Sometimes father-in-law knows best. Just ask Michael Apostol.
Apostol had a good-paying job with a financial-services giant that lined his pockets but left him feeling empty.
“It was more about what can customers do for me, rather than what I could do for them,” Apostol says of the fast-paced, meet-your-goals work environment. “It just wasn’t fulfilling.”
His father-in-law, a maintenance supervisor with a property management company in the Bay Area, noticed and suggested Apostol should change careers. One night during a family dinner, his father-in-law was called out to an on-site emergency and Apostol tagged along. Soon, he was hooked on property management.
“It just seemed like something I wanted to do,” Apostol says. “It has some sales aspects, but it also has a very human touch.”
‘More about compassion and serving the community’
Shortly after entering the profession, he started looking at other opportunities. He came across USA Properties Fund and learned about its commitment to and efforts for residents – and team members.
“It was a much different approach,” Apostol says. “It was more about compassion and serving the community.”
He joined USA Properties Fund in summer 2015 as a leasing agent at Mayfair Court, an affordable apartment community for families in San Jose. He was later promoted to Assistant Community Manager.
Apostol excelled at connecting with residents, nearby small-business owners and the police department. He established a clothes closet at Mayfair Court, where residents could grab free clothes and shoes. He carried around W-9 forms, making donations easier for small-business owners who wanted to help residents.
“You know where the money goes,” Apostol says of the grassroots effort. “You see the residents wearing the clothes or the shoes while they walk past.”
‘We’re one big team, focused on one goal’
After three years at Mayfair Court, Apostol and his wife, Bonnie, decided to move to Southern California to be closer to his family. In 2018, Apostol was hired as Assistant Community Manager at Huntington Plaza, an affordable senior community in Huntington Park, about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
“Here, you can’t stay up late,” laughs Apostol, who embraced the move from a mostly family to an all-senior community.
Apostol was promoted to Community Manager of Huntington Plaza in 2019.
“Everyone is very friendly,” he says. “When you walk down the hallway, everyone is always happy and says good morning. They are genuine and want to hear how your day is going.”
And the residents, many who are more than twice Apostol’s age, enjoy having fun, especially with impromptu dance parties.
“Dancing is a big thing with the Latin culture,” he says. “Bad hip and all, they get up and dance.”
But being a successful community manager goes beyond the walls of Huntington Plaza.
“I’ve built relationships with the mayor, city council members and the police,” Apostol says. The connection has helped curb crime and made the neighborhood safer. “I want to make the community better for everyone in the neighborhood.”
It’s an approach that has earned Apostol recognition, with an award for excellence from his peers at USA Properties Fund.
“This is a company that treats you more like a team member,” Apostol says. “We’re one big team, focused on one goal – creating outstanding communities.”
Outside the office
Michael Apostol and his wife, Bonnie, a long-term substitute teacher, enjoy spending their free time at Disneyland, about 30 miles from Huntington Plaza. The couple, who were married in 2012, say the Happiest Place on Earth is a great escape after a busy and hectic day at work