Executive Spotlight: Gary Shaw, Arcadia Management Group

Gary Shaw talks about how he's achieving business efficiencies for his company, Arcadia Management Group.
Gary Shaw

Gary Shaw is the kind of real estate executive you want to bring to a backyard barbecue. He’s a self-deprecating family guy, who jokes that he was “suckered” into buying the Arizona-based commercial management company Arcadia Management Group that his mother, Peggy Burgess, founded when Gary and his brother were just kids. But he’s only kidding, because underneath Shaw’s friendly, frequently laughing demeanor is an executive who is passionate about improving his business—and determined to find smart, efficient ways to do daily work.

Arcadia Management Group’s business model is unique in that the company doesn’t handle property marketing and leasing for its owner clients. Rather, it takes care of everything else: paying mortgages and taxes, collecting rents, property maintenance and cleaning, and a host of other tasks that come along with owning a shopping center, office building or other commercial property.

We recently spoke with Shaw about his business and how he has achieved business efficiencies by adopting new technology solutions.

CPE: How did you get into property management?

Shaw: I literally grew up in property management. My mother was a single parent, and she started Arcadia Management Group. She was in commercial lending and worked for a developer as a controller, and she saw a need in the Phoenix market for a third-party management company.

CPE: What were some of your first jobs?

Shaw: I remember coding bills for her at the age of 12. Later on, I progressed to working in maintenance with my friends while I was in high school, cleaning shops, doing all kinds of stuff. In college, I did a stint in the accounting department—we used a DOS-based system then.

CPE: What was the best workplace advice your mother ever gave you?

Shaw: A thousand different lessons. But one that rings in my ear over and over again is, “A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.” She pushed us to really focus on a task, don’t shortcut, and fully resolve any issue at hand. Go the extra mile. Don’t walk by a piece of trash on the ground if you’re out on site; pick it up.

CPE: When you returned to Arcadia Management Group as an adult, what were some of your goals?

Shaw: I could have bumped along and had a nice salary and a good job for the rest of my life, but that’s not me. I wanted to really push us forward and find new ways to be more efficient. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our business processes. You’re either growing or you’re not—there’s no in between.

CPE: What type of portfolio do you oversee today?

Shaw: Arcadia Management Group is a third-party manager of 197 properties in 11 states, encompassing nearly 9 million square feet of commercial real estate.

CPE: When it comes to technology, what are some of the systems you’ve discovered to aid your business?

Shaw: We’re a Yardi single-solution stack client. In 2013, I realized I was using maybe 1 percent of the software capability that Yardi offered me. Since then, we’ve implemented much of their commercial product suite and been involved in beta testing new products, with great results.

CPE: What are a few examples you can share?

Shaw: Yardi PAYScan and Procure to Pay have been huge time and money savers. We’re a smaller business, so being able to leverage the relationships that Yardi has with companies like Grainger and The Home Depot is tremendously valuable for maintenance and janitorial supplies. The system is set up so the invoices are automatically fed through Yardi PAYScan to the respective properties that the maintenance technicians are buying for, which is a huge efficiency.

The bottom line is that Yardi Procure to Pay will cut about 15 steps out of our process and will save us around $40,000 a year, because this system is so streamlined. It makes procurement a lot easier on us and saves us a ton of money.