PORTFOLIO RESOURCE DIRECTOR
Jerry appears in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs Magazine
1045 Real Estate is the epitome of what can happen when knowledge meets innovation. Combining years of experience from various sectors of commercial real estate with deep familiarity and connections throughout the industry has proven to make their unique business model work. In 2018, three real estate professionals got together to respond to an RFP from a large national grocery retailer. They were up against the biggest firms in the business, and they knew they needed a unique offering. Because they had personal experience with grocery real estate already, they understood the major pain points for this company from a real estate perspective. Perhaps the largest being expenses pain on owned and leased real estate maintenance and accounting.
What 1045 Real Estate proposed was something that the market had not seen before. They figured out a way to convert these necessary property management expenses into income, transforming a fixed cost center into a revenue generator. It was a novel concept to say the least, and some were skeptical at first, but it has proven to be a winner for all involved. How do they do it? Well, that’s the secret sauce and they aren’t sharing the recipe any time soon.
In the last four years, 1045 has grown from a dozen or so staff to over 100 team members in 14 states across the U.S. Due to the success of their core property management business, 1045 has been able to expand to meet clients’ needs in other capacities as well. Using their entrepreneurial spirit and innovative approach with the intention to always add value to properties, rather leased or owned, 1045 has created business lines for lease restructuring services, common area maintenance (CAM) reconciliation, alternative revenue and specialty leasing, as well as company representative management.
That’s where portfolio director, Jerry Ward, comes in. He and his team take on all the internal real estate responsibilities for a different subset of retail clients. They work directly with large retail operators, performing site visits for leased and owned locations, and working directly with the retail general managers to handle any facility maintenance issue. Work orders, maintenance, and anything else the location might need are managed by team members but controlled and tracked using cutting-edge software for maximum efficiency and response time. Jerry and his team also keep clients up to date with customized monthly reports. “It saves them money in the long run,” Jerry explains. “They can focus on operating their core business instead of the burden of the facility management details.” 1045’s flexibility and personalized plans also mean that they offer alternative revenue options. They find specialty leasing opportunities to increase revenue on clients’ owned locations and work contracts to lease space for car charging stations, Christmas tree lots, firework stands, etc., 1045 handles the entire process and the clients get to add significant value to their investment.
We sat down with Jerry to learn more about what he’s bringing to 1045, and his plans for the future.
Tell us a little about your background.
I’m originally from Northern Scotland, but have worked in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Russia, so I’ve seen corporations of all kinds grow and diminish all over the world. I have a global insight many people don’t, which translates into various business and finance scenarios. When I was just starting out, my experience in the Royal Airforce taught me to be unassuming and to work smart, that is really what gave me a competitive edge as I was working my way up through global corporations. Where I was from, the oil industry was predominant and being able to translate my RAF attitude into the oil industry was also unique, as it tends to be a bit of a rougher culture than other industries. I spent 15 years rising through the corporate structure and mobilizing services around the globe. When I decided to leave the oil industry I had gone as far as I could with my company, finishing off as country manager (functions as a CEO for the specific country). I managed massive operations with many moving parts and huge budgets, which was a phenomenal experience. I strived to create solutions for expensive logistical challenges, much like I do today in the facility management capacity. In 2015, I was ready for the next chapter, so I evaluated my skills from a completely open angle, and I realized that commercial real estate management, and asset and property management would be a good progression for me. At first, I managed several large portfolios; hospitals, medical schools, and college campuses. But when the opportunity came to be part of something innovative and entrepreneurial, I jumped at the challenge. Coming from the huge corporate world into more of a ‘start-up’, I was excited to create something from the ground up. I understood both ends of the same street, where we are coming from and where we want to be. I’d say the skill I apply the most often is my tenacity, I keep working until we find the right solutions.
You’re managing 1045’s newest division. What does that entail?
The new division’s concept places professional property managers as a type of “sub-contractor,” speaking directly with retail company managers and staff to manage day-to-day or long-term facility and real estate issues—again letting the business focus on the business and not the real estate. We work on all sides; real estate, ownership, landlord, development, and tenant, and as our clients grow, we are able help them scale by adjusting expenses and costs. For example, when have other locations in the same market, we will leverage vendor pricing.
How do you and 1045 differentiate yourselves in the market?
Our flexibility allows us to provide far superior service. None of our processes are cookie-cutter—they’re all customized, and that allows us to be extremely nimble. We do a thorough analysis of what each client really needs and create a customized plan based on their goals for their business or portfolio. It doesn’t matter if we’re representing an investment group, a landlord, or a corporation, everything is tailored. We also have boots on the ground at every location, so we can stay as involved as we need. As opposed to other companies, who have managers assigned to properties from a big central office, we have people within driving distance of each property. I personally stay very involved with the properties I manage and have weekly meetings with their teams.
What are 1045’s plans for the future?
Right now, my division is focusing more on vertical integration, working start-to-finish with clients, as early as location identification phase. 1045, as a whole, is growing more robust throughout the marketplace, working together with our investment fund partner, Essential Growth Properties. Also, working more and more with investment groups who have smaller to mid-sized portfolios, helping them grow through vertical integration and buying retail centers. A big part of our growth model and value proposition is giving people the opportunity to add value to their owned properties and increase efficiencies and reduce expenses on leased locations.
Can you share a particular philosophy that drives you and your work?
My motto is “When you focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities you have more opportunities.” You may have heard that before… I didn’t make that one up myself. [laughs]
Portfolio Resource Director — 1045 Real Estate
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