Strategic Storage Trust Inc., a publicly registered, non-traded real estate investment trust targeting the self-storage market, has added four district managers to its team. The new additions will oversee daily facility operations for assigned regions—the Gulf States, Las Vegas, the Northeast and the Midwest—where they will be responsible for the performance of the properties in their area. Specific duties include hiring and training personnel, maintaining and managing operating budgets, implementing third-party truck-rental service, and developing and implementing effective marketing plans.
"Each of these managers was chosen to represent our rapidly growing operations to the highest of standards," said Robert Cerrone, senior vice president of operations. "The district managers play a key role in carrying out our long-term commitment to our customers."
Heading up the Las Vegas Metro area is Maria Avellana, who joined Strategic Storage Trust from her position as regional manager in the apartment industry. She also served as the transaction manager for more than five years, managing and facilitating multi-family acquisitions and dispositions. Avellana is on the board of directors for the Nevada State Apartment Association and is chairperson for its membership and magazine committee. In 2008, she was recognized in the InBusiness Las Vegas "Who's Who in Real Estate" feature.
The Gulf States region will be overseen by Dianne Leppanen, a seasoned self-storage professional with more than 16 years of self-storage multi-unit management experience and six years of commercial real estate experience. Most recently, she worked as a consultant for local self-storage owners in Florida. Prior to that, she managed 14 self-storage properties for Budget Self Storage. Leppanen is based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Operations in the Northeast region will be run by Joaquin Echevarria, who has worked as a regional manager at Hertz and Enterprise for more than 10 years and two years as a district manager for Public Storage Inc. He will oversee a number of properties within the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. He is based in Fort Lee, N.J.
The Midwest region will be managed by Robert Healy, who also has experience as a district manager with Hertz and Enterprise. In addition, he was a district manager for H&R Block in its retail-tax service division. His district area includes Chicago, Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn. Healy is based in Chicago.
Strategic Storage Trust operates self-storage facilities under the SmartStop brand name. Since the company’s launch in 2008, its portfolio has expanded to include 78 facilities in 17 states and Canada, comprising approximately 52,000 self-storage units and 6.4 million rentable square feet of storage space.