Executive Spotlight: Josh Champion, Carroll Organization

Since joining the Carroll Organization three years ago, Josh Champion has dived headfirst into the task of growing its multi-family investment portfolio, now valued at more than $1 billion.
Josh Champion

Josh Champion considers himself a student of the real estate business. Since joining the Carroll Organization three years ago, his learning has kicked into a higher gear.

Diving headfirst into the task of growing Carroll’s multi-family investment portfolio at a fast and furious pace, the president of investments oversaw 22 transactions in 2013, valued at more than $1 billion. The acquisitions included the largest single-asset apartment purchase in Florida history, at $225 million for The Resort at Pembroke Pines.

In 2014, Carroll took off out of the gate, with four multi-family deals closed as of the end of May and several others under contract . The growing company has been focused on expanding its portfolio in Florida, where all four purchases are located. Champion told us it will next set out to acquire in Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver.

CPE talked to Champion about his success as a young executive—he’s just 30—at a growing firm. He started his career as an intern at CBRE Group Inc., then spent five years at Prudential Mortgage Capital. He’s been with the Carroll Organization since 2011.

CPE: The Carroll Organization changed its focus to multi-family ownership and management in 2011. What differentiates the company?

Champion:  Carroll Organization is a high-energy, younger company with a lot of strategic and smart growth. We’re striving to be one of the premier owner-operators in the multi-family business. Our market is primarily in the Southeast, including Texas and Florida, and we currently own 40 assets.

Our company and our employees have a tremendous work ethic and drive for success. That directly correlates to the quality and performance of our investments. We’re a relatively young company, so we’re always looking to grow our reputation and brand.

CPE: What do you think makes you stand out personally?

Champion: I’m a student of anything I do. I am always trying to learn more about our industry and spread that knowledge into my day-to-day activities and our transactions. I think one thing that sets me apart is what I call the “hustle factor.”  We like to outhustle our competition, and that includes not only putting in longer hours and waking up in a three-point stance, we want to be more knowledgeable, operate at a higher level, find better investments and make more money for our partners and investors.

CPE: What have been the highlights as you work to acquire a robust portfolio?

Champion: 2013 was a great year. In 2011, we bought four properties, in 2012 we purchased 10 properties, and last year we purchased 22 properties. I’m proud of the growth trajectory that we’ve had here and the path we’ve laid out for our company’s success.

CPE: What’s next for the company?

Champion: Our goals are to continue to be as active as we have been in the investment space, both with smart and strategic acquisitions as well as dispositions this year. We’ve sold one property already, our first realization, and we will probably sell a few more this year. Next on our path is expanding into a few new markets. Our target markets are Dallas and the Southwest—specifically Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver.

CPE: Can you describe yourself in five words?

Champion: I am loyal and passionate.

CPE: What inspires you?

Champion: My greatest inspiration is helping others succeed. Whether that is people I work with or work for, kids that I coach, young adults that I mentor, or friends and family, I think that is my true inspiration.

The people that set me originally on the right path were my parents. They always stressed the importance of education, setting goals and having good values. I think that in turn set me up for success through college and into my career today.

CPE: What got you interested in real estate?

Champion: Even in high school and college, anywhere I was driving past, I’d think about who owned the buildings, who built them, how much did it cost, what’s the strategy with owning this property here or that office building there. I was so inquisitive about real estate in general that it just pushed me in that direction.

CPE: If not real estate, what would you like to do?

Champion: I’d be coaching baseball. I coach in my spare time, youth baseball for 11 and 12 year olds. I’ve been doing it for six years.  During the spring season, it’s a four-day-a-week commitment. I think if I wasn’t in real estate and pursued something I loved, I’d be a coach.

CPE: What does that experience lend to your professional life?

Champion: Coaching 11 and 12 year olds, you learn patience.  It helps guide your leadership skills and really instills in you the value of others’ success and helping others to succeed, whether that’s on the baseball field in the office or in your personal life.