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Association Bisnow
April 25, 2008



The multi-family housing industry (a term that includes apartments, condos, and possibly hippie communes) has a problem: over the next four years, it will need 100,000 new property managers, maintenance personnel, and other workers to fill its labor demand. Doug Culkin, EVP of the National Apartment Association, has found a way to put a dent in that deficit. The NAA Education Institute, recently spun off from NAA, is developing a curriculum with colleges and vocational guidance associations to train its future workforce.               


At his Arlington digs, Doug told us the  Institute has teamed with Virginia Tech, Ball State, the University of North Texas, and five other schools that now offer BAs in property management. About 200 grads get the degree each year, with Virginia Tech’s class of 50 or so leading the pack.  NAA members like Equity Residential and Archstone Trust provide scholarships and internships for many of the students. The best part? Doug says program grads have a “99.9% chance” of landing a job before they even finish school, with many of them reaching six-figure incomes within two-three years of graduation. (Clearly we chose the wrong degree—sigh.)  



Beyond the employment shortage, Doug says government relations is the top concern of NAA’s 51,000 individual members. A big slice of the association’s $15 million in revenue goes toward lobbying, but on the state level. Doug says that since all states have been in the red the last few years, they’ve imposed particularly burdensome taxes on apartment-unit owners. The NAA’s affiliate offices in 46 states and DC keep members abreast of legislative activity.      



Doug’s office is dotted with balls signed by Peyton Manning, Steve Young and Cal Ripken Jr., all keynote speakers from past NAA trade shows. He’s also one of several lifelong Red Sox fans we’ve met in the association world—is that some kind of job requirement we don’t know about?     

Bisnow’s Ace Reporter Simon Brown is working the association beat. Send him your story tips at simon@bisnow.com.

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