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AUSTIN, TX-William F. Barkwell has joined Campus Advantage as chief operating officer. The former Ambling Companies Inc. executive is taking over the job from company founder Gary Gibson, who transitioned out of the position in early 2008.

Barkwell is responsible for general oversight of daily operations, marketing and leasing of Campus Advantages’ student housing assets. Barkwell is also working with the company to expand in two areas.

“First of all, we’ll continue to expand our presence in the market,” he says. “As the economy changes, we’ll have the opportunity to take on third-party management of different properties, step in, and make them successful for the clients.” Barkwell says the second area of expansion will involve a move into more development consultation and potential acquisition.

In his position as president with Valdosta, GA-based Ambling Companies Barkwell had responsibility for more than 25,000 beds of student housing as well as 18,000 units of conventional and tax-credit housing. He tells GlobeSt.com that his 28 years of experience in real estate, as well as his time with Ambling, provided him with the financial and operational background to help bring Campus Advantage to the next level of growth.

“When I stepped into my first meeting here, it was evident that Campus Advantage’s challenges and demands were no different than that I saw at Ambling,” Barkwell notes. He explains that student housing involves focusing on tenant/student needs, as well as the needs and demands of real estate clients. Some of the job also involves addressing demands and expectations a university has of its students when it comes to housing, as well as understanding what the students need, especially those who are away from home for the first time, he comments.

“I’m looking forward to addressing not only the operational challenges, but also the challenges of working with the real estate clients and students, understanding their needs and requirements, and responding to them professionally and quickly,” Barkwell adds.

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