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As our property management division continues to expand, we have the pleasure of bringing on more talent. Join us in welcoming the newest member of our team, Bethany Lewis!

Bethany will be working directly with property managers Shelby Smith and Mike Arnold to oversee various properties around the Huntsville and Madison area. She has years of industry experience and can’t wait to get started.

Recently, we sat down with Bethany to learn more about her background and what she loves about property management.

How long have you been working in property management?

Altogether, I have 22 years of experience. Three of those I spent in residential management—multi-family—and I even sold real estate myself for a little while. But I began in property management for commercial assets back in 1996.

Throughout my career, I have managed office, industrial, and retail properties at big and small companies. It has been great to work with all types of businesses and people and I’m ready to take that experience and use it to benefit clients at Crunkleton.

What is your educational background?

Believe it or not, I always wanted to be a doctor. But life had other plans. I ended up earning a degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University. When I graduated, I knew I didn’t want to do social work for a living and I was no longer on the doctor track, so I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

I visited a career center to help me figure it out. They came to me with three options and told me I could choose the one I wanted because, if they liked me, I’d have a permanent position at the end of 90 days. I chose an administrative assistant job at a commercial real estate firm in Nashville and that is how I fell in love with the business.

I was promoted to assistant property manager after a year and a half and eventually became property manager. It afforded me many different experiences that got me excited about a career in property management.

What do you enjoy most about property management?

If you look at a property and name all of the bits and parts that it takes to make it run well, you’ll notice it’s like a living organism. You have to properly care for its mechanics to make sure it protects, provides comfort, and works well for its users.

My favorite part of the job is being presented with problems that I get to solve—and I always look at it like I’m a doctor trying to diagnose an issue. Is it a mechanical system that is broken? Something else? Property management gives me continuous opportunities to learn. It keeps me challenged.

I’m also an entrepreneur at heart, so I enjoy getting to work with people who are just starting their businesses. Hearing their passion for their new shop, restaurant, or company is a joy.

What is the greatest challenge you face on the job?

There may be an issue I want to fix right away but it takes time to make it happen. Sometimes you can’t make immediate progress because repairs have to be made or people have to be contacted. I like delivering instant results to clients and sometimes it’s not doable. But what I can do is focus on communication between tenants, vendors, and anyone else involved to make sure things get done quickly and efficiently as possible. Every repair or issue is handled as a collaboration.

What are some traits or skills you believe are important for a property manager?

First and foremost, you need to be a people person. There are lots of things you can do from your desk, but the important work happens when you’re physically at the property talking to tenants and vendors.

You also need to realize what you are doing is important. You’re protecting people’s investments and companies. There’s a lot of responsibility in that and it needs to be taken seriously.

How did you hear about Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate?

Huntsville is a larger city that maintains its small-town vibe. It’s easy to recognize local commercial real estate companies and Crunkleton was one I was already familiar with. One thing that caught my eye was the weekly blogs. Highlighting clients and continuing a relationship far past the lease signing were things I always found important.

When I heard they were looking for another property manager I jumped at the opportunity.

What are some things you enjoy doing outside of the office?

I love spending time with my family; I have three children. Cooking and baking are also passions of mine. I mostly live a plant-based lifestyle, so I’m constantly coming up with new creations that support it.

Reading is also a big pastime for me—mystery novels. My husband and I also like to travel and we had one of the best trips last year. We flew to San Francisco to pick up a new car and drove it back to Huntsville. I’d recommend a drive on Route 66 to anyone.

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