Vicky King Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- My biggest career achievement has been my quick ascension from Financial Administrator to Controller to SVP Business Development to Director of Operations to President of Axela Management in less than four years. However, I don’t limit my achievements to simply earning a new title. My achievements can best be described through my leadership evolution and displayed via my adaptability, vision, and strong execution.
This rare path that I've journeyed has allowed me the opportunity to onboard 2,900 student housing beds across five states over the next quarter, on top of already being one of the top student housing owners/operators in Connecticut.
I was then called to bat to lead the stabilization of our entire CT management portfolio as Director of Operations. I owe this achievement to my determination to deliver consistently high levels of performance and my ability to foster a family-like environment within my team. #TeamAxela is fully aware that I will do whatever it takes to go above and beyond and that attitude is infused into our team down to the site level.
True leadership is showing your team that you are willing to do whatever it is you are asking them to do. I take pride in having performed follow-up renewal calls, grabbing my sparkle bucket during turn season, and being an interim Property Manager alongside my site teams. I am able to absorb large volumes of information across multiple departments and relay new initiatives back to my team in a more palatable manner. My team trusts in me to lead them in the right direction and support them in reaching their own career goals.
It was during this time that I realized I was a true trailblazer: pioneering the path for Axela’s success using my ability to inspire and garner the respect of a wide spectrum of industry professionals and employees of different experience levels. I began studying different markets, becoming familiar with the nuances and trends across the commercial real estate industry. I had a new vision for myself and for Axela: to become a national player in multifamily by acquiring value-add portfolios in growing markets and applying creative, yet practical, site-level solutions.
After stabilizing seven student housing, nine multifamily and five commercial assets, I was promoted to President of Axela Management. The promotion from Director of Operations to President required me to change my mindset at the drop of a hat from the site level operations to focusing on the expansion of our portfolio and the infrastructure required to support its rapid growth.
Through this role, I’m able to best utilize my visionary, entrepreneurial spirit to expand Axela Group’s national footprint. My experiences in every role I’ve held support my ability to lead the natural synergy between our development/acquisition firm and our property management firm, allowing Axela to identify the strongest opportunities in every geographic area and asset class we enter.
I plan to onboard 2,900 student housing beds across five states over the next quarter. Effectively leading the company into this growth will be pivotal for our future success. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in this company to truly earn my title, and look forward to delivering on my vision for Axela Management at the national level: to create assurance for our residents, investors and employees as we continue to build a culture of community in every market we enter.
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- My ultimate career goal is to continue to expand our portfolio, making Axela Group a national name. Currently, we are under contract to close on 2,900 student housing beds over the next quarter. I want to continue to grow Axela Management at a manageable rate, and expect that by next year we will be a national player in the housing industry.
This past decade has transformed the relationship between America and its housing, especially when it comes to renting. Rentership rates expanded across the board—from young families to seniors, from city cores to suburbs, as many Americans have shifted away from costly homeownership. Axela plans and executes renovation and improvement plans necessary to not only maintain its properties, but to increase its desirability and demand, providing our tenants better quality of life through heavy-lift capital projects, innovation and modernization, as well as internally developed and proprietary market strategies. Our goal is to enhance the resident experience,
I aim to create modern and comfortable apartment living for our residents, creating a holistic approach to property management. Although my day-to-day connections with onsite stakeholders have changed since becoming President - I never want to lose focus on the residents and their experiences. In a similar manner, I want to continue to build my relationships with investors based on mutual trust and open, transparent communication every step of the way. In order for us to truly succeed and service our communities, that attitude must continue to make its way down to the site level. That will be achieved by continuing to lead from the front while creating the proper infrastructure to manage the company’s growth to ensure no property, project, team or resident slips through the cracks.
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- In our efforts to create modern and comfortable living for our residents, while delivering top-level revenue, decreasing operating expenses and increasing operational efficiencies, we are implementing smart apartment technology in all of our properties as a resident amenity.
Axela Management will be implementing multiple forms of smart apartment tech across five student housing communities within the next few months. An example of this is our implementation of smart locks, replacing standard digital keypad locks. Smart locks give us the ability to modernize our assets and give our residents a true Class A living experience, while streamlining the move in and move out process. Smart locks allow for us to manage resident access from a single dashboard instead of requiring a maintenance technician to physically reprogram every single door code during the heavy-turn season. There are also security benefits to having access control in each building, as most programs allow you to keep an audit trail of visitors.
Another smart product we are deploying is smart thermostats. This will allow us to control the temperature in our vacant units from the office. By utilizing additional functions of the smart thermostats such as setting temperature parameters, humidity parameters, and daily temperature resets on occupied units, we anticipate seeing a dramatic reduction in utility and maintenance costs. Parking sensors in guest parking spaces allow us to view parking occupancy in real time and alert our office or a third-party contact if someone is parked where they shouldn't be.
While smart apartment technology can be connected in a number of ways, the most reliable is with a smart Wifi system (Managed Wifi) and is considered the foundation to being able to implement smart features. Managed Wifi sets the property up to be able to continuously expand their IoT offerings as the expectations and trends evolve. The management aspect of Managed Wifi also ensures that as you add more and more IoT offerings, that they are secure and working as they should be.
Although smart apartment tech is practically synonymous with student housing, the diverse application of these features will drive the success of the remaining asset classes over the next few years. Through the application of these amenities, our residents are assured that we are focused on the future of not only the apartment building, but on raising the standard of the industry as well. Whether it is through digital locks, smart thermostats, parking sensors, video intercom panels, managed wifi, facial recognition access control, smart lighting or any new device - apartment tech is booming, and owners/operators need to realize these up-and-coming operational efficiencies.
As the emphasis continues to grow regarding ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance investing) our use of these smart apartment products will increase the way our apartments are viewed as stewards of nature.
In today’s digital age, so much of our world can be controlled with the click of a button. Whether it's ordering food from DoorDash or grabbing an Uber on demand, our needs are met nearly instantaneously. We need to implement these same conveniences at our properties.