Mike Lanning from US Asset Services Talks About Property Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The HL Restoration Impacting Midwest Industries vlog series is where our very own Steve Tutt speaks with our industry partners and others about what they do, their passions, and the great things they are doing in the Midwest, all while having a little bit of fun! Check out the rest of our videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Steve Tutt: Welcome back to HL Restorations Impacting Midwest Industries. Today we have in the studio, Mike Lanning with US Asset Services. Thanks for joining me, Mike. Now, Mike, you are the Senior Managing Principal for U.S. Asset Services

I want to know a little bit about it because I follow you on LinkedIn and Facebook, and I hear a lot about you through other commercial property managers about what you’ve done and thumbs up to you. You’ve had a wonderful career it looks like.

About Mike Lanning and US Asset Services

Mike Lanning: So I’ve been doing this now for 35 years, which is a long time. I guess you could tell from my gray hair. I started in this business by chance versus by choice. After finishing at the University of Nebraska, I was born and raised in Omaha, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career. 

So a friend of my father’s owned a commercial real estate company in Kansas City and said, “Hey, we’ve got an assistant property manager position available here in Kansas City, I’d like you to come down and talk to our Director of Property Management and see if it might be a good fit for you.” 

So I did and got offered the job and worked there for about two and a half years. Then the person that I worked for, she went on to be the Director of Property Management, so she hired me over there. That was a long career where I worked for them for 25 years in various local, regional, and national roles. 

Then I had an opportunity and got recruited over by Cushman and Wakefield, and I was there for five years. Then I had a chance to launch my own company just over two years ago and celebrated our two year anniversary back in May. We have a great company, and we’re very excited about what we do.

ST: Tell us what you brought them. Tell us a little bit about U.S. Asset Services. I know a lot of people have certain niches, what is U.S. Asset Services, and how are they impacting Midwest industries?

ML: So, when we started this company, one of our largest clients is the developer of government-leased facilities around the country. Specifically, what they’ve been doing over the last few years is developing Veterans Administration clinics throughout the country, and we have developed a niche, and about 80% of our portfolio is government-leased properties. We’re focused on this client, but we’ve also expanded our business. 

We’ve got multiple owners now that own these government-leased facilities all over the country, so we’re managing properties right now in 12 states, about a $700 million portfolio in total. In fact, that client that I referenced, they are in the process right now of building nine new Veterans Administration clinics, about another $700 million in asset value. 

Once those properties get fully completed, they come into our portfolio, and we provide property management services to those buildings.

How US Asset Services Has Dealt with COVID-19

ST: Okay, that’s great. We’ve not had anyone on the commercial property management or real estate side that has that type of a niche. So with that being said, what’s different with that niche when it comes to this pandemic that we’re going through with COVID-19 and how are they approaching it? How are you approaching things with your clients?

ML: So these are higher-end office buildings and higher-end medical office buildings. When you’re dealing with different agencies, they’ve had different protocols over the last four months. With these Veterans Administration clinics, it’s been business as usual, and they serve the veterans for their healthcare needs, and they’ve been coming in frequently. 

So we’ve got teams that are on-site at these different facilities. We also have other government agency buildings where either some of their employees have been furloughed during this downtime, and some have been working from home. 

So it’s really been a mix, and we’re just wondering what this is going to look like going forward in the future. But it’s just interesting to see the buildings that we’re managing on a daily basis that still have people are coming in, versus these buildings that are not well occupied right now.

ST: Now, do you see a trend in the good of people coming back to work?

ML: Some of these government agencies that we’re working with have developed a plan right now as they come back. Some are coming back in the next 30 days, some are restaging their comeback. There’s one agency that we work with, they’re not going to be back into their facility until January 1 of 2021, so I would say over the next six months, we’re going to see the staged returns to their properties that they occupy.

ST: Tell me a little bit more about that because, like I said, I call on a lot of people in this industry or in this typical or the commercial real estate industry, and they say nothing but good things about you. Tell me a little bit about The Institute of Real Estate Management. Tell us a little bit about the association and how you got involved in that.

ML: Yeah, so since I decided to make a career in commercial real estate, and I was on the property management side, I pursued a professional designation through The Institute of Real Estate Management, which is called the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation. 

