Nicholas Tzavis Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- I'd have to align my biggest achievement to the growth and trajectory of our company, Varsity Campus. Since even before the management division was created in 2015, our CEO and I were building the ground-floor of the eventual company when working for other third-party managers for the first owner of Varsity Campus, previously branded NDG Student Living.
A few months before beginning Varsity Campus in October 2015, I was promoted from a 371-bed community that I led to record pre-leasing and $0 delinquency to a struggling 710-bed asset our ownership owned in the same market. I drastically reduced delinquency down from over $250k, increased pre-leasing and occupancy by 25 percentage points, and coordinated a $6M renovation and eventually the due diligence process with an industry leader, selling the asset for a substantial profit just 9 months after the initial acquisition. I was just 22-23 years old at the time and incredibly proud of myself for getting right into the workforce and making such immediate impacts that I didn't think I'd be exposed to until much later on in my career.
I mention that specific story because I believe that transaction gave ownership confidence that we had the foundation to succeed without the need for a third-party manager. Almost six years later, after many late nights, I helped our operations and portfolio grow to over 100 employees, 12 properties in three states, and a new owner with international partnership and influence. We have huge plans for the future and I take pride in how my work all these years has aided in that and created so many jobs for other amazing employees on our team.
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- My experience to date in the rental housing industry has been primarily related to operating student luxury housing, majorly in a start-up environment. From day one that we started Varsity Campus, my prior title of "Operations Manager", while with a smaller team at the time, encompassed everything and anything related to operating a business and properties, from forecasting budgets down to the most minute details of creating a standard company uniform guide or invoice approval routes, adapting to change and then adjusting and training our policies and procedures again. What I always enjoyed and excelled at was using technology, primarily Entrata, to standardize and modernize our operations and leasing across the portfolio. My ultimate goal would be a title of Operations Systems Director or Director of Operations, with a focus on administering and integrating different software and technologies to propel our company forward by reducing administrative workload so our teams can focus on the customer and the bigger picture. Consulting for other managers or owners, especially with Entrata, is something I've also considered as a more professional "side gig" that I hope and plan to pursue down the line.
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- I think Smart technology and the Internet of Things is the trend right now that has the biggest potential, not only in our industry but globally. Especially with the parlay with blockchain technology, we could see a complete change in how typical operations or administration is completed on a daily basis.
In regards to apartment rentals, of course, there are already features and technologies in process or in development like Entratamation, smart thermostats, auto-shut-offs for appliances, etc. Once practices like these become more mainstream and out of the "dial-up internet" era where it's still too difficult or expensive to understand, implement and include in a development budget, I think we will start seeing more efficient and safer properties, automated emergency on-call systems that contact the proper departments or authorities, limiting property damage and thus lower insurance costs. Further down the line, easier and more efficient purchasing and procurement of materials and parts automatically, if a particular component of a machine or appliance fails in the middle of the night. At some point, "IoT functionality" could even become an apartment amenity where your refrigerator notices you're out of your favorite salad dressing and reorders it for you.