for the


written by
Pam McElroy

Celebrating the San Francisco
rental property industry stars of 2020!

While 2020 was certainly a difficult year for the San Francisco rental property industry, there were a few shining stars who made day-to-day life better for industry professionals and residents alike.

The San Francisco Apartment Association recognized the people listed in this feature with an SFAA Star Award for going above and beyond during the pandemic. The winners were nominated by their colleagues for seamlessly pivoting to manage changing safety guidelines, comply with local and federal legislation, and meet residents’ needs—all while maintaining contagious, positive attitudes.

In addition to the Star Award, winners received a bottle of sparkling wine and a robe to help them unwind during their much-deserved time off.

From SFAA and the local rental property industry: Thank you for being a silver lining during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rory O’Boyle Resident Services Manager Greystar-Fillmore Center
Without question, as a new manager Rory has had more responsibility and challenges than he—or any of us—could have imagined when he was promoted to this position early in 2020. “My day-to-day responsibilities have been turned on their head,” Rory said. ” He went on to describe the biggest pivots as re-negotiating rents and having to use virtual tours when prospective residents want to see units in person.

He has consistently shown initiative, leadership, team spirit, and support to his team members, the residents, and his managers, despite the challenges 2020 put forth. “I enjoy building a rapport with residents, interacting with them through their daily lives, knowing that they are confident in our work and the services we provide them.” Rory was humbled and honored to have won this award, and it’s proudly displayed in his office.

Robin Groen Accountant Trinity Properties
Robin is an invaluable member of the Trinity team. She can always be counted on to support the organization and her fellow team members—key attributes during the pandemic. 

The biggest challenge for Robin is having to work from home, where she finds it more difficult to communicate and coordinate with colleagues. “I love working with the staff onsite and in the office. We are a close-knit group that operates more like a family.”

Robin has helped with several key projects during the pandemic, including bank reconciliation, providing input on new processes relating to COVID-19, and a recent software upgrade. “It feels great working hand-in-hand with different teams throughout Trinity to help with the new processes we’re implementing.”

Teva Myatt Leasing Administrator Brick & Timber
According to Teva, she has found success in her career because she is “highly organized, a self-starter, motivated, and innovative.” And for these attributes—along with her reliability to draft leases efficiently and her ability to communicate effectively internally and with leads—her colleagues are grateful, which is why they nominated her for this award.

Her favorite part of the job is the people. “I really enjoy the people I work with.” She also credits her colleagues for their continuous support and for motivating her. Teva was “surprised” and “humbled” upon receiving her Star Award.

Greg Goglin Senior Manager, Building Operations Greentree Property Management
Through the challenges of 2020, Greg quadrupled the size of Greentree’s in-house maintenance team, while continuing to put the needs of residents first. According to Greg, the secret to his success is, “creating an environment of positivity and solidarity where people want to work.”

When the pandemic hit, Greg went right to work to keep residents safe, installing hand sanitizer stations and face covering signage throughout every building in the portfolio. “Our day-to-day operations changed entirely in order to deal with the virus.”

Greg was “thrilled” and “surprised” to have won this award, and he plans to keep it on his desk, right next to his 2016 SFAA Trophy Award.

Jun Pena Maintenance Technician Trinity Properties
Jun’s colleagues nominated him for a Star Award not only because he knows Trinity’s portfolio properties better than anyone, but also because he is a joy to work with. He is known for his steady, consistent, and reliable work (with a smile), which has helped immeasurably while Trinity navigated through the pandemic.

Jun has been working for Trinity for more than 20 years. While he is skilled at plumbing, electrical, appliance repair, and locksmithing, he loves working with residents and accomplishing new challenges presented to him. Jun says he is “proud” to work for Trinity, adding that the company “supports me to achieve personal growth.”

Henry Gordon Property Manager Assistant Gaetani Real Estate
Henry is greatly appreciated at Gaetani Real Estate for being the company’s “person in the field” during the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked diligently throughout the year to deliver notices, meet inspectors, and take care of the various day-to-day tasks that come his way.

