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CEO Update: 2016 review & 2017 preview

Written by John Phair, President & CEO

It’s a New Year!

Just a little over three weeks ago, the Holladay Partners’ leadership team met in our Nashville, TN office. It was our opportunity to take a final look at 2016, review our strategy for 2017, and make final budget adjustments for the new year.

First, a quick look back at 2016.

In the 45 days leading up to this meeting, Holladay employees gathered in year-end Christmas celebrations in each of our markets; often the holiday/Holladay spirit mingled with some company news, videos and gift giving.  I had the good fortune, with several of our leaders and partners from Nashville, to attend the first state-wide Holladay Party in Florida. We gathered in Orlando for an evening Christmas party followed by a family day at Disney World. Jacqueline Fermin and her team were great hosts, and they had much to celebrate!

2016 was truly a celebration for all of our Holladay offices, with positive financial results, and strong growth strategies in property management, hospitality, and real estate development.  At the risk of leaving out information from several markets, let me give you some highlights:

  • In Florida, we were faced with a natural disaster: a major sink hole that, in a blink of an eye, closed a key parking structure serving one of our clients’ best medical office buildings. Within hours, and continuing to this day, the whole team was enlisted to get patients, employees and physicians back to work in as normal a fashion as possible, by providing drop off and pick up service, leasing nearby parking spaces, and beginning the arduous planning of a replacement garage; all while keeping our client and all of its tenants happy and in business.  A monumental achievement!
  • We opened our first and second hotels in suburban Chicago, WoodSpring Suites. Both of these hotels are long-term stay hotels and we have a strategy in place to bring 13 more into the Chicago area over in the next few years.  Like our eight other hotels, these are supported by a third party management team; but the design, construction, entitlement, site selection, and furnishings all came out of our Portage office. With other hotels under construction in Indianapolis and Richmond, and several others in various planning stages, the hospitality industry is a big part of our future.
  • Property Management is the life blood of our firm! And they had an exceptional year in both the Indiana and Tennessee offices.  They manage some 25+ offices spread from Louisiana to Florida, and Virginia to Minnesota. Both head offices (South Bend and Nashville) were profitable, quality oriented, and have a strong ethical approach to client services. We want it right by doing it the right way. The new leadership team in Nashville has been outstanding. They are no less outstanding in the Indiana offices as we gear up for substantial expansions and new opportunities throughout their regions.
  • Development ctivity was strong in each of our five key markets in 2016 – South Bend, Portage, Nashville, Indianapolis and Richmond. We completed build to suit warehouses in four markets; acquired land and proceeded with entitlements (zoning, planning, permits, etc.) in virtually all markets; broke ground on our first apartment complex in a while in Downers Grove, IL; put building additions on; completed some 50+ tenant finish projects for either our tenants or our clients’ tenants; and added to our hospitality portfolio. Definitely a very busy year!
  • Holladay Construction Group was involved with the construction of the vast majority of these projects. Meanwhile, having completed over 50 million dollars of construction in 2016 under a new leadership team, they have brought in a strong battalion of excellent managers to assist their growth well into the future.
  • None of this happens without the day-to-day accounting services. From the CFO to accounts payable, they keep track of every penny, lease, contract and often have a critical role to play in the company’s bottom line. Thanks for making us tow the line!
  • The same is is true with day-to-day management – landscaping, engineering, maintenance, insurance, real estate tax payments and all other areas – we are a well-oiled machine with our quality scores being pursued across the board. We differentiate ourselves by our services provided every day, often 24-hours a day.

A couple final notes on this past year.

  • Holladay Properties paid out $112,810 in matching 401k funds to employees
  • Christmas bonuses paid out at year end were a total of $133,000
  • Holladay Properties contributed $1,563,478 to our self-insured health insurance program for employees-employees contributed over $400,000
  • Holladay contributed over $250,000 to many charitable groups or events, including United Way in all our markets. Our first choice in giving is always where our employees are active in their club, church or other civic, non-profit organization.
  • I did not forget to mention the site of our summer gathering – at the Westfield, Indiana Grand Park Event Center (worlds largest indoor soccer facility). It was a spectacular achievement by HCG and HP. It came as a surprise – to me, at least – that shortly after our gathering, the City of Westfield exercised its option to acquire the building…and they did finalize the purchase. So, we are no longer the owner, but we were the creator, designer, and builder, which is something to be mighty proud of!

Now on to 2017:

  • We are staring the year with just a few over the number of employees we had at the beginning of 2016. In 2017, we do expect to see a few more added, steady, but not explosive growth.
  • Our Property Management teams in both key markets – Indiana and Tennessee (and all of the offices reporting there) have both embarked on growth strategies. They are focused in different directions, but both plans come down to a strong service mentality and a quality product. Our goal is to support that side of our business in a very positive way.
  • I have already mentioned the Hospitality division – 11 operating hotels currently in 2017 and two to three more under construction by year end. Development activity will continue its conservative growth, but with three mixed-use type projects in Nashville, South Bend and Indianapolis are planned for 2017 – a very challenging process.
  • Holladay Construction Group has its eye set on its first 100 million dollar year of new construction activity. Much is already in place or underway, and, of course, Holladay Properties is a big part of it.
  • Raising funds to support our growth and development activity will continue to be a challenge. We have already begun to meet all of our banks and capital sources for our annual financial update and loan requests.

But, we cannot forget our base principals.  And we probably do not talk about these enough:

  1. Treat others as you wish them to treat you.
  2. Every position here at Holladay deserves the same respect from all of us. Holladay’s success is not based on one person or one department, but all of us working together.
  3. We are an open door company-do not go home without talking to someone if something is troubling you.

To each one of you, a hearty ‘Thank You’ for a great 2016 – and on to 2017!!

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