Opportunities are Abundant in the Multifamily Industry

From Groundskeeper to Multifamily Investor

By: Rich George, NOI Coach, CAPS, CHPE, HOM, Broker

There are limitless stories of amazing growth and overwhelming success in the multifamily space. The National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) through their partnerships with a nationwide network of local affiliates has been a significant part of these stories. Your national and local associations like have provided the launching pad for the rocket fueled success of thousands of industry professionals just like you and me.

NAAEI and Multifamily NW offer multiple credential programs that ignite the careers of aspiring multifamily professionals every year. These credentials include:

  • CALP – Certified Apartment Leasing Professional
  • CAM – Certified Apartment Manager
  • CAMT – Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technician
  • CAPS – Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor
  • CAS – Certified Apartment Supplier
  • IROP – Independent Rental Owner Professional

Let me bend your ear with my story of success, which is closely intertwined with these credentialing programs. I was just 20 years old when I started in this industry as a groundskeeper. I worked my way into the maintenance side of the business a few short months later. This is when I had my first opportunity for professional development. I got my first non-industry related credential. Shortly thereafter, I was offered a promotion to be a maintenance supervisor and I sought more opportunities for training and development. By the time I was 23, I was the on-site manager for a 260-unit affordable property and, by the time I was 26, I earned my first industry related credential. This was when this “job” became my “career”.

The next 10 years of my life were a blur, I achieved credentials in affordable housing as well as the Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS) program through my local apartment association. I progressed to Regional Manager, Regional Vice President, Executive Vice President and Director of Operations positions by the time I was 35 years old.

Over the next 15 years I became the CEO and owner of my own company and now I partner with some of the best thought leaders in the industry. This network along with my education afforded me the ability to become an investor in my own apartment portfolio. This industry that we all have a love/hate relationship with, has created a level of achievement in my life that is unbelievable. As I sit here, at 51 years old, I ask myself; “How did this happen?”

The answer is complex but a central and recurring reason is a thirst/hunger for knowledge, a perpetual need to answer the question of “Why we do what we do?”. I found many answers to that question in credential programs like CALP, CAM, CAS, CAMT and CAPS. These credential programs are a way to invest in yourself. They provide an incredible return on investment of time, effort, and money. My success is not only from the education that I received in these credential programs, but also from the network of lifelong friends and colleagues that I made along the way. This network continues to impact my life and the opportunities that surround me on a daily basis.

Over the past 15 years, I have been taught and authored many of the National Apartment Association Education Institute’s credential programs as a subject matter expert and as a senior member of faculty. I have facilitated thousands of students through CALP, CAM, CAS and CAPS. This experience has given me a great view, as I have consistently seen my students move throughout their careers into senior management positions, and I have seen the power of personal development.

If you are on the fence about embarking on your journey into achieving a credential, now is the time. Waiting is not an option, because the sooner you learn, the sooner the trajectory of your career will change. I don’t say this to be dramatic, I say this to create that inspiration for growth in your own life. Your local apartment association is your gateway to your future. The only thing that stands between you and success is the enrollment form for the next offering of a credential.

"While you can't start again at the beginning, you can decide right now to crate a new ending"

If my story isn’t enough to motivate you let me give you nine reasons that you should enroll into a credential program today:
  1. Credentials demonstrate commitment to your multifamily profession
  2. Credentials enhance our collective industry’s image
  3. Credentials build your confidence
  4. Credentials prepare you for greater responsibilities 
  5. Credentials introduce opportunities for growth and advancement in your career
  6. Credentials improve your knowledge and understanding of our investors goals
  7. Credentials offer you greater professional recognition
  8. Credentials give you legitimacy and credibility
  9. You get to put some cool initials behind your name
When you see the MD, DO, CPA, or Esquire after someone’s name it means they have earned the right to claim that recognition. When people see CALP, CAM, CAS, CAMT, IROP, or CAPS behind your name it means that you have earned that right. If you ask successful professionals in any industry why they obtained their credential, they will most certainly tell you that obtaining professional credentials is one of the most important steps you can make in your career development.
While I am proud of my own accomplishments, I didn’t share my story with you to brag, I only shared my journey to illustrate that you can write your own story. I am witnessing many of my students (now friends) as they write their remarkable success stories, and it is a source of great pride and happiness. Every story begins with a character that is open to the narrative for success.
The time is now, the answer is easy, and the result is rewarding. While you can’t start again at the beginning of your career, you can decide right now to create that new ending. It is your choice; it is your opportunity. It is worth it, I guarantee it. Enroll in a credential program through your apartment association today because, you are worth it.