He notes that his job has “changed significantly” since the start of the pandemic. “The health of our tenants and our team are of the highest importance. Attention to detail is an absolute necessity.” Henry plans to keep his Star Award on his desk as a “source of motivation.”

Esteban Tenjo Associate  Property Manager Greentree Property Management
According to his colleagues, Esteban is focused, organized, and solutions oriented. His motto is simple yet revolutionary: In a world where customer service is dwindling, treat every resident the way you want your mother to be treated. “I love helping others,” he explained.

Esteban understands the power of empathy and says the keys to success in this industry are active listening and honesty. In response to winning this award, he says, “It’s a privilege and I’m honored to be recognized. I’m excited and motivated to continue working hard.”

Alexander Husary Property Manager Structure Properties
Alexander was nominated for a Star Award for maintaining his positive attitude and working hard during the stressful challenges that came with the pandemic. At Structure Properties, Alexander is known for his attention to detail and genuine empathy for residents and clients, which proved invaluable throughout 2020.

His favorite part of the job is the people! He loves building on his communication skills and working on a team. Regarding the pandemic, the key is to work hard and find solutions. Alexander has been “soaking up” SFAA online classes, “strategically working remotely,” and “leveraging technology to never lose the personal touch” that Structure Properties values.

Alexis Romero Tenant Relations Coordinator Lingsch Realty
During a time when resident retention is a top concern, Alexis quickly addresses maintenance issues, calms frustrated residents, and efficiently relays information to vendors. Her colleagues value her because even in the most stressful situations, Alexis effectively communicates with residents, keeping them happy and living in their units.

Alexis explains, “I will do everything I can to ensure that my clients are satisfied and feel appreciated. I love when I am able to remedy a tenant’s concern almost immediately... gaining their trust and appreciation is what makes me love what I do.”

Alexis feels excited to have won a Star Award, saying it shows how her “hard work over the past few months has really paid off.”

Wanda Brown Resident Manager Greentree Property Management
Wanda received a Star Award for going above and beyond for residents and colleagues. Despite the stress and anxiety of 2020, Wanda built a remarkable sense of community at 2128 Van Ness, spreading joy and connecting with residents (from a safe distance, of course!).

According to Wanda, her success comes from “always putting forth extra effort” and “focusing on the individual needs of each resident.” She helps residents do their grocery shopping, pick up prescriptions, and collects mail when they are not feeling well. She has even been known to prepare meals for residents when she feels they need “some extra kindness.”

Wanda is “thrilled” to have won a Star Award, and thought it was “wonderful” that her colleagues nominated her.

Eileen Lapuyade Administrative Assistant Skyline Property Management Group
Eileen’s colleagues nominated her for a Star Award for really stepping up when the pandemic hit. She personally reached out to residents to offer quarters for laundry machines, worked with residents moving in and out, pivoted to manage virtual inspections and key exchanges, established safety protocols, and communicated with worried rental property owners.

“I love helping people,” Eileen explained. “I take pride in my everyday duties, making sure the manager, owners, and tenants’ needs are all taken care of.”

Of her professional achievements so far, she’s most proud of winning her SFAA Star Award, which she plans to keep displayed on her desk.

Rincon Building 333 Harrison Street Green Building of the Year
Recology was happy to nominate the Rincon Building (333 Harrison Street) for the 2020 Green Building of the Year award! Of course, Recology appreciates 333 Harrison’s eco-friendly compost and recycling program (and the fact that new residents are welcomed with a Recology sorting guide!), but what really makes the building stand out are the electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle storage rooms with repair stations, and on-site car share vehicles.

Rincon Green Apartments is a GreenPoint-Rated building sustainably designed by David Baker + Partners Architects, sits on top of Rincon Hill, and includes a community park, a rooftop lounge with a hot tub and grill, panoramic views, and a 24-hour fitness center.