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TMR PODCAST: Ep. 12 – Time to Shift The Culture – Interview w/ Lindy Ware

One of our favorite interviews to date comes from Pegasus Residential Founder Lindy Ware. Lindy has over 30 years of experience in development and property management leadership in the Mid-Atlantic, South East, and Midwest regions. Lindy served as Vice President for Merry Land Investment Company, Trammell Crow Residential, and Signature Management.

Abandoning tired industry practices, Lindy and her business partner founded Pegasus Residential in January 2009 with a bold vision of revolutionizing third-party management. Lindy and her business partner created an organization hinged on relationships and integrity; and where services rendered are consistently referral-worthy.

Specializing in luxury level management in a variety of markets, Pegasus Residential currently manages over 35,000+ units for various institutional clients, partnerships, and individual owners. Their executive team has experience in Class A-C Conventional communities in both suburban and urban locations. Integrating their unique strengths and extensive experience, they built a truly unique, family-oriented work culture that is inviting and exhilarating to high-achievers and structured for their individual responsibilities so they can lead their team of overachievers with a “hands-on” approach.

Contact Lindy Ware and Pegasus Residential:

Pegasus Residential: Link

Lindy Ware on LinkedIn: Link

📧Email Lindy: ldw@pegasusresdential.com

📞Call: 770-289-8656

Transcript:

Michael Avent  0:00  

Lindy, how you doing today?

Lindy Ware  0:01  

Absolutely great. 

Michael Avent  0:03  

So tell Review Listeners where are you calling from?

Lindy Ware  0:05  

I live in Canton, Georgia and our home offices in Alpharetta. So, today I’m at home. I’m working from home in Canton.

Michael Avent  0:11  

Oh, wow. Cool. How long have you been in Georgia?

Lindy Ware  0:14  

I’ve been in Georgia since 1998.

Michael Avent  0:18  

I used to live in North Carolina. So Raleigh, North Carolina to be specific. So I’ve been to Atlanta a couple of times haven’t been to Alpharetta, Georgia, but I have been to Atlanta. So I kind of know a little bit about the area. But that’s awesome. So tell listeners, how did you get into multifamily?

Lindy Ware  0:33  

Well, it’s a funny story. My husband got transferred to Jacksonville, Florida. And I’ve never done multifamily. I interviewed as a leasing agent with Debbie Conley, with Trammell crow residential. And she hired me and Debbie, actually. And that was in 1986. And Debbie is now my business partner 30 years later. So we’ve kept up all that time. And the craziest thing is that we actually currently manage the property where we met in 1986, which is the meridian in Jacksonville, Florida.

Michael Avent  1:09  

Wow, that is crazy. 

Lindy Ware  1:12  

Yeah, it’s

Michael Avent  1:12  

Over such a long career. Give me some things that you’ve learned over that career that  you started on day one that maybe your partner taught you that you’re still using today? 

Lindy Ware  1:24  

Well, she is the calm of the two, she likes to pause. So she’s kind of taught me that. And I think she is very operational. And I’m more of the visionary. So we’re very good combination. She loves the budgeting process and figuring those things out. And I kind of like the whole picture and development and that kind of genre. So we work well together.

Michael Avent  1:51  

That’s awesome. You and your partner started Pegasus residential back in 2009. Now, January 2009. Now walk me through that, you’re at the height of a recession. And most people are like, I’m not starting a business right now. But for whatever reason, you are like, this is the time. So what inspired you to start it?

Lindy Ware  2:10  

Well, we were going to start it earlier than that. And we were supposed to start in October of 2008. But of course, you know, everything was crashing down. And I thought, Boy, this is the worst time to start a business but then I actually rethought it. And I thought this is kind of the best time to start a business. And I’ve always wanted to work for myself. And in 2009, I felt like there weren’t that many choices. And with the market softening especially, I thought in Atlanta, the timing was actually perfect. We actually already specialized installs, lease up, and fixing properties. And who could be better at that than us and to do that things got very chaotic. So honestly, we started off with nine deals when we started in 2009. And we grew like crazy organically. And because everything in the world was crazy. We actually went from nine to 10,000 units in two and a half years.

