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Oxford Companies

210 South Fifth Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Jeff Hauptman on growing quickly and manging it properly

Oxford Companies has taken a couple of huge strides in recent years to become one of the largest landlords in the Ann Arbor area. But the Ann Arbor-based company is taking it all in stride because it’s focused on managing that growth, perfecting its operations slowly over time.

"We have been scaling up our holdings for a long time," says Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies.

The property-management company has become a big player in both the residential and commercial areas. It acquired the Northeast Corporate Center last year, a 220,000-square-foot commercial space near Plymouth and Green roads. It was the company's largest acquisition to date. It now manages 1.3 million square feet of commercial space.

The 16-year-old firm also purchased the Arch Realty portfolio of off-campus student housing near the University of Michigan in 2012. It has folded those properties into its operations, upgrading the buildings and improving relations with tenants. It now controls 2 million square feet of residential space. Oxford Companies is also managing other landlords properties, but has become picky about who it takes on as a customer.

"We have been moving toward landlords who are more tenant-oriented and interested in upgrading their properties," Hauptman says.

It's part of an evolving company culture that is becoming more and more focused on customer service. The bigger Oxford Companies becomes the more Hauptman wants it to stay focused on the everyday people using its buildings.

"We want to be more customer-oriented," Hauptman says. "Even in a transitory market, students desire good housing. We think it’s a better model in the long run."

A lot of work and investments go into turning this belief into a reality. The firm puts a lot of time and resources into training its new hires so they become better focused on customer service and what is expected of them in their new roles.

"It helps to make ourselves more efficient but it also helps lower the stress level on people," Hauptman says. "It's part of what makes Oxford Companies a great place to work."

He adds then when big acquisitions come up, he doesn't worry about whether or not it will cause ripples in the company.

"I know my people can handle it," Hauptman says.

One of the company's newest hires is also focused on making that happen. Oxford Companies recently hired a new COO to help streamline the larger company and make it more efficient.

"We brought him in because we are constantly looking for ways to improve our systems and culture," Hauptman says.

- Written by Jon Zemke

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