After several years working in property management for both small and large companies, 33-year-old Patrick Ryan quickly gained the experience necessary to become Chief Operating Officer of WPD Management. Here is his story in real estate:
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and went to school at Dakota Wesleyan University for my undergraduate degree.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My first experience was in property management, mowing the lawn at an apartment complex my mother worked at, as well as helping their maintenance technician with various simple repairs around the property. Initially, I wasn’t very good at repairing things and quickly realized that I would need to find something more fitting of my strengths if I was to stay in property management for the long run.
After college, I got back into the property management field by getting my leasing license and working as a property manager for a small owner-operator. During these three years, I truly realized the potential available to me within property management and real estate in general.
I took my first property management experience and continued to learn the business by moving to a larger company and exploring my opportunities with them. I had moved into a portfolio operations director position and became responsible for 1,000 units.
After a little over a year in corporate property management, I realized how much I missed working with smaller, more passionate organizations. I came on with WPD Management in 2017 as the director of property management and, after three years, moved into the Chief Operating Officer position that I am in today.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I have had many mentors and supporters over the years of my journey in real estate. My greatest supporter is, of course, my wife, Trisha. She has continued to support me through all the long days and countless late-night emergency phone calls.
I feel like I learn something new every day and from almost everyone I speak to. Clients, co-workers, and of course, owners have all played large roles in my continued search for real estate knowledge and experience.
What does an average day in the life of Patrick Ryan look like?
I would have to say that no day is average while working in property management, but I do try to stick to a routine when possible.
I like to start my day early and calm, usually long before my wife or four children are up. After arriving at the office each morning, I typically first take some time to read whatever my current book of choice is. From there, the day is dictated by structured email check-ins and a busy meeting schedule, typically with my directors or current/new clients looking for higher-level information.
What do you like most about your job?
I thoroughly enjoy my ability to see into all departments across our company. It gives me a unique perspective into what is going on with each department and how those items connect in WPD, providing better service to our clients and residents. Working in property management for almost my entire career has really made me appreciate what it means to provide affordable and stable housing to as many residents as possible. In my current role, I am able to provide those opportunities to thousands of local residents.
Throughout WPD’s portfolio, we have done various initiatives to give back to residents throughout the years. I’m really excited about formalizing WPD Cares and strategically giving back to our residents, communities served and employees.
I also enjoy the people I work with every day. Without great team members, my days would not be as enjoyable. Seeing team members succeed at work and in their personal lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It’s always a highlight of my year to see how many team members’ lives are affected when we get together with our families for an annual picnic. That is when I can see the true impact of what our organization is doing for each of our team members.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
In the future, I would love to buy a campground to operate. Camping has always been an important part of my life, and a campground would be the perfect mix for me with my background in property management.
What kind of changes do you hope to see in the industry in the near future?
It would be great to see more companies truly caring about their residents, clients, and team members and not just about profits or the number of units managed. All three of those groups of people need to genuinely feel a high level of care from a property management company to be truly successful. Many organizations spend too much time only focused on one or two of those groups instead of all of them.
I believe that true change in how we care starts with over communicating what an organization stands for. If you and your team know your purpose, you can unite as one to obtain your goals and drive the organization’s success indirectly.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Any time I have away from the office is typically spent with my wife and children. We love to spend time at our camper, riding dirtbikes and even cruising the country on our Harleys. We are constantly on the move with someone wanting to go somewhere or do something.