So it’s a series of classes, and it’s almost like getting your MBA in property management. So it started with them, and after I got my CPM designation in the late 90s, I was introduced to the chapter here in Kansas City. They invited me to join their Board of Directors, so I worked my way up and was the president of the local chapter in 2002. 

Then I had an opportunity to move up and be a Regional Vice President for that organization, and then I was asked to move up in various national roles as an Executive Committee Member, as a Senior Vice President, and then as an Officer. Eventually, that led to me being the International President in 2017.

ST: I’ve been at HL Restoration for a year now, and we go to the luncheons, and we’re very involved with the association. I think it’s a great association, you guys do some great things.

ML: We’ve educated the industry. We want to be relevant to everything that is in the property management industry and the commercial real estate industry. 

So, it’s fun to network with people here locally and also when we get together for national conferences, and unfortunately, that hasn’t happened since our national conference has been postponed for this year, but The Institute of Real Estate Management has 80 chapters throughout the U.S., and they’ve got chapters in 14 different countries. 

So in 2017, it was just a phenomenal experience to be able to travel to a lot of those chapters, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. It’ll be a year that I’ll never forget.

ST: Well, I love the association, and I plan on being part of it. So great. I’m going to switch gears a little bit, and I’m going to ask you because I’m a big sports fanatic, Mike, and I know you come from Omaha, Nebraska. I probably know the answer to this when it comes to football, but who’s your favorite football college football team?

ML: You know, that would have to be the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Unfortunately, they have not fared very well over the last few years, but the women have won the national championship three times in the 90s and two times in the 70s, so we’re hoping we get to circle back around to that.

ST: Now, I’ll let you get by with that answer as long as the next answer is what I’m hoping for. Who’s your favorite NFL football team? 

ML: I think you’ve got a Chiefs flag up there, and the world champions are my hometown team.

ST: I have a question for you when it comes to you and your wife. When you guys go out to eat, what is your favorite place to eat, and what is your favorite movie ever?

ML: You know this is such a barbecue town, and I love barbecue. With all the barbecue restaurants that are in this town, do you know how many barbecue restaurants there are in Kansas City?

ST: I know there’s a lot, I’m going to go with 60

ML: Well, actually, a number that was recently published is 108. So I tell people from outside of the city that there is no such thing as bad barbecue in Kansas City. There’s just some that are better than others. But my favorite is Q39. There’s no other barbecue restaurant in town that can compare to Q39.

ST: Yeah, see, I differ a little bit in that because their pulled pork is excellent, but there are other places like Famous Dave’s, and I love they’re pulled chicken. My wife and I argue all the time about the different barbecue restaurants, but now that I know there’s 108 of them, I may have to do a little checklist to take my wife out each weekend, and we’ll go to a different one. What is your favorite movie of all time?

ML: I’m a golfer, and I like crazy humor. I think Caddyshack has to be my favorite movie. I think that is a very, very funny movie.

ST: It’s funny you mentioned golf because I think I’ve played more golf this year than I have my entire life just because of COVID-19. Everybody wants to be social distancing, and they can do it on the golf course.

They don’t want to do happy hour lunch, but they’ll go out and play some golf, so I’ve actually gotten a little bit better, but I stink at golf. Alright, so here’s some funny questions for you. What is the worst smell you’ve ever smelled?

ML: From time to time, we are up on roofs, and they’re getting new roofs put on, and it could be a hot day and thank God I’m not a roofer because it does not look like much fun. But I think that hot tar smell on a hot day, that smell is not very pleasant.

ST: Is a hot dog sandwich? 

ML: I’ve never been asked that question before, but I think a hot dog would probably be classified as a sandwich.

ST: What is something that is popular now, but in five years, everyone will look back and on and be embarrassed by? You know, the kids are all into this TikTok. 

ML: Yeah, my kids brought me in a little bit onto that, but if I pulled out my phone, you would not see TikTok on there. But I think that’s something that people will look back on in five years and say, “What were you thinking? What were we doing?”

ST: Well, thank you, Mike, for coming in. I’m going to go ahead and put your information up on the screen if that’s okay with you. Put your website, and then your contact information for the people who want to reach out to you ask any questions. But again, thank you for coming on the show, we really appreciate it. Until next time, guys, we’ll talk to you soon.

If you would like to see more interviews from our Impacting Midwest Industries video series, then visit our YouTube channel! HL Restoration specializes in disaster recovery and property restoration. Learn more about us today!