for Yardi users. Property management companies such as Viridian Management have found Yardi eLearning indispensable considering the benefits it offers vs. traditional training methods. Getting Started with Yardi eLearning Yardi eLearning arrived just in time for Viridian. Late in 2018, their leadership team was developing a training curriculum for staff to use Yardi Voyager, the property management, accounting and affordable housing compliance software used by Viridian. They soon found it was very difficult to craft training content for their users, even with all of the support documentation available for Yardi software. “We were in a bottleneck because there is so much to cover. As we inventoried the skills we wanted our staff to master, we found it would take hours and hours of training to get users where we wanted them to be. When we saw the courses included with Yardi eLearning, we discovered that about 70% of everything we wanted to teach was already available and ready to use,” says Patrick Patterson, president of Viridian. Training on Affordable Housing Viridian manages 120 properties with more than 4,000 affordable units spread throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. They specialize in developing and managing tax credit properties, and have experience with USDA Rural Development, HOME, HUD Multifamily Housing, as well as state and local sources of funds. Training for each of those housing programs is facilitated by specific learning tracks in Yardi eLearning. Viridian can simply assign staff to those learning tracks based on...