With the summer intern season rapidly coming to an end, many multifamily firms find themselves in a win-win situation. Not only did the interns benefit from learning about how the apartment industry actually goes about providing essential housing to residents but the company also benefitted from the fresh ideas and energy that interns bring.
This was certainly the case for Norfolk, Virginia-based Harbor Group International (HGI).
“Every year, the brightest interns join us and bring enough energy to power our entire portfolio,” said Julie Lee, senior vice president of human resources for subsidiary Harbor Group Management Co. “As usual, [this year] we learned as much from them as they learned from us and their influence will last well beyond the term of the internship.”
HGI typically gives their interns a summer project. This year, executives charged their 28 summer interns, who worked all across the country at properties in HGI’s 30,000+ unit portfolio, with reading NMHC’s Disruption report. From there, they focused on four topic areas covered in the report—technology, people, shopping and marketplace—and, through collaboration, came up with recommendations on what leadership could do now to be better prepared for possible disruption from emerging trends.
On July 24, the interns flew to Norfolk to meet with senior corporate leaders during an afternoon of intern presentations and rapid-fire questioning from company leaders. From more tactical suggestions like updating the company website to in-depth discussions on how blockchain will affect the apartment industry, the interns covered a lot of ground, providing critical insight into current and future apartment residents, as well as future industry leaders.
“It’s truly inspiring to watch the next generation of young professionals take center stage and provide a unique understanding of the disruptions that are already springing up throughout our industry,” said Robert Friedman, president of Harbor Group Managment Co.
“I think my internship experience helped me grow both personally and professionally by giving me real world experience,” said intern Logan Sundra. “Throughout the internship I gained plenty of people experience and learned how to handle and de-escalate situations at work. Professionally, it gave me knowledge and opened my eyes to the workplace."