Rick Elezi’s interview in the Mann Report
How long have you been in the business?
While in college, I worked as a doorman and handyman fulltime. I worked my way up in the industry, eventually as a property manager for 20 years. I founded R.E.M Residential in 2000.
What made you decide to get into your field?
After a slew of jobs did not find challenging or engaging, my father-in-law persuaded me to try property management. I started on site at The Whitby on W. 45 St. Applying the skills and experience I gained from working in buildings in different capacities come in handy and after six months, I was doing portfolio management.
Who inspires you?
Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles for his work ethic. Peter Hauspurg of Eastern Consolidated for the way he has developed such a successful company with his wife, Daun Paris, and for his impeccable reputation. Finally, my father who pushed me to work since 15 and never settled for less.
What pushes you the next level?
R.E.M.’s hardworking, diligent staff, our clients and our steadfastly loyal friends and family. Knowing with certainty that the sky is the limit for us.
What is the best piece of advice would give to someone starting in the business?
It’s not about just doing the job right but also doing it honestly and with full transparency. If you follow this, there is an opportunity for success. There are thousands of buildings in our great city and they all need management.
What is the hottest deal you have made to date?
When Eastern Consolidated approached us several years ago to manage their properties, we only had five employees. I initially told them I was not sure we would be able to handle their portfolio but that if we did agree to take them on, they could have the utmost confidence that we’d do a thorough job. I found the perfect property manager in Victoria Guzman, we earned their trust and we have exploded (boomed) since then.
If you had to work in a city other than New York, where would it be?