Self-Storage Industry Veteran Anne Ballard Announces Retirement, Final Speaking Tour

February 2, 2024

2 Min Read

Anne Ballard, president of training, marketing and developmental services for Universal Storage Group (USG) and founder of Universal Management Co. (UMC), both of which serve the self-storage industry, has announced that she’ll retire at the end of this year. She and her team have also launched the “Right Time Tour,” through which she’s offering 10 specialized seminar presentations to state, national and international self-storage associations as well as private companies, according to a press release.


USG hosted a similar speaking tour last year called “Pearls of Wisdom” to celebrate its 30-year anniversary. Strands of genuine pearls were offered to audience members at each speaking engagement, the release stated.

In anticipation of Ballard’s retirement, Lou Barnholdt and Sarah Beth Johnson have both been promoted to the position of vice president of sales and development. They were formerly the director of sales and consulting and the director of sales, respectively. The USG executive team also includes Stacie Maxwell, vice president of marketing and training. They’ll be available to speak at industry events as well as to contribute articles and reports to trade publications.

“I am so incredibly proud of the team and my partners at USG,” said Ballard, who’s known in the industry as “The Hat Lady” for her propensity to wear distinctive headwear. “Having spent three-plus decades focusing on marketing, training and facility design, I will end this year with the knowledge that a great team is in place to continue our work for this wonderful industry.”

Ballard has served on the board of directors for the national Self Storage Association and is a two-term past-president of the Georgia Self Storage Association. She’s also the author of “The Hat Lady Speaks: Marketing and Managing Self-Storage,” and has written dozens of articles for industry publications.

Ballard’s foundational role in establishing UMC in 1993, which evolved into her partnership with USG, showcases her visionary approach to self-storage management, facility planning and operational consulting, the release stated. The company has won nine Inside Self-StorageBest of Business Awards” for “Best Manager Training” and once each in the “Operational Consulting” and “Third-Party Management” categories.

More information on the USG tour can be found on the company’s website or by emailing [email protected].

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