Habitat - July/August 2016 - (Page 21)

uP CLoSe Jerry Wilkinson: on the Pulse of Change Jerry Wilkinson Founder and Chairman, The Wilkinson Companies Q Q What was Atlanta's multifamily industry like when you started, and where do you see the biggest areas of evolution? Technology and the sophistication of the employees has been the biggest change. When I started, nobody ever chose to join this industry. Maybe they lived on-site and couldn't pay the rent, so they took on a manager's job. Or they worked in construction and had lost their job, so they became the maintenance supervisor. Technology has driven the fast pace of information as well as the level of sophistication and education needed to manage a property. It's a very demanding job, driven by information now. How have developers and owners kept up with the growing need for better resident amenities and resulting competition? Ironically enough, student housing has led the regular apartment world. Student housing is a relatively new phenomenon. But it has driven changes in the health emphasis, the 24/7 nature of apartments and the inclusion of pets. Apartments are changing the amenities offered to single-family homes. People's lifestyles have changed. Their pets are more important, and technology has changed the ways of communicating. It's definitely moved away from the old tennis courts and swimming pools. Q Where do you see Atlanta's multifamily industry in 10 years? When I look ahead, there won't be any more isolated apartment communities. What you'll see are nodes, whether it be in Sandy Springs, Johns Creek or Kennesaw. Mixed-use will place apartments close to work, amenities and entertainment. We're already seeing it. I also see smaller apartments and 24/7 access where people can choose to renew their lease, to report problems or pay rent without ever leaving their units. The key thing that will drive the success of apartments is a sense of community - being part of something. That is going to feel different in the future. Building a community will help retain tenants. Q With such a busy professional life, what advice would you give AAA members about finding time to be involved with charitable and professional organizations? I'd say do it. Start small and do it. Don't ever think "next year" or "it's too small" or "it's not important enough." Find a passion and something that's meaningful, whether it be a food bank or so many of the wonderful organizations or Family: Married for 45 years. Three daughters. Seven grandchildren. Two sons-in-law and a daughter work in Wilkinson Companies. FuN FACTS U p Close profiles the careers and success stories of industry leaders. We want these esteemed individuals to share insight about where they found support and professional development opportunities, and what lessons they have to share. Spend some time with Jerry Wilkinson, founder and chairman of The Wilkinson Companies. Wilkinson joined the multifamily housing industry initially as a developer in 1984, building the Lee's Crossings Apartments in LaGrange, Ga. He served as chairman of the National Apartment Association in 2012 and has served as president of the Georgia Apartment Association and the Atlanta Apartment Association. He is active in his community, serving on the board of directors of St. Joseph Hospital and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, as well as Duke University, where he received his BS in electrical engineering. He also has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School. Last book read: I read a lot. My wife buys me four or five books at a time. The last book I read was The Last Mile by David Baldacci. I read just for pure, raw pleasure. Favorite band/musician: I love music. All kinds of music. But I grew up in the era of soul music of the '60s and '70s, so I would have to say Ray Charles, especially when he sings "Georgia." Dream lunch partner: I was able to have an audience with Mother Teresa and others in Calcutta the year before she died. I became a great fan, read everything about her. If I could have a lunch with anybody ever, I probably like to sit down with her again. continued on page 32 J u ly/au g u s t 2 016 | h a bitat | 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Habitat - July/August 2016

Chair’s Message
Legal Talk
The Greening of the Atlanta Multifamily Housing Industry
Government Affairs
Up Close
LEED in Sustainability
Volunteer’s Corner
AAA Platinum Patron Member Profile: BOS Security
AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: For Rent Media Solutions
AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: Belfor
AAA Gold Patron Member Profile: Renters Reference Services Inc.
New Members
Advertisers’ Index

Habitat - July/August 2016