Michael Avent  3:08  

Wow, that is that is incredible growth. And so how did that experience in those early days of 2009, you’re in 2020, where there’s so much uncertainty does anything during that time to help you, whether it be emotions with your business, how you run the business things like that in 2020

Lindy Ware  3:27  

It kind of did actually, I think a startup is so much stress and chaos. At that time, we’re doing everything for ourselves, but basically on a shoestring. And honestly, we felt like COVID a lot of those things we already had in place to handle it. And we were just managing protocols and processes. I felt like communication, communication, communication, we over communicate with our employees, our clients, and our residents. And it really didn’t affect us.

Michael Avent  3:59  

That’s so good that, that experience in 2009. I would imagine that today, you know, not exactly what to do, but you have some experience, you know, I got to communicate with my employees to let them know everything’s okay. And so I talked about in my bio about Pegasus is revolutionizing third party management, how are they doing it? Give me some examples of ways they’re revolutionalizing that side of things of the business.

Lindy Ware  4:25  

I think that what kind of separates us is I think our talents, our creativity. And since we aren’t a big company that 35,000 units are nimbleness and ability to embrace change. We have our associates bring their ideas, whether they’re big or small to the table, we do listen to our employees, we put a lot of questionnaires out we’d ask them a lot, we have a lot of Task Force. We challenge them to take on those ideas and ask them we don’t shy away from failure. We look to outside industry so we do things a little differently to for inspiration and ideas and we have the knowledge to manage any asset in any location and that really because, you know, we’ve done that location or we know anything about that market, I think that we just make it happen. we dive in. And we just do that. And I think the we challenge the status quo. And I think that’s the cornerstone of our company culture. And that’s how we’re able to, I think that’s what our niches and that’s our real revolutionize third party management company.

Michael Avent  5:23  

So awesome. You said some key things there, empowering your employees and bring your ideas to the table. And so talk to me about that, how big is culture to you, and Pegasus Residential? It sounds like you all key in on culture of your company wanting to have a great culture, was that mean to you?

Lindy Ware  5:39  

Well, I think our culture is, you know, we are a numbers driven company. So when I explain people I’m interviewing, I actually say, we’re kind of like the Marines and Google. We got to make your numbers, you got to be a sales origanization, you got to do the leases, and make your budget. But honestly, you got to have fun, you got to be around people that you like. And so those two things together is what we, I would say that’s our culture.

Michael Avent  6:07  

I like that a lot. So when in the acquisition process should asset managers or owners engage with third party manager?

Lindy Ware  6:14  

For me, the sooner the better. For many times, you know, we wish it was a lot earlier, especially in a new deal or development. We’re great at that process. We’ve done it many, many times. Meeting with the architect designers, we, we understand those processes, we want to know everything from the market, to parking lot spaces, to the Smart Lock, the size of the clubhouse now, which is kind of shrinking amenities or processes, floor plans, and we want to get it right from the start. Because if you do that, that equals a faster lease up and higher rent, and we tell them, 12 months, we really want to start, we have a menu of all our services for whatever they want to engage.

Michael Avent  6:55  

Okay, and so what’s the key questions owners can ask potential third party managers to determine whether or not, they’re working with a good manager?

Lindy Ware  7:03  

And I think for us, and I think when they ask people, the proofs in the pudding to me. Case studies, references. How do you source talent? Specifically the property manager, which is the keystone to your success, regional manager? How do you set the rent? What’s the process for that? What do you do? What do you do other than lower rents on a lease up and urban deals. I know this is something for you know, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, what are you dealing with managing fraud? That’s a big thing now? And honestly, digital marketing spend and the results? And what are your technology? What are you using?

Michael Avent  7:42  

So tell me a little more. I haven’t heard a lot of managers mentioned fraud. But tell me a little more. What type of fraudulent things are you saying that we should be aware of?

Lindy Ware  7:52  

I think in the urban markets. And we’re seeing some of the suburban markets, it’s kind of a cottage industry. People are applying for apartments, and moving in under other people’s names. And a lot of technologies now actually look at that more. So you know, we’re showing apartments that people have fake ID, and they’re moving in when it’s not them. And so you can’t evict people the process is longer. It’s really problematic. So you have to get it from the start. So that’s, you know, how, what what technology you use to handle fraud. So it’s a big deal. In Atlanta, we actually, in Houston and Dallas, we’re actually we probably reject almost 50 to 60% of all our applicants, because the fraud.

