For a decade, Kelly Maas has been exceeding everyone’s expectations at York, Pa.-based Investment Real Estate, LLC (IRE), as the property manager of Moove In Self Storage in Finksburg, Md. Throughout that time, she’s received a promotion to senior property manager and earned about a dozen company-wide awards, including three in 2022. This year she adds second runner-up ofMessenger’s2023 Manager of the Year contest to her long list of honors and achievements!
With extensive customer service experience, Maas was originally hired to manage a self-storage facility that just couldn’t seem to reach stabilization. When she stepped in as property manager and took ownership of the site, it finally surpassed its lease-up projections.
“The property struggled for several years to reach its milestones until Kelly provided her magic touch,” says Shaun Levy, IRE’s vice president of operations. “She shines and so does the property.”
In truth, Maas was so good at renting units that she ended up with a waiting list of customers who wanted to rent units at the facility. To meet growing demand, an expansion was planned to nearly double the unit count.
“During the construction, she also served as a ‘pseudo’ project manager as she was able to give input and insight daily to the construction team to enhance the expansion project itself,” Levy says.
Thanks to her waiting list, those new temperature-controlled units were filled the moment they became available. The facility consistently remains more than 90 percent occupied because of her passionate management style.
Although Maas humbly states that the facility’s in-demand features (the only temperature-controlled units in the area) and prime location (right off the highway in a high-traffic area of Finksburg) enable the units to practically rent themselves, her five-star Google reviews and numerous repeat customers speak volumes about her personality and proficiency as a property manager. Her tenants most often describe her as awesome, helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable, and she’s known to go above and beyond for each customer.
“Kelly has found a way to expertly hold the needs of the business and the pleasantries of customer service in the same regard and has found a happy medium on many occasions. She represents all of our fundaments,” adds Levy, who calls Maas dedicated, diligent, and thorough. “She really is a pleasure to work with.”
All her colleagues agree with Levy, so they regularly contact Maas when they need assistance with the property management system, advice on customer service challenges, or guidance during special circumstances. She’s also a “trusted trainer” within their organization. Maas has trained around a half dozen new hires and provided input that was instrumental in improving the company’s training program.
Since mentoring is her preferred activity, and she loves watching managers grow, learn, understand procedures, and reach goals, she makes herself available to anyone at any time. In fact, Maas is so willing to offer guidance and “share the why” that she actually purchased a wireless, hands-free Bluetooth earpiece in order to help other managers no matter what duties need to be done at her facility. She’s often on a call while pulling weeds, picking up trash, or cleaning the property.
“She continues to be a mentor for both new and seasoned managers, along with voluntarily coordinating group training sessions on topics that can, and do, benefit managers across our portfolio,” Levy says, adding that Maas has also helped transition new acquisitions into the Moove In Self Storage portfolio.
Assisting with the rebranding of acquired facilities is another aspect of her job that she greatly enjoys. “It’s so fun,” says Maas, who calls the process of getting a property ready to reopen chaotic but rewarding. She has been involved with six of those transformations and loves seeing the “beautiful” end results. She also revels in “learning a different side of the industry and the company.”
As for the management side of self-storage, she has that down pat, which is why IRE named her the company’s most valuable property manager in 2022. “We award this moniker to the person who averages ranking the highest in our eight company-wide recognition categories,” says Levy. “Those include highest autopay, highest insurance, highest average unit occupancy, most net rentals, highest unsold unit percentage, earned five-star Google reviews, and the culture award … Kelly not only averaged ranking the highest, but there was also no other manager even close to her average score, making her the landslide winner of this esteemed award.”
Maas was honored with two other company-wide awards last year for having the lowest delinquency rate and best representing the company’s culture. The lowest delinquency award was earned for retaining the lowest delinquency rate in the company for the entire year. She managed to keep the Finksburg location’s rate below one percent by making collection calls, informing delinquent tenants of the payment options, signing tenants up for autopay, and working with past-due tenants to settle their debts.
The culture award was given to Maas because she “lives by and demonstrates” IRE’s fundamentals every day. “Kelly earned this award for being the person who received the most kudos from her colleagues and supervisors,” Levy says, “along with being the person who had the most engagement herself with the app in which she provided kudos to those deserving of it.”
Of this recognition, Maas simply expresses her fondness for the company, its “do-the-right-thing” culture, and self-storage. “It’s such an honor to be ‘part of the herd!’”
Erica Shatzer is the editor of Modern Storage Media.