Most people probably see me in my role at NMHC as an industry advocate, but I think of myself mostly as an industry educator. To me, the multifamily industry is an endlessly fascinating business that is truly international in scope. I have a great passion and respect for the business, the firms participating in it and the executives leading it-and I want others to share that enthusiasm.
So whether it’s talking with legislators and regulators, investors, industry partners or even students, my primary goal is always to educate them about the importance of our industry-let’s not forget our industry and residents contribute more than $1 trillion to the economy each year-while showing them how successful and efficient our members are at investing in, developing, building and managing the assets that 37 million people call home.
But after years of doing this, I’m still shocked at how limited the resources are for teaching people about our industry. There’s never been a really good, go-to guide that provides a thorough or accurate overview of how our industry works or the opportunities that exists within it. Until now.
For the past 18 months, I’ve been part of a team that’s worked feverishly to produce the industry’s first essential multifamily textbook, Multifamily Housing. The book is a collaboration between NMHC, the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), with the help of Dr. Debbie Phillips of Georgia Tech, who ran the project like a benevolent dictator. Without her infectious spirit and indomitable will, this project would have never come together as quickly as it did.
Nothing like this book exists anywhere. It serves as an industry canon, useful for anyone wishing to dig deeply into the various facets of the business, be they industry professionals, students, analysts, the media or investors of any stripe.
However, I also expect that this book will be a catalyst for more colleges and universities to develop curricula specific to our dynamic industry, so that more graduates will see a clear path to working in the multifamily sector rather than arbitrarily finding their way there over time like so many of our industry executives have. We, as an industry, need to be sure our business is positioned correctly to attract the best and the brightest.
Just think about it. The career opportunities our industry affords are unique and multifaceted. Working with worldwide capital investors, managing assets worth $100 million or more, helping municipalities revitalize blighted or underused communities and business districts, or enhancing an investment portfolio-these are industry jobs that represent real growth opportunities for talented young people.
Similarly, this book can be a great tool for educating our existing employees about their roles and contributions to the industry at large while showing them more career opportunities in the multifamily field. Every NMHC and NAA member would benefit from having a selection of these textbooks on hand to distribute to new hires. It should be every employee’s “bible” on multifamily housing.
While I look forward to the book’s future success, especially as the interactive version launches this fall, I still feel that the beauty of this project, and, frankly, its true appeal, lies in the number of experienced hands who touched the book’s progression from brainchild to its successful publication. To the current and former practitioners, educators, consultants, subject matter experts at the trade associations, and many more who gave the thousands of hours of volunteer time to write, proof, critique, offer photos, and generally add to the value of the end product, we are sincerely thankful. It really took a village!