UGOC Spotlight: United Group Recognizes February Work Anniversaries

February 27, 2020
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United Group is celebrating a trifecta of work anniversaries during the month of February, recognizing Ashley Wysocarski, Patrick Sgambati, and Vince DiGiacomo for their five years of service and dedication to the company.

Senior Field Marketing Manager, Ashley Wysocarski, has played a pivotal role in leasing and marketing initiatives for both senior and student housing since the day she returned to United Group after a stint outside the real estate industry with Bisco Industries. Her original role with United Group was a community assistant when she was a SUNY Cortland Red Dragon, living and working at the College Suites at Cortland.

Ever since returning to United Group, Ashley has offered unmatched enthusiasm and creative solutions to every community she serves. Her positive attitude and willingness to help others are unbreakable, and she rightfully earned United Group’s Success Model Award in 2017. The few minutes a day Ashley isn’t working, you can find her spoiling her dog, thinking about Harry Potter, and mispronouncing the word “bagel.”

Patrick Sgambati began his career with United Group at Mid-Rise Apartments in Mechanicville, NY before transitioning to Maintenance Supervisor at Diamond Rock Terrace, where he has made a significant impact in keeping the community beautiful and residents pleased. United Group will always appreciate Patrick’s leadership skills, patience, and dedication.

Vince DiGiacomo has been a wonderful addition to the constant bustle at Schaffer Heights in Schenectady, NY. He stays busy as a part-time building attendant answering phone calls, providing direction, and greeting residents and guests. United Group not only thanks Vince for all his hard work, but also for (somehow) putting up with, and helping raise his son, Mike DiGiacomo, United Group’s Vice President of Senior and Student Housing.

Learn more about Ashley, Patrick and Vince by reading about their experience with United Group!

Name: Ashley Wysocarski

Office: United Group Corporate Office

Role: Senior Field Marketing Manager

1.) What do you remember about your first day with the United Group?

I felt like I was being welcomed back into a family! The faces and names I knew from being a community assistant were extra exciting. Joe was there to give me a hard time, right off the bat, which made me feel right at home. Then the people I didn’t know were so helpful and welcoming. Nancy O’Malley sticks out the most from my first day, she was there and just helping me get acclimated and excited to be part of the team.

During orientation I remember being excited to be back and ruining part of Michaela’s on-boarding presentation by spilling a hot cup of coffee all over the large conference room table. In with a bang 😊 sorry, MG!

During the first week I was in this role, I remember having a meeting with Mike D. and Jeff A., and at first, I was caught off-guard. I had been back for three days and was already being sent to the principal’s office! They sat me down in Jeff’s office to ask how it was going, what my thoughts were, etc. Then I remember being told that they didn’t want me to worry about job descriptions or roles, but to go out and get to know our properties and the teams at each site and really shape my role into what I needed it to be. That was a really crazy and awesome experience, to be given that much trust and leeway to create the role rather than just fill it. And I think that’s why we’ve been able to do so much that’s new and different at times, they were both really committed to helping me have whatever I needed to shape this role into whatever it needed to be.

2.) Are you in the same role? What has changed about your role?

My role has evolved, and that’s putting it mildly! When I first came into the field marketing manager (FMM) role, it was focused on student housing, with a taste of senior housing in Schaffer Heights and finishing the lease-up of Schuyler Commons. Now it’s really grown to encompass all student and senior housing properties, as well as working with a new field marketing manager to train her to take on the world of field marketing for our multifamily portfolio. I really love this position because it’s the perfect hybrid between corporate and site teams and allows you to work in the middle of both worlds to bring corporate resources together with our incredible site teams to drive next-level results. When I started in 2015 I was a road warrior, traveling between Brockport, Poughkeepsie, and Plattsburgh weekly, spending 15 hours a week driving to these places (and earning the speeding tickets to match!) and now the travel has taken to the skies, splitting my time between New York, Florida, Colorado, and Maryland. The role has expanded in so many ways!

The position has definitely taken on new legs over the years, from overseeing marketing plan creation and implementation, to leading grassroots marketing efforts, but also I dive in on the systems side of our traffic generation and leasing platforms, as well as our resident management and retention. On top of it all, I love that I’m able to get down and dirty with the details of our leasing processes and work with teams with their prospect databases and leads. I am part of the implementation team for our new leasing software platform and I’m privileged with the opportunity to go out and learn about these products in and out and challenge the systems to make them the optimal product for our site teams, and that’s a really exciting new piece that I wouldn’t have predicted five years ago. Being able to get involved from the onset of new systems and really fight for what works for our teams, is best for our residents, and helps us lease at a high volume.

