Before the holidays, I had a chance to sit down with Blaise Spitaleri, the 2020 NAA Excellence Award recipient for Certified Apartment Supplier (CAS) of the Year. I wanted to get his perspective on the property management industry and talk about why he believes credentials are important, especially for someone outside the industry.
Blaise is the Business Development Manager at Gemstar Construction & Development, Inc. in Houston, Texas. He studied mathematics and computer programming at Western Connecticut State University and television production at New School of Radio and Television. In addition to his numerous accomplishments including completing the Houston Apartment Association’s (HAA) Lyceum Leadership program and earning HAA’s Rising Star Supplier of the Year award in 2019, Blaise is highly respected by multifamily professionals and is active in the Houston Apartment Association.
Blaise, let’s start with what led you to a career in property management.
I grew up up in the flooring industry — both my grandfather and father were in flooring sales and I followed in their footsteps. When I moved from New York to Texas in 2009, I went to work for Rasa Floors. It was here I was introduced to multifamily and its vast influence across different types of business sectors outside of the property management industry. And, when I accepted a Branch Manager position in Waco, Texas, I really took the plunge into the multifamily universe. It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to share my story.
Why was it so important to get a credential?
When I first started getting involved in different associations, I watched people in my industry earn their CAS, and when I asked them why, they all said it’s the best way to understand the industry we serve. And, they were right. As a supplier, I needed to feel equipped to address my client’s business needs, and it starts with understanding what each workgroup experiences on a daily basis. Earning a CAS was a natural progression in my career and it definitely set me up for success.
How has having a credential helped you in your career?
Being knowledgeable about the industry I serve is a tremendous asset. I have a thorough understanding of how the different groups work – owners, property managers, maintenance, leasing agents, and even residents – and I’m highly respected for the valuable insights and workable solutions I’m able to provide because I took the time to learn their industry.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about earning a credential?
I’m an ambassador for the Houston Apartment Association, and as a captain, I tell people if this is going to be their career and they’re really passionate about it, earning a credential is the next step. The knowledge one gains from earning a credential and getting involved in advocacy will open up doors and take them to the next level – both professionally and financially.
Any other thoughts on what it takes to be successful in this industry?
The connections I’ve made and relationships I’ve fostered through the different associations I’ve been part of has enhanced my career and led me to the job I now have. I’ve made friends for life and am so grateful to be part of this great industry.
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