A Grand Rapids real estate and construction executive is moving firms.
Monica Steimle-App has joined Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction as director of property management.
She most recently served as director of community relations at Grand Rapids-based 616 Development.
“I absolutely enjoyed my time with 616, as I very much believe in the idea of community creation, which is what that brand was created around,” Steimle-App said. “I enjoyed learning so many roles, from development, construction and communications. It built me into who I am today.
“I’m very anxious to look at going forward and what’s next and use what I have learned to take and use at a forward-thinking company that’s ready to move forward and expand.”
The conversation to make the move began roughly a month ago, she said, as she began wondering what was next in her career. Around the same time, Rockford wrote a job description in anticipation of the retirement of Terry Burt, who’s leading the Rockford property management team, said Mike Mraz, managing partner of real estate development at Rockford.
Steimle-App and Burt will work together through his retirement transition.
“Monica is an extremely valued member of our community and has established herself as a strategic, hard-working and compassionate leader,” Mraz said. “We are excited to have her represent Rockford, as she continues to work alongside other city leaders in making Grand Rapids an equitable community.”
Property management division
Steimle-App will manage a team of 25 and help Rockford enter a new period of property management.
The firm manages 1.6 million square feet and 266 residential units in Grand Rapids. With its Bridge and Stocking project, the square footage will increase to nearly 2 million, and the firm expects to add 116 residential units by fall 2018.
“This is a strategic step for us to grow,” Mraz said. “Really, as we started having a conversation with Monica, we saw it as a good turning point for all of us: our level of service and quality, as it relates to property management.”
Mraz said some firms are focused on moving from one project to the next, with property management never being a major focus. He said Rockford has focused on implementing a solid groundwork of nuts-and-bolts management, but it now believes it’s time to take property management to the next level, so the firm’s divisions — development, construction and property management — can all work together.
He said the entire Rockford residential portfolio is nearly fully leased.
“As we’re nearly full, we want to focus on tenant retention and ensuring people, especially residents, have a place to call home,” Mraz said. "How a building feels is just as important as how it looks and functions. Our property management team is tasked with bringing soul to our buildings.”
Like Mraz, Steimle-App said many firms move from one project to the next.
“Once you develop and construct, it’s on to the next project,” she said. “That happens with a lot of the groups in the area — it’s just where the excitement is. If you don’t have a strong property management team working closely with the other two, who’s taking care of it? The end consumer is who you’re developing for from the beginning.”
Prior to her years at 616 Development, Steimle-App also worked with Hayman Company.
She has served a number community and business groups, such as the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, Mayor’s Housing Advisory Committee, Grand Rapids Housing Commission, Local First and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.
She holds a real estate license and a B.S. in hospitality and tourism from Grand Valley State University.