Michael Avent  8:40  

Really, wow, that’s a higher number than I expected. And so what things can owners be doing to make your job easier? Whether it be communication, something with a budget, making sure funds are available for you? What can they be doing to make your job easier?

Lindy Ware  8:59  

Work in tandem with us communicate with us to understand the long term and short term goals and expectation of the asset. Work with our team on a budget plan, like you said, and, and make sure the owners goals are in line with our ability to run the property in a top notch fashion, and allowing us to hire top talent, and to actually have an excellent resident experience to make sure that’s in the budget. So those are things that would really that makes our job easier.

Michael Avent  9:28  

How have COVID affected your operation? I know you spoke earlier about common spaces shrinking and things like that. How are you all operating around tha? What type of things are you doing, whether it be safety wise, or different ways to show residents units or things like that? How are you adjusting to that?

Lindy Ware  9:48  

Well, we were using a product called rently from even before COVID and that’s something that we can be closed on Sundays. So they can look at and view apartments without ever actually go to the office, they will go online and then go to the actual property and get in. And then we have, of course, protocols to clean those units and all those kinds of things. But, you know, we’ve been doing that actually pre COVID. So it worked out great for us for that we’re doing those things. But you know the protocols are unbelievable that we have now but we have been showing apartments. You know, we did, obviously, we had whatever the governor said, we did stop. But you know, right now, we’re in full force everywhere right now.

Michael Avent  10:34  

And so you being a national company, sounds like different states for handling COVID restrictions differently, does that have a big impact on you? Are you pretty much operating the same no matter where the property is?

Lindy Ware  10:45  

No, every state is different. All the closures different. During COVID, we’re on a call at eight o’clock every day for a long time communicating the different things because there was some, I think everybody’s probably experience all those calls. But it was a lot of confusion, because every state was different. And we had to make sure we did it correctly.

Michael Avent  11:07  

Yeah, that’s complicated. Those logistics was tough. Yeah. So what would you say to owners? Speaking of national company, what would you say to owners who may be a little more skeptical about working with a national third party management firm? Because there’s fears that their property won’t receive the attention that it needs to be successful? What would you say to people who think like that?

Lindy Ware  11:28  

I think that the same thing? And the other answer really case study, references, I think those really, speak volumes, explaining those things so that it’s not going to be a problem. And I think, really, for us, after David bought a property, say in Little Rock, Arkansas, we can still run it. Because we have so much to SOP, the protocols in place, we can still put people that are great salespeople and be able to hire talent in different markets, because that’s what we’re good at. So it hasn’t been a problem at all.

Michael Avent  12:00  

So good. I love the idea. And so I believe the best companies have a vision for the future. What’s the next step for Pegasus residential? Where are they taking it in 5-10 years?

Lindy Ware  12:11  

Well, we have a lot going on for us, Debbie Conley, she will be retiring in the near future. So for us, that’s going to be a change. Yakov, who’s been with us since the beginning of our company, he will be running the property operations. Really big hire we just hired with Bob Keener, he’s going to be our senior VP of business services. And he’s going to be managing the training, recruiting and marketing. And one thing that we did develop this year, and he’ll be managing the innovations departments. We actually rolled out 75 new ideas this year, most all new rollouts and technology that we had. So we had a started department. And so being a head of technology, we have grown properties more efficiently for the clients, and we’re ready for a huge 2021. So right now we are busy.

Michael Avent  13:07  

Let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. 2021 is right around the corner. And I do hope is a big year for you all. And so just to kind of shift the conversation a little bit, I feel like with your your over 30 plus years of experience, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask questions about leadership. You’ve grown in your career sounds like so much knowledge, and especially women in leadership. And so I was curious to understand how you’re in a male dominated industry, and I’m sure whether it be uncomfortable situations, uncomfortable conversations, or some type of hurdles that you face in your career. But tell us a little bit about that. How has the experience been and the things you faced, give listeners a vision of them?

