Shelton fills a position that was left vacant about six monthsago when Steve Donohue left the company. The new president ofWestern National Property Management says that the Irvine-basedfirm views this as an opportune time to grow its propertymanagement operations because the current market has created "anincreased focus on property operations and trying to grow revenueswhile trimming expenses" on the part of apartment owners.

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Shelton, who is relocating to Southern California from Phoenix,tells GlobeSt.com that the firm will capitalize on its existingpresence in Southern and Northern California and also will look toexpand in the Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas markets via therelationships Shelton has developed in those markets over the past25 years. "We also know that Western National has existing clientsthat have assets in those markets, and there has never been thefocus on expanding the third-party business to those markets thatthere will be now," Shelton says.

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Of the 20,000 units that it manages, Western National owns abouttwo-thirds and manages the remainder for other owners. The companyexpects the growth in its third-party units under management tocome from a number of sources: Owners who have been managing theirown units but realize that they need a professional manager, ownersthat have relied on other third-party managers and are looking fora change, and existing clients of Western National that acquire ordevelop new units. In times like these, Shelton observes, propertyowners look for higher quality managers as well as firms that canprovide a full range of services, such as underwriting andacquisition assistance, financial analysis, consulting, duediligence, property management, renovation and rehabilitation,maintenance, landscaping and other services.

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Shelton adds that Western National sees "a strong nicheopportunity for a strong regional players" like his new firm incompetition against large national property management companies."We have an ability to know the real estate and the people better,"he says. "We're focused on the performance of the real estate, notjust on buying and profitability, which is what tends to happenwhen you reach a certain size."

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Before joining Western National, Shelton served as a regionalpartner of Greystar, where he supervised a portfolio of 26,000units throughout the Western US. He also previously served asregional vice president of Insignia Residential Group, held seniorvice president positions at Koll Management Services andPhoenix-based CBS Investment Realty, and is a past president of theNational Apartment Association.

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Western National Group is a 45-year-old multifamily acquisition,development, construction and property management firm. WesternNational Group is the second largest owner of multifamily housingin Orange County, after the Irvine Co., and is the umbrella overthree separate entities: Western National Realty Advisors, thedevelopment and acquisition arm of the firm; Western NationalProperty Management and Western National Contractors, theconstruction arm.

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