Published September 20, 2005
Volume 13, Number 9

Julie Remy Comes Full Circle As She Returns to Hacienda

By Jay Hipps

When it comes to choosing one’s career, it is often very interesting to hear about the experiences that go into making that decision. Sometimes, there is a straightforward path between one’s interests and a career. More often, the careers we choose are based on a variety of interests and experiences, leavened generously with what some would put down to luck or good fortune.

Julie RemyFor Julie Remy, senior property manager overseeing Harsch Investment Properties’ many facilities in Hacienda, both of her parents had a significant role in providing her with the experiences that led to her chosen career. However, it’s likely that none of them recognized that was happening at the time.

“My parents had three daughters and I was the youngest. I was supposed to be a boy and I was not, but I think my dad kept me as a boy,” she says. “He treated me like a boy—I went to the dump with him, I got firewood with him, I did all those things. And although he has never worked in construction, he’s that type—always adding onto our house, remodeling this, remodeling that, and I was always fascinated with all the work he would do. I would watch him all day long and just pay attention to it.”

The affinity for construction she discovered at an early age has blossomed in her decade in property management. “Seeing commercial buildings built and how they improve the interior space and how the HVAC works and watching them put up walls and recarpet and all those things, I love that part. Construction management is my favorite part of the job.”

As for her mother, that influence was a bit more direct but was also not intended as guidance for a future career. Remy grew up in Pleasanton—she speaks admirably about the construction of Stoneridge Mall and Hacienda—and entered the workforce at Wherehouse Records in the mall. She quickly became a store manager but soon decided that she would rather work in an office so that she could have weekends and holidays off. She was hired to an administrative job with Panasonic, then located in a development in Hacienda, and found that the work came to her easily. There were limited opportunities for advancement, however—it was a sales office and she had no interest in sales as a career. In scanning through the want ads one day, she found a listing for an administrative position with a property management company in the park, CB Richard Ellis (then CB Commercial). Her mother had a bit of property management experience and that was enough to get Remy to apply for the job. She will always be glad she did.

“I was hired as an administrative assistant for retail and office properties and I thought, ‘This is it! This is easy for me, this is what I want to do.’”

She was fortunate to have Judy Yemma, a long-time property manager in Hacienda and the Tri-Valley and her supervisor at the firm, take her under her wing. “Judy became quite a mentor for me,” says Remy. “She encouraged me to get my real estate license and pursue the career, because she thought that I had a lot of potential. So I did that—I went to classes and obtained my real estate salesperson’s license for California and CB Richard Ellis offered me a lot of opportunity. I was in the right place at the right time in a lot of instances. It was the mid-90’s and it was booming.”

The firm took over the management of several properties, both existing and new, and, as a neophyte property manager, Remy was both overwhelmed and enthralled with her new responsibilities.

“It was the strongest on-the-job training you can ever imagine,” she says. “We were getting all these management contracts and I really got thrown in the hard way, saying ‘Here, handle all this,’ and I said I could do it and I did it but there were countless hours and days spent trying to figure things out. I’d walk out at the end of the day saying, ‘I’m going to quit—I can’t handle this,’ and then come back the next day saying, ‘I think I can handle this.’ Eventually things got easier and I did really well there.”

After seven years with CB Richard Ellis and three more with regional developers and property managers Reynolds & Brown, Remy is at the top of her game at Harsch. She’s taken on leasing and marketing responsibilities and has a firm grip on the building operations and accounting portions of her job.

“It takes a certain type of person to succeed in property management,” she says. “It takes a customer service type of person to really cater to the tenants and their needs and to be friendly and happy to serve them. They are my customers and I’ve made a lot of friendships and relationships with my tenants. I move away from a property and I keep in touch with a lot of them. It also takes some authority in dealing with the vendors and staying on top of contracts and people that work for you. And then it also takes a lot of skills in computers and accounting and your budgeting processes. So it takes a unique person to have all those qualities. Typically you’ll have a back office person and a customer service person but you have to put both of those together in property management. It’s an interesting career.”

While those talents might be difficult for many to master, the combination comes easily for Remy.
“The workload is easy for me I think because of my math and computer skills and my multi-tasking. That’s the biggest challenge in property management—you’re knee-deep in an annual operating budget and you’re just grinding your numbers and a pipe breaks at a building and you have to drop everything and switch hats and go deal with that. It’s an interesting dynamic in going to deal with a tenant versus dealing with accounting and your budgeting process, so the ability to multitask is very important and I’m very good at it.”

For a person with a wide variety of skills, interests, and abilities, it’s important to find a career that allows the expression of each of those talents. Remy has found a great fit in her field.

“I do not enjoy mundane tasks, I do not like repetitive tasks, and even though there are things that you have to do on a regular basis, nothing is ever routine in property management. You just never know what the next day might bring you. It’s a little more exciting.

“A lot of it is project based so you’re working on different projects all the time. You do construction projects, you do landscape projects, re-roofing projects, marketing, leasing, working with brokers. There’s just such a variety, it really is nice.”

Remy’s return to Hacienda is bringing her full circle, back to the place where she started her real estate career. There’s an added element to it as well.

“When I started working for Panasonic as an administrative assistant, my office was in Hacienda, as I mentioned,” she says. “Now I’m here with Harsch Investment Properties and they’re acquiring that very complex and I will now be managing it. I started there in my first admin job and I’m now coming back around to be managing the property.”

In retrospect, it’s unlikely that Remy’s father knew he was shaping his daughter’s career when she watched him work on a remodeling project or that her mother knew that she would someday follow in her footsteps. Remy herself would never have guessed that she would return to the site of her first office job, this time as manager of the facility. Even without a career master plan, though, all those things have happened and everything seems to be turning out just fine.


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