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LOS ANGELES-FirstService Real Estate Advisors has named 25-year industry veteran Mike Kent as the president of its US property management division to oversee all of its US real estate management services. Kent, who will be based in Downtown L.A. with a satellite office in Orange County, tells GlobeSt.com that he will be traveling nationally on a regular basis as FirstService builds its client list and expands its platform throughout the country. A national platform like that offered by FirstService is an important factor today because, “Clients want to know that they have one point of contact,” he points out.

“A lot of companies today are reevaluating their (property management and asset management) strategies,” Kent says. “Those opportunities will continue to grow as the market evolves.”

Kent, who comes to FirstService from Rreef, explains that FirstService expects to gain market share both from the new business to be won from companies outsourcing their former in-house property management functions as well as winning contracts from clients who are now with other property management firms. “This is a very exciting chance for a company like FirstService to reenter the market in many of these areas and offer alternatives to many of these clients at a time when the consolidation of the industry has left them with very few alternatives,” he says.

Kent’s appointment is the second in a series of steps designed to “elevate FirstService Real Estate Advisors to one of the top three commercial real estate service companies globally,” FirstService said in announcing Kent’s new post. The naming of Kent follows FirstService’s recent hiring of Dylan E. Taylor as president of its US operations.

One of the top priorities for Kent, who will report directly to Taylor, will be “to target institutional property owners and investors who require the more specialized and integrated real estate services offered by FirstService REA,” the company said. Taylor observes that, “Like their corporate counterparts, institutional real estate owners and fund managers are looking for fully integrated services delivered by experienced professionals who can help drive value to existing portfolios.”

Kent began his career as a specialist in office and industrial leasing in Southern California. In 1995, he joined Rreef as a leasing specialist and in 2004 was named managing director in charge of all leasing and property management operations overseeing more than 80 offices nationwide. At Rreef, Kent also served on the investment committee, overseeing all acquisitions, dispositions and debt transactions; the management committee setting strategy, policy and procedures for the organizations’ North American operations; and on the eco-operations committee, which was responsible for operational strategies related to greening real estate investments.

While at Rreef, Kent was based both in San Francisco and Chicago before moving back to Southern California in October of last year, based in Irvine. He tells GlobeSt.com that property owners, investors and fund managers are all focusing much more intently on property management and related disciplines in light of the changing market conditions wrought by the economic downturn.

Property managers today must focus on understanding the rent roll, understanding the needs of tenants, the financial strength of tenants and local market factors affecting the day-to-day operations of buildings, Kent explains. In addition, he says, “There is a lot more emphasis on evaluating the risk factors of assets today because you can’t just sell a property overnight the way you used to.”

FirstService Real Estate Advisors is the fourth-largest commercial real estate services firm in the world, operating in 37 countries. In North America, it provides services through real estate brands including FirstService REA, Colliers International, FirstService Williams, PGP Valuation, PKF Hospitality and MHPM Project Leaders.

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