Jaren Miller – Wood Partners Property Management
It says it right on the company’s website: Wood Partners does more than just give people a place to live. The Atlanta-based property management and development company wants to create communities of lasting value, provide a solid return for investors and forge a culture of respect and empowerment for its employees.
As the company’s vice president of procurement and facilities for Wood Partners Property Management, Jaren Miller is doing her part to drive operational efficiency and innovation, helping Wood Partners achieve its growth and business goals.
“I think my extensive experience in the multifamily industry and my passion for process optimization and asset preservation is serving our organization well,” Miller says.
In her role, Miller the negotiation and management of preferred vendor and supplier partnerships. She also leads the regional facilities team, ensuring that best practices in property maintenance operations are developed and reinforced. “The overarching goal is establishing vendor partnerships for supplies and services that provide overall value. Beyond identifying these opportunities and establishing preferable terms and pricing, we consistently monitor quality to ensure continued alignment with the expectations of our organization,” Miller says. “These partnerships are directly tied to our facilities management practices in that they support the operations of the properties we manage.”
Most recently, Miller has focused on two primary objectives: innovative technologies that streamline operations and solutions that support sustainability. One notable achievement is introducing a mobile maintenance app, Yardi Maintenance IQ, in January 2022. This app has transformed how work orders are managed, resulting in significant efficiencies and cost savings. Service associates can now access work orders in real time and close them upon completion, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and streamlining the process.
The Wood Partners team has widely embraced the mobile maintenance app, with a current utilization rate of over 80 percent across all managed assets. This has improved work order completion times and accurate reporting on completion times. The app has enhanced operations and aligns with Wood Partners’ sustainability initiatives, as it eliminates the need for paper-based processes.
“We’re investing in technology and improving processes to make our operations more efficient and cost-effective,” she says.
Creating and improving
In addition to the mobile maintenance app, Miller has spearheaded the implementation of other technologies to further improve operations.
For example, the company has introduced virtual reality technology for technical maintenance training and learning, enabling service associates to enhance their skills and expertise. Miller has also implemented an environmental reporting resource and extended an existing partnership with Rubicon Technologies, Inc., a leading digital marketplace for waste and recycling focusing on waste removal, single-stream recycling and cardboard recycling, emphasizing Wood Partners’ commitment to sustainability.
Looking ahead to 2024, Miller aims to continue driving growth and innovation within Wood Partners. She plans to incorporate more in-person meetings and hands-on training opportunities for service associates, recognizing the importance of face-to-face interaction and experiential learning. By prioritizing growth and development, Miller aims to retain top talent and further enhance the expertise of Wood Partners’ team.
As an organization, Wood Partners focuses on recognizing employees for their achievements and contributions to the organization and on creating internal opportunities for growth and development.
“Creating visibility surrounding our company culture and the opportunities that come from growing within our organization will continue to be a focus,” Miller says.
Wood Partners continues to reach its overarching growth goal with a people-centric focus. Miller has driven efficiency and operational excellence by implementing innovative technologies, and her commitment to developing a diverse and inclusive work environment further highlights her dedication to creating a strong and thriving organization.
Miller earned a communications and media studies degree from Kennesaw State University and spent six years as a property manager for Gables Residential. Miller joined Wood Partners in March 2015—she was elevated to her current role in May 2022.
As a female in a traditionally male-dominated field, Miller is also committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry. While progress has been made, she acknowledges that more needs to be done to increase gender diversity in facility management roles.
“I believe that companies must have the courage to break barriers and view gender as a strength rather than a limitation,” she says. “By fostering an inclusive work environment, the industry can attract and retain talent while promoting diversity at all levels of leadership.”
Throughout her career in the multifamily industry, Miller has held various positions and has been exposed to various industry dynamics and challenges. Over time, she’s fully recognized the value of Wood Partners’ service associates and the merit of technical and skilled trades.
As she continues in her career, Miller is excited about the possibilities of stepping outside her comfort zone to embrace new challenges and opportunities.
“Doing so is often the most direct path toward identifying areas of strength and recognizing where I can add value,” she says. “I have learned that you don’t necessarily need all the experience or knowledge to embrace a new opportunity and to make an impact.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. I 2024 Edition here.
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