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Putting the "Family" in Multifamily

I was in a bad car accident in Atlanta on Monday. A five car pile up on an exit ramp off of I75. As mine was the first car hit, I took the heaviest brunt of the damage. While the car was total loss, I somehow managed to walk away from the accident with whiplash, some nasty bruises and a few slight lacerations. I was extremely lucky.

I called my family in Illinois first to let them know what happened and to get the insurance wheels moving as quickly as possible. But the first call after that was to my dear friend and business partner, Kate Good. I knew Kate could track down some multifamily Atlanta people and get help headed my way. Less than five minutes after I hung up with Kate, my phone rang and it was Tamela Coval, of Rentwiki, getting all the details of my situation, advising me on what hospital I would probably be taken to and promising me she’d meet me there.

I was whisked away in an ambulance and taken to Kennestone hospital, where, true to her word, Tamela was waiting for me when I got back from x-ray. She and her children proceeded to open their home to me with my own bedroom and bathroom. They fed me, picked up my prescriptions and helped me get my flight changed to the next day. Tamela refused to allow me to call a car service and took me to the airport herself, but only after repacking my bags and providing me with a wheeled briefcase of her own.

Knowing Tamela as I do, her behavior didn’t surprise me in the least. She’s one of the most giving people I’ve ever met. But when Tamela and I looked back on my situation, we both remarked on how we probably have several ‘go to’ industry people in cities across the United States.

Our industry isn’t your ‘typical industry’. It’s full of warm, caring wonderful people who have been in it for years and years. People may move from the vendor side to the management company side, but rarely does someone leave our industry entirely. Not that other industries aren’t full of warm and caring people as well, but rarely do you see the kind of warmth and compassion that are the trademarks of most apartment professionals.

In my consulting and speaking business, I see this at the site level on upwards through the management company ranks. Vendors to our business are the same way as the 'other side' of the industry.

As the old Sister Sledge song goes, “We are family.”

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Happy you are ok Lisa and that someone was there right away. Bad enough having accidents in your home town, never mind on the road in somewhat unfamiliar territory. Its super comforting I am sure to have that kind of family around you.

  Jonathan Saar
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Hi Jonathon:

Yep, I was lucky in a lot of ways on Monday, that's for sure. Our industry is definitely a 'family' any way you look at it.


  Lisa Trosien
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I am glad to hear that you made it out okay. I traveled extensively for work at one point and I always stressed about the possibility of being in an accident and not having anyone nearby. I am happy to hear your situation worked out as well as it did.


Zac Ward

  Zachary Ward
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hey Zac!

Thanks for the note. The thought of being in an accident actually never even occurred to me. But I was sure lucky.
We all are, to be in this great 'family business'.


  Lisa Trosien
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LT - I second everyone else's sentiments and am very glad that you are relatively unscathed. Just goes to show you what an amazing network you've built with people and just how it can pay off in unintended ways!

  Tara Smiley
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Thanks, Tara. It was pretty scary, truth be told. But what did amaze me was when Tamela and I started going through all the cities and all the people to whom we've gotten 'connected to' from multifamily. All people we know any of us could call and they'd be there, no matter what. And some of these people are friends we've only met once or twice at conferences but with whom we've shared Tweets, Facebook updates, emails, webinars and more. The social web has really helped bring us all together even more.

Thanks for your note, Tara.


  Lisa Trosien
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I just moved from Atlanta after living there for 7 years. I saw these types of accidents on a daily and few with survivors who walked away as easily as you have. I am glad you are ok!!!!!

  Samantha Keller
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Sorry to hear about your accident, but thank goodness you are OK. That Atlanta traffic is brutal. While I love Atlanta, each time I return, I am reminded of how challenging traffic can be in the city.

I love this industry. It is definitely like an extended family. In challenging times, the friends that I've made in this industry have always been there. Looking even deeper, most of my strongest friendships are with people that I've met through work. All of us joke that once you enter the apartment industry you simply can't leave. I believe the reason for that isn't the job itself, but the relationships built along the way.


  Jared Miller
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Just finished reading your post. I'm glad to read you're ok! What an experience.

Your post really made me stop and think. I never even considered having an accident while on the road for work. Guess I was naive and have been very lucky.

It's encouraging to see how family can turn a bad situation around. Thanks for the reminder on what a great family this industry is

  Wendy Muse
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Your point is so well taken. As we develop these relationships in the industry we come to recognize the people who truly partner with us in good times and bad. In moments when we are scared and in need, that is when we see the true freinds in our lives shine.

Thanks for sharing your story. ~ Michael

  Michael Varick
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