Elizabeth Carlson McCririe credits her entry into commercial real estate to the amazing mentors she had shortly after finishing college thirty years ago. Now, as the president and chief operating officer of Beztak Properties, McCririe embraces the ability to help others grow their careers. “The best careers are made when someone wants others to succeed,” she says. In fact, one of the aspects she has most enjoyed about her nine years at Beztak is the firm’s emphasis on guiding team members through their own advancement, which in turn benefits the company. “I was drawn to Beztak because of the excellent sixty-year reputation of its partners and their impressive portfolio,” she says. “I also felt a great symmetry between my goals and interests and those of the Beztak partners.”
Since McCririe joined Beztak in 2010, the company has expanded significantly to more than twenty thousand units across fifteen states that include both owned properties and third-party fee management. As Beztak continues to grow, McCririe cites Beztak’s approach to real estate development as well as its culture, which champions personal development as a means to continued success.
In terms of its owned and developed properties, Beztak caters specifically to local demographics and also ensures that a property’s design is appropriate for the context of its site. By keeping the design and construction in-house, “Beztak creates properties that complement the neighborhoods. Nothing is cookie-cutter. It’s all about blending into the area with the right materials and design,” McCririe says.
In 2020, Beztak’s luxury senior living brand, All Seasons, is set to open two new properties: one in Oro Valley, Arizona, and one in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All Seasons provides custom programming to engage sophisticated residents. Residences’ tastes and preferences, McCririe explains, vary by location. “We sit down with focus groups to see where the residents are coming from and what their expectations are,” she says. “In Ann Arbor, we are creating a campus for folks who are academically minded and partnering with universities in the area to create the types of activities the residents want.”
With Beztak’s property management also done in-house, service is the backbone of the company. “We make a difference by serving people in one of the most intimate places they will experience: their home,” says McCririe. To provide high-quality service, Beztak embraces technology. Tenants in multifamily buildings have access to a maintenance app, where they can communicate directly with maintenance staff to schedule a work order. Staff use an online platform to control purchasing and automatically reorder site-specific inventory when necessary. “The real estate industry has been consistently lagging behind other industries when it comes to technology, and we want to provide ease and convenience to all of our residents,” McCririe says.
Throughout their period of recent growth, Beztak has remained mindful of the scale of the organization regarding both new developments and fee-managed properties. According to McCririe, Beztak develops only three to four projects at a time, focusing on quality over quantity. Similarly, as the fee-management side of the business expands, Beztak keeps each regional manager’s oversight at only a handful of properties so that each one can receive an adequate level of service.
Growing the business also means growing the team. McCririe explains that at Beztak, the culture champions mentorship and providing opportunities for employees to grow with the company. This culture is what accounts for Beztak’s more conservative approach to the scale of their expansion. “We can’t expand too quickly. The amount of human resources necessary to ensure a successful lease-up or transition needs to be trained, seasoned, and in place for the property to be successful,” says McCririe. She also stresses the importance of ensuring new team members are excited about Beztak and the company’s mission, because a great culture is what keeps good people at Beztak after they’re trained.
When looking to add to their team, McCririe and the senior leadership at Beztak look more for attitude and a willingness to learn than prior experience on a résumé. McCririe explains that Beztak is ready and willing to provide additional training to anyone looking to move up within the organization. “I love taking someone from a site position and bringing them into a corporate position. We do this routinely,” she says, “and send them to training so they know what the business is all about.” Associates are encouraged to design their own career path within Beztak and work with their supervisors to put it into place. McCririe describes an open-door policy inherent in Beztak’s culture and emphasizes that all employees have access to executives for mentorship.
Another aspect of Beztak’s culture that McCririe applauds is Beztak’s long and sustained history of charitable giving. It has endeavored to support educational institutions, such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, as well as medical care and research organizations focusing both on pediatric and adult medicine, such as the University of Michigan, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and Friendship Circle. Beztak has also supported the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Detroit in its endeavor to support cultural institutions both in Detroit and the suburban communities that surround Detroit.
At this point in her career, both giving back to the community at large and to others at Beztak is what motivates McCririe the most. “The partners at Beztak have fostered an extremely nurturing culture,” she says. “What I’m loving in my current role is identifying people’s strengths and helping them become who they want to be for the benefit of the company.”
Modern Drywall Inc. congratulates Elizabeth Carlson McCririe, President and COO at Beztak Properties, for her well-deserved recognition. We greatly appreciate our longstanding relationship with Elizabeth and the entire Beztak team. We are proud to be part of their many amazing developments and we look forward to many future projects together.