3.) Tell us what an average day at the office looks like:

Tell me when I have an average day scheduled and I will let you know. 😊 Kidding! But really, my days are driven by site needs. From January 20th – February 14th I was completely on the road and spending 10-12 hours each day with our site teams in Florida and Colorado, pushing them to step outside of their comfort zones in new and refreshed ways to drive new traffic, serve our communities in ways that no other apartment communities have thought of, and meeting with residents whether to put on show-stopping events or to help them get all set with their renewals. Next week I will be in the office all week working with our corporate marketing, leasing, and operations teams to allocate resources and provide high-level support to our site teams and manage the marketing plans with our industry partners. During student housing turn each year you’ll find me working nights and weekends to help teams turn around units that look brand new for new residents. If one of our sites had a crisis and had absolutely no way of having concierge coverage, or they needed someone to handle moving cars around to help with snow removal – they all know to call me and I will help make it happen.

4.) Tell us one of your favorite early memories from your office:

Oh boy! One summer it was the middle of our crunch time for student housing, so in an effort to give a team all the support they needed, United Group’s corporate support team took over a four-bedroom apartment for the week. We had myself (FMM,) the PR Coordinator, Regional Manager, and COO all staying at the property to do whatever was needed for this team to succeed. It was an incredible experience to have people at all different levels working together towards one mission, putting titles and status quo aside to get the job done and empower everyone to deliver their best work each day. When I was with United Group at the site level, that’s what I respected most about this company and what made me so excited to come into this role – a true team that works together and doesn’t let anything get in the way of collaboration and shares in the results.

5.) What do you love most about United Group?

I think I just answered it in the last sentence of the last question! United Group, to me, represents much more than just another company. In between college and coming into the FMM role, I worked in an entirely unrelated industry in Rochester, NY. I missed how this “little big” company functioned as a family unit with the freedom to go out there and try something new/different, with full support from the company. There are not many places that you can go and get one-on-one training with the company’s CEO, or have the controller of a company reach out to ask you how they can help you (and mean it!) but here we have that. To be so fully supported and work with a team of people that don’t let red tape or previous lines get in the way of getting the job done and working together, that’s a rare gift in 2020.

6.) What advice do you want to give yourself now, after working for the United Group during for past 5 years?

Switch to sugar free red bull sooner, and never hesitate to ask questions. There are so many people willing to teach you, and you’re only going to make yourself a better overall employee not only for United Group, but your own self-development, by asking questions and learning from those around you. United Group has over 40 years of experience in senior housing and started building student housing ahead of the wave of student housing that was developed across the country. The talent and the stories in this company are incredible, seek those out and learn from every single person you can.

 

Name: Patrick Sgambati

Office: Diamond Rock Terrace

Role: Maintenance Technician

1.) What do you remember about your first day with the United Group?

My first day was very welcoming when I started at Mid-Rise Apartment in Mechanicville, NY. It was really nice because I live in Mechanicville and it was an easy commute.

2.) Are you in the same role? What has changed about your role?

I transferred to Diamond Rock Terrace to a Maintenance Supervisor Job. A little more responsibility.

3.) Tell us what an average day at the office looks like:

An average day is trying to plan ahead because there is always something to do here.

4.) Tell us one of your favorite early memories from your office:

Very welcoming from residents, probably because they finally see a younger guy who likes to get work done around the property.

5.) What do you love most about United Group?

Good benefit packages and no real micromanaging.

6.) What advice do you want to give yourself now, after working for the United Group during for past 5 years?

Patience.

 

Name: Vince DiGiacomo

Office: Schaffer Heights

Role: Building Attendant

1.) What do you remember about your first day with the United Group?

Everyone was helpful and friendly

2.) Are you in the same role? What has changed about your role?

Yes, the position has changed a little, but for the better, more involved than a few years ago.

3.) Tell us what an average day at the office looks like:

There is no average day at Schaffer Heights.

4.) Tell us one of your favorite early memories from your office:

Working with some sharp managers, especially ones that were willing to listen to me even when I wasn't right.

5.) What do you love most about United Group?

Meeting and working with some great people who are smart and love their job

6.) What advice do you want to give yourself now, after working for the United Group during for past 5 years?

I wish I was younger-It would have been a great place to start a long-time career

 

 

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