ZRS Management, an Orlando, Florida-based third-party property management company, has promoted Darren Pierce to president. Pierce replaces longtime president Steve Buck, who will continue his role as CEO.
Pierce joined ZRS in 2016 as vice president to help grow the firm by leveraging his previous experience with real estate investment firms, including serving as vice president of asset management with Crescent Communities and director of investment management at Archstone. During his tenure at ZRS, Pierce has played a role in nearly doubling the number of units under management to 60,000.
“Darren has done a great job teaching our associates to think more like an owner so that they can fully understand our clients’ motivations, end goals, and definition of success,” says Buck. “Whether it’s a lease-up, stabilized, or value-add community, we understand how to run that strategy, and our phenomenal growth is testimony to our ability to effectively execute the business plan for our clients. Darren deserves a lot of credit for that.”
For Pierce, people—whether employees or clients—come first.
“We’re really at a time in our industry where it’s competitive for our clients to purchase real estate and a time for us to not compromise on hiring best-in-class people. It’s to make sure we continue to maintain the high level of service that we’re known for. That’s the passion I have—to make sure the experience a client has today will be there in four or five years. It’s a long-term mindset for the organization. While the real estate industry is transactional, it’s all about relationships.”
In his new role, Pierce says his main priorities will be around employee engagement and clients, with communication and open dialogue critical for both.
“It is important for our employees to know they can create a career in property management,” he says. “Property management is often overlooked. There is a tremendous career path for folks, and I want to continue to foster and promote that.”
In terms of clients, Pierce says it’s all about the partnership. With historic highs in occupancy and revenue growth, ZRS is working hand in hand with clients on their strategic objectives and communicating that to its team members to realize the vision.
“No one knows when rent growth might slow down,” he says. “We find ways to run properties as efficient as possible and focus on the ability for these communities to remain stable for the long term.”
In addition to Orlando, the firm has offices in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, covering the major metros in the two states. It also has expanded to Atlanta, the Mid-Atlantic, North Carolina, Chicago, and most recently Nashville, Tennessee, where it closed on two assets for an existing client.
The firm will continue to take a cautious approach to expansion, “not taking on new business just for the sake of taking on new business,” says Pierce.
“Our growth has been driven by client relationships and focusing on not overextending ourselves,” he says. “For us, we want to make sure it’s a market where we know we can have the ability to have boots on the ground. We don’t take that entry lightly.”
Pierce is optimistic for the coming year, citing the multifamily industry’s strong fundamentals.
“It is the ability to find and seek out new opportunities for our clients. We have seen now that people have shifted from a buyer mentality to one around renting as a long-term proposition, which is healthy for our industry,” he says. “We are going to continue to do phenomenal work for our clients to execute their strategies and make sure we’re investing in our employees and team members.”