Apartment Mart of Springfield / spotlight
JPM®: Did your dad encourage you to earn your
Chris: One of the values I adopted from my banking
background is being a big believer in continuing education since it benefits both the company and its individuals by continuing to expose them to new ideas and to
other people in the business. That’s one of the reasons I
like IREM so much—you can get out and meet and talk
to people who are not necessarily direct competitors but
who are in the same field and could have an open exchange of ideas.
Grant: I agree. Through IREM courses, I was able to
travel to different cities and meet so many new people.
After my classes each night, I’d get back to my hotel
room and end up having to call my dad because I had a
whole bunch of new ideas that I got from other people
in the classes, which is invaluable.
JPM®: How did the company change once Grant
joined the team?
Chris: Shortly after Grant joined us, we began taking
on properties that we don’t own in order to expand
our company. Prior to that, we’d always only managed
properties that we owned—we either built or purchased
properties and managed them.
One of the reasons I think that Grant and I work together so well is that I focus on the construction and
development side of the business; he takes care of the
management. He manages all the properties we have in
Springfield, which right now is just under one thousand
“Through IREM courses,
I WAS ABLE TO TRAVEL
TO DIFFERENT CITIES
and meet so many new
Grant: And we’ve really grown. When I came in six
years ago we were only at about four hundred units, so
we’ve acquired six hundred more units either through
construction or taking on troubled assets, which has
been a big growth sector for us.
JPM®: Do you feel that being a father-son team is
Grant: I believe it is. What I think I bring to the table
in a father-son business is I am not afraid to challenge
an idea my dad has, whereas other employees might not
question anything. If Dad’s talking informally to me
about something, I might say, “Hey, I don’t know about
that idea.” It goes both ways—he does the same thing
with me—we have a good connection. We don’t have to
worry about feeling that we’ll offend the other.
Chris: I agree with Grant, I think one of the things that
makes it work for us is that we have a healthy respect for
each other’s opinions. I can point to two specific things
that always jump out in my mind as suggestions that
he came up with that I was opposed to, but I let him
talk me into them and they were very successful. Those
two things, early on in the business, gave me a healthy
respect for his opinions. There are times when we disagree, but it’s a healthy disagreement. It’s a good, working relationship for both of us.
JPM®: What do you do during family holidays? Is
it difficult to avoid taking work home with you?
Grant: It is.
Chris: We take a little grief from the rest of the family
members when we sit down at a family dinner and start
talking business. It happens. It’s inevitable, but we try to
keep that to a minimum.
Grant: I had a hope, a long time ago, even when I was
in school that some day we would work together, but
the timing wasn’t right at the time. So I went into my
computer science career and—
Chris: Grant and I used to joke that someday we’d want
to be in business together. It was actually something we
talked about when he was younger.