Lindy Ware  13:48  

Well, I’m 63 so it’s been a very long journey. And I’m doing this for a long time. So when I was young, and you know, cuter, I did a lot of travel. We all traveled together and everything that people talked about the 80s 90s you know, probably there’s some true. Do you feel like you got to keep up with the boys. Yeah, but you know, I think, you know, what I did is my numbers on the board, I outwork people outperform them. And honestly, I did have a situation where one of my cohorts who was a man in my position, and I was outperforming them honestly got paid higher. And I had to take some time and straighten that out, and some guts and went to my boss, you know, he did straighten that out, but back then you really had to stand up for yourself.

Michael Avent  14:43  

So speaking of standing up for yourself and straightening things out, what advice would you give to women who may be in that same situation, you know, working just as hard if not harder than their male counterparts, but yet, it seems like the love they’re receiving from the upper management isn’t the same as others in the office. So how would you give advice to keep motivated and keep them going, but also how to get over that hurdle?

Lindy Ware  15:09  

Know your strength. Don’t do anything you would regret. If you think you are better and smarter, you probably are. So performance rules. And people do see that and people want that. I think things are really changing for the better

Michael Avent  15:27  

And so speaking of seeing things changing, what is your vision, hope for women in leadership? And in the future?

Lindy Ware  15:35  

I think I see many more women in the CEO role. And on the future. I really do. I think women are a huge part of multifamily industry. I mean, most of the leasing agents, assistant managers, regional managers, I do see a lot more VPs. And just like any other industry in the around the globe right now, multifamily is slower, but we’re finally moving in that direction. Yeah, I think that we become more diversified in many ways. And I think women bring a lot of different things to the role, I think it’s all about people intuition, and grit. And we nail that. I think, our negotiation skills and listening skills, I think we were actually better at that. I think in 10 years, I think it’s gonna be flip, I’d love to see that I’d like to see more people honestly, in those CEO roles, CEO role, more than the onsite role, so I think that’s probably gonna happen.

Michael Avent  16:29  

And so in your experience, is it has it been more women on site than in the office? 

Lindy Ware  16:38  

It’s kind of gained some ground with males. But mostly, it’s always been the female managers and all the outside people are usually female, and then in the C suite, then the VP senior executives are male. And that’s what’s been going on for years, but it is changing. I do see that changing.

Michael Avent  16:59  

So give multifamily CEOs some advice on how do we make more space for women? And how do we make more space for them at the table as C level positions? What type of things can we be implementing in our organizations to further advance that?

Lindy Ware  17:12  

I think women have a different view and I think they need to see that they can from an angle you may not have thought of. So that would be a good partner for you. They probably do things that are different in multifamily. I think that they’re honestly more diplomatic and empathetic in some ways. It’s a people business. So multi family in the management side, it’s mostly just managing people that is 80% of the job and I think women excel at that and I think they also can make those tough decisions that are necessary.

Michael Avent  17:41  

Definitely I’m a big believer  if you don’t love people, then this isn’t the right industry for you because all it is people. So yeah, I’m with you on that. And so thank you so much for being on the show Lindy. I think you gave a ton of golden nuggets for our listeners. And so how can listeners contact you if they want to work with Pegasus residential or if they want to work with you directly?

Lindy Ware  18:05  

You can certainly reach me on my LinkedIn. We’re very active on LinkedIn, you can check our LinkedIn out, Lindy Ware. And my cell phone and my email, my cell phone 770-289-8656 and my email is LDW@Pegasusresidential.com but best on email and best on LinkedIn.

Michael Avent  18:29  

No you’re good and I’ll make sure all that contact info is included in the show notes for listeners. And Lindy thank you so much for being on the show. I think this was a great conversation that’s gonna just educate everyone who listens to this episode. I really appreciate you taking the time. 

Lindy Ware  18:44  

All right, thank you so much. Thank you, Michael


Hi, my name is Michael Avent. I founded The Multifamily Review in 2020. I’m a Commercial Agent at Northcap Multifamily located in Las Vegas, Nevada. My vision for The Multifamily Review is to be the most trusted resource for all Multifamily Investors and Industry Professionals. We strive to offer the best and most up to date content to our readers and are always open for suggestions. Make sure you sign up to join our newsletter to stay up to date on our latest blog, ebook, and more exclusive content that’s coming your way! The Multifamily Review team and I look forward to building a deeper relationship with you!

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in the Blog or Podcast are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product. It is only intended to provide education about the multifamily industry.

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