Alumni and industry leaders from the property management industry will gather at Virginia Tech on April 23-24 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the residential property management option within the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The program, which has graduated about 500 students, has served as a model for other universities and been featured in the Journal of Property Management, the National Apartment Association’s UNITS, Multifamily Housing, and Apartment Professional.

The residential property management option was approved in April 1985, an outgrowth of a meeting between Virginia Tech faculty member Rosemary Carucci Goss and James F. Kelly, head of the Multifamily Division of the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), at a Virginia Housing Cost Conference.

The multifamily industry was changing, and VHDA, as well as other industry leaders, recognized the need for well-trained individuals who were prepared specifically for this real estate segment. A curriculum was developed to meet the needs of an expanding multifamily industry ranging from luxury to affordable rental housing, as well as specialized housing for older adults, students and the military.

Goss, who now sits in an endowed chair as “Residential Property Management Advisory Board Professor,” has helped to establish programs at universities in Indiana, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Her efforts to bring the academic community together with the multifamily industry resulted in her serving on the first board of directors of the National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Institute, and in 2006, she received the first NAA Education Institute’s Apartment Career and Education Award.

Currently 25 national and regional property management companies serve on the residential property management advisory board, which meets in Blacksburg twice a year. “The industry recognizes the Virginia Tech [residential property management] graduates as individuals who have developed the technical and people skills required to meet the challenges of working in this business,” said Bill Wollinger, president of Winn Management in Boston, Mass., and current Residential Property Management Advisory Board Chair. “Our company has had great success with Virginia Tech [residential property management] graduates working at multiple locations in New England and throughout the Mid-Atlantic states.”

The educational highlight of the weekend is a presentation by Christopher Lee, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based CEL & Associates Inc., one of the nation’s leading consulting organizations specializing in strategic planning, compensation, benchmarking, opinion surveys and performance improvement in the real estate industry.

He is the author of From Good to Great to Best-in-Class: A Real Estate Leader’s Guide to Optimal Performance and is the editor of Strategic Advantage, a nationwide publication received by approximately 20,000 senior executives of real estate companies. His presentation, “Challenging Times Create Incredible Opportunities” will be Thursday at 2 p.m. in Fralin Auditorium and is open to the public.

Residential property manaagement alumni will then share insights on their career success in a panel presentation entitled, “Spotlight on Success.” The session, moderated by Kimberly Mitchell, assistant professor in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management and an residential property management alumna, will focus on the career paths of seven of the program’s alumni that include careers in multifamily and commercial operations, higher education, marketing and training, acquisitions, and asset management.

The celebration will conclude with a reception and gala on Friday evening for residential property management alumni and faculty and a networking tailgate for current students and alumni before the Virginia Tech spring football game.

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