Back to Blog List

Topics/Previous Posts

Building the Future – Brett Voeltz

Mentorship is a two-way street. That’s how CPM® candidate Brett Voeltz, RPA®, sees the start of career development.

“I’ve always been very lucky to have incredible mentors throughout my career so far,” says Voeltz, who is currently a property manager for Berkeley Partners, where he oversees some 1.2 million square feet of light industrial assets in Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Massachusetts. “I recognize that I don’t know everything, and having mentors to guide you along helps to keep me moving in the right career direction.” 

The 28-year-old wonders aloud about those up-and-comers who complain about more senior property managers not moving on to open opportunities for their own career advancement. “Maybe that’s not what’s holding you back,” he says. “It could be your approach to your career. Advancement is a matter of putting yourself out there and recognizing that you won’t be an EVP by the time you’re 30.”

That dash of humility plus a heaping helping of motivation is a powerful antidote to career stagnation, says Voeltz, who graduated from James Madison University six years ago. Since then, he’s seen his resume blossom with such milestones as Chapter 77 (Northern Virginia) Rookie of the Year, and earning an IREM Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship (both in 2019), as well as his 2020 recognition among IREM’s 30 Under 30. 

But mentorship, he says, isn’t limited to advice from other generations. “I tend to follow Shaniece Sanford,” he says, up to and including taking the young CPM’s former desk when he landed his first post-college job, at Brandywine Realty Trust, after she moved on. “I’ve seen how impactful she is, and I’ve patterned my career path after her. When she was named to the 30 Under 30, I said I need to do that too.”

As is the case with many property managers, his career choice wasn’t something Voeltz always planned to do. In fact, as he was working toward his foreign languages degree, he was recommended by a friend for a job in a firm that managed student housing, and more or less fell into the career. 

“No one expects to get into property management,” he says, “but I loved it, with its great mix of interacting with people and heads-down quiet work.”

Okay, so property management wasn’t a dream since childhood. But what keeps him engaged? “The rewarding thing is when you can connect with tenants and create those relationships,” he says. “That’s impactful for me because you learn to know all these incredible people.” 

But the question for him always was, “What’s beyond the day-to-day? How can I get more involved?” The answer that came back, almost universally, was membership in IREM. Much like Voeltz’s own view on mentorship, a manager early on in his career said that IREM was great for the support and education it provides, as well as for the fact that you get out of it what you put into it. 

Not surprisingly, given the above-mentioned motivation, this advice led to his involvement in local committees and ultimately to the national platform, where Voeltz now serves on the Next Gen Advisory Committee. “Growth isn't linear,” he says. “Once you become a property manager, there are so many directions your career can go, such as project management, development, or asset management. There are so many disciplines that property management touches and so many ways to branch out. The Advisory Board exists in part to help members figure out their career paths.”

He’s also in hot pursuit of the coveted CPM designation, and working through the last rounds of courses - he expects to be certified by the end of the year. 

Of course, no depth or breadth of education could have prepared anyone, young or old, for the events of last year. “We all found ourselves a lot more vulnerable,” he says. “People went a year and a half without necessary services or even the amenities they want as they all focused on trying to make their rent payments.” 

That was the source of some “painful conversations,” he recalls, “especially tough for someone who loves to say yes.” Instead, those talks became an object lesson in “how can we help our tenants get through this.”

The pandemic was also an eye-opener to the future, and Voeltz looks now to answering how he can better integrate “what we have traditionally done, but in a new way. Priorities have shifted, and it’ll be interesting to see how we can integrate some of the practices we started last year.”

Which is a perfect lead-in to talk of the future. In the next five years, Voeltz sees himself expanding both his network and his management skills. After that, asset management or development could be a possible path. Eventually, however, he sees himself using his language and communication skills in international property management, though exactly how he has yet to determine. 

But that’s not his goal. Somewhat counter to youth culture as historically played out in this country, Voeltz sees a lost treasure in senior citizens, and he hopes to recapture that with a long-term plan “when I make my millions,” he jokes. “I’d love to open a center for seniors dedicated to the LGBT+ community.”

Many in the community find themselves without families, often due to ostracization. He sees such a community as a family setting that otherwise doesn’t exist for these seniors, and he notes that models for his dream are operational today and fit for replication. “I’m a senior at heart. I love working with older people . . . and I even love bingo.”

Of course, there is a property management aspect to his dream. But mostly, he says, it all comes back once again to the people.

But isn’t that a prime mover for most property managers? 


“Advancement is a matter of putting yourself out there and recognizing that you won’t be an EVP by the time you’re 30,” says CPM candidate Brett Voeltz.

Leave a Comment

Back to Blog List

Our site uses cookies to improve your visiting experience. Please view our Cookie and Privacy Policy.
Got it