A day in the life of a Kimco intern
Meet Michael Reigner, a senior majoring in finance at Towson University, and Leasing Intern at Kimco’s Timonium, Maryland office. Michael represents one of over 75.4 million millennials said to comprise the workforce in 2017. It’s no secret — the millennials are becoming the most influential generation in our market to date. At Kimco, we are committed to teaching our young professionals, and are appreciative of our interns’ hard work and dedication to the company.
Michael had the opportunity to join Kimco’s new Leasing Associate Training Program, which is considered a “boot camp” for our leasing positions. As part of this program, Michael participated in training sessions at our New Hyde Park headquarters, his home office of Timonium, and our Hollywood, Florida location. We asked Michael a few questions about intern life at Kimco, and what his experience has been like working in Asset Management, Property Finance & Accounting (PF&A), and now in the Leasing Department, focusing on our Timonium Square shopping center.
How did you first hear about Kimco, and what made you want to apply?
Michael Reigner: I was walking with one of my classmates on Towson’s campus when she mentioned that she heard of an internship here at Kimco. I was curious to learn more about Kimco, so I followed up. Once my classmate told me about this opportunity, I knew the internship was something I was interested in. My parents used to work in real estate too, so I had a little background there. I wanted to see if I could add to the knowledge I already had.
What are a few projects that you’ve had the opportunity to work on since you’ve been with Kimco?
Reigner: When I first started interning at Kimco, I was working in the Property Finance & Accounting/Asset Management Department. My first project was to go over all 118 sites that we have here in the Mid-Atlantic and see if there was any opportunity to capitalize on revenue. Though we are still working on the processes in order to realize this revenue, I was able to find a few properties where revenue was being lost. I was moved to the Leasing Department, where I now spend my time sourcing new leads, mainly through canvassing at different shopping centers all over the state, and sometimes even out of state, to try and get more tenants into our shopping centers. I’ve knocked on the doors of over 350 small shop tenants to date. I talk to store owners, see where they are in their business cycle, and if they are looking to open another storefront, relocate, or anything of that nature. I’ve had a couple other small projects, too, such as helping with the daily operations.
Is it easy to balance your classwork with the internship?
Reigner: Yes. I work 20 hours a week at Kimco, and I’m currently taking five classes at Towson. I’ve always been a multi-tasker. Ever since I was 18, I have had two or three jobs at a time, so I’m used to this type of workload. In fact, I enjoy it. It keeps me busy, and it has never been a struggle to manage.
What are some things that you’ve learned in school that you’ve been able to apply to your internship?
Reigner: In school, we are learning how to read all of the financial statements and understand the metrics, such as net present value, internal rate of return, and cap rates, which are a few of the main things we talk about every day at Kimco. Having that prior knowledge really helped me. Reading financial statements and understanding these metrics is how we execute all of our deals and make decisions.
What is your typical day as a Kimco intern?
Reigner: The main thing I do is try to think of new ways I can source leads for Kimco’s shopping centers, whether that be going out and canvassing, or cold calling different types of tenants. I also make follow-up calls for inquiries that come in. These activities are usually to help support the leasing assistants in what they do. I’m here to help in any way I possibly can. If someone else in the office needs something, there I am.
What has interning at Kimco taught you about working in a corporate environment?
Reigner: The number one thing I’ve learned is how to be a self-starter and a self-motivator. In school, professors tell you what to do and how to do it, but coming to a corporate setting in a big company, no one is going to tell you how to do something step-by-step or give you a specific deadline. You need to be able to give yourself a deadline to make sure initiatives are completed on time and done the right way. I’ve also learned not to be shy and to ask for help. A good thing about being in a corporate environment is that there’s always expertise around if you need it.
How has your experience as an intern in two separate departments differed?
Reigner: I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to work in both of these departments. I think it gave me an advantage, especially when I came into leasing. In PF&A/Asset Management, I learned why Kimco makes certain financial decisions — whether it’s to redevelop a shopping center or what metrics are reviewed when we are discussing buying adjacent parcels (clustering) to the centers. I’ve also learned how experts in the PF&A Department make decisions to maximize revenue on recoveries, REA’s, and ensuring billing methods are reviewed and confirmed. Understanding what tenants must approve capital project in advance to ensure there are no disputed charges, there are many layers to planning, implementing and billing that happens behind the scenes before improvements are made or properties are acquired.
Every department has input into the acquisition and/or development models, and when the model is finalized, it becomes the guidance for all departments to achieve the approved returns. Working in these two departments gave me a huge advantage of knowing how Kimco works in its entirety.
You mentioned that you went to New York for the first part of the Leasing Associate Training Program. What did you learn and what are you looking forward to learning in the final session?
Reigner: It was a great opportunity for me to get other points of view; the professionals there came from all across the country. All the attendees worked in small autonomies per region, and I talked to directors from all over. I learned how other leasing associate trainees tackle their day-to-day activities, which introduced me to new ways of working more efficiently.
I was also really excited to go to Florida. What I’m doing now is cold calling and canvassing, so this training was a good opportunity for me to see how I can make centers sound more appealing to tenants that may be on the fence about Kimco. Learning new strategies and techniques to cold calling, and learning more about the process in general is something I enjoyed. I didn’t know much about leasing when I became a leasing intern, so having these three sessions that encompass the entire leasing process is great. I can’t express that enough.
What have been your greatest takeaways so far?
Reigner: I would say one of the biggest takeaways would be how to communicate effectively, not only within the company but also to our prospective customers. Internally, the way in which you express a request for help is crucial because it could determine whether or not a task gets completed.
Externally, you have to know how to represent Kimco as best as you can. You have to know what you’re talking about, and be able to express what you are saying depending on whom you are speaking to. Kimco is a great company, and you have to be able to tell this to tenants with confidence. If you don’t believe what you’re trying to sell then it’s going to be pretty hard to communicate with a potential tenant.
What is your favorite part about working at Kimco?
Reigner: I can’t express how much I’m learning here, but why I really enjoy coming into work during the week is Kimco’s culture, and the way employees treat each other. Even though everyone is busy and working nonstop, everyone is willing to help. The people I work with realize I’m an intern, and they’re very respectful of that. Some questions I ask might seem weird to them, but they know that I’m just trying to learn.
Also, there is not always one way to do it here. Everyone I’ve talked to has always been open to new ideas of how to implement different day-to-day decisions, but also big decisions as well. Everyone has a voice in how things should be done since we are the ones that are doing it. If we think there’s one way that’s easier or a way to work more efficiently, the leadership at Kimco are all ears. All in all the culture is my favorite part; it’s a really good place to work.
Interested in our internship program? See if we have any openings at a regional office near you!