Rising Talent in Property Management: An Interview with Tony Johnson

Last modified on September 1st, 2021

Tony (Anthony) Johnson, CAM, CAPS, is a Regional Director for Henssler Property Management based at Lockheed Square Apartments in Kennesaw, Ga.

He joined the apartment industry in May 2016 and has made quite a successful career out of it already. This year, he was honored by the National Apartment Association (NAA) as a recipient of the “20 in Their Twenties” awards program, which salutes young and accomplished property management professionals and awards them with registration to the big event – Aug. 31-Sept 2 in Chicago.

An AppFolio user, Johnson became a property manager in November 2016 after starting his career at Henssler as an internal accounting intern. At that time, he was tasked with posting rental payments and processing invoices for the company along with a few other accounting functions and tasks.

Henssler Property Management has 15 multifamily properties comprising 2,500 units ranging from B to A+ in Georgia and Alabama. Its single-family portfolio comprises 100 properties in metro Atlanta. 

Johnson supervises three multifamily properties, its entire single-family portfolio, and 50 apartment homes in Kennesaw and Marietta.

We spoke with Johnson about his career, his advice to other young property management professionals, attending Apartmentalize later this month, and how AppFolio has simplified his daily onsite work.

Q: You’ve had an impressive climb within your company. Tell us a bit more about it.

Tony: In November 2016 I moved into a permanent property accountant position where I helped to prepare all financial and accounting documents for approximately 2,000 apartment homes. Shortly after being promoted to the full-time property accountant, I started working as a Property Manager for our single-family and multifamily properties in the greater Atlanta area. I held that position for almost two years before being promoted to Regional Director. This position allowed me to continue managing all of the single-family and multifamily property management from my previous position and added IT administration for our property software, a small role in accounting, and supervising four multifamily communities in the Southeast.

Q: How exciting was it to be chosen for a “20 in their Twenties” award by NAA?

Tony: It was and is an incredible honor. Being given the opportunity to learn and grow in this industry has been amazing. To me, the most exciting part has been having the opportunity to virtually meet with other “20 in their Twenties” professionals and other industry leaders across the nation. The NAA’s mentor program through the “20’s” award has given me the opportunity to learn from someone with a wealth of experience, and it has given me insight from some of the greatest minds in the industry during the past few months.

Q: What advice would you give to young professionals who are looking to make their marks in property management?

Tony: Find your passion and work hard toward your goals. I was very fortunate to find a company where my team has a similar passion for the housing industry and has potential for upward mobility. I work hard every day to learn and understand as much as I can about the industry and to better myself and increase my knowledge base. My passion for the housing industry drives my work ethic. One of my goals was to gain a designation through NAA’s “Certified Apartment Manager” and “Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor” programs. Earning both designations has helped me to turn my passion into knowledge and to turn that knowledge into results at the property level. I highly recommend these programs for those looking to better themselves in the housing industry.

Q: How did you become interested in a job in property management?

Tony: I’ve always been interested in problem-solving and helping people. After seeing the ins and outs of operations, I was captivated by how our property managers could make an impact on people’s lives, for the better, through their daily operations. As a property manager, we get the opportunity to help provide people with a home. While it is one of the most basic needs, it is one of the most important. Being able to be part of an industry that provides homes for millions of people nationwide was an opportunity too great to pass up.

Q: Have you attended Apartmentalize before? What do you hope to learn there?

Tony: I attended Apartmentalize in Denver in 2019 and the Virtual Apartmentalize in 2020. Both were wonderful experiences and I highly recommend the event to anyone who might be interested. I love learning about the housing market and hope to learn a lot from a broad geographic spectrum of markets – more than just the Southeast where we mainly manage. I also like to learn about industry innovations such as new technology or new practices that have been effective in other markets. It is an incredible opportunity to learn from other Presidents, CEOs, and other Regional Directors and Property Managers to see what is working for them and how it can work for our team. I also tend to make quite a few contacts with new vendors, contractors, communities, etc. You never know what sort of projects you’ll be working on in the future and having additional contacts can be quite helpful.

Q: How long have you used AppFolio?

Tony: I have been using AppFolio since 2016; our company has been using AppFolio since 2014.

Q: What does AppFolio enable you to do differently or better to be a more effective employee?

AppFolio is very user-friendly and the customization options for reporting are fantastic. Its user-friendly platform makes both accounting and management functions, well – easy to use. The platform is laid out in an appealing format that focuses on making every function simple for beginners and experts alike. As someone who uses AppFolio daily, I thoroughly appreciate how quickly and easily I can switch from property manager functions to accounting functions seamlessly.

Good Luck. And have fun in Chicago!


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