Dan Wurtzel, President, Cooper Square Realty
- Jun 14, 2012
MHN interviews Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty in New York City, who is a Registered Apartment Manager (RAM), licensed real estate salesperson and experienced management executive. Wurtzel joined Cooper Square Realty in 1987 as a property manager when the company had four employees and less than 1,000 units under its management. Over the years, he was promoted to positions with increased responsibilities including vice president and executive vice president. He was named chief operating officer in 2001 and president in 2009.
MHN: How did you get into the multifamily industry?
Wurtzel: While in college, I worked for an architect who was building a multifamily property. I was asked to perform site visits and got very involved in the construction process. After I graduated, I was introduced to a small real estate company that purchased multifamily properties in Manhattan that was looking for an individual to manage their assets. That was the beginning of my career in real estate, and the rest is history.
MHN: If you weren’t in multifamily, what would you be doing?
Wurtzel: The only other career path I could envision is something else in the real estate industry, such as on the development side.
MHN: Who has been the biggest inspiration during your career?
Wurtzel: David Kuperberg, founder and CEO of Cooper Square Realty, has been my mentor for most of my career. I learned much of the management business from him. David also provided me with the opportunity to reach goals that I set for myself early in my career: An opportunity to build a management company into an industry leader.
MHN: In terms of work, what keeps you up at night?
Wurtzel: We are in the business of solving problems and those problems will keep me up at night until I am comfortable that there is solution. I often wake up in the middle of the night and ponder ways to improve the services we provide to our clients. Our goal is to provide a service that exceeds the client’s expectations.
MHN: What’s the best part of your workday?
Wurtzel: Hearing from a satisfied client. Existing/satisfied clients are the best source for new business.
MHN: What one story in your career stands out in your mind?
Wurtzel: On Sept. 13, 2001, David Kuperberg and I went to visit buildings that Cooper Square Realty manages in the vicinity of the World Trade Center. There was no electricity, no water, no communication services (i.e. land or cell phones)—no basic services at all—and the towers were still burning. Knowing some of the residents and building employees ignored evacuation instructions and chose to stay at their buildings, we felt an obligation to check on our buildings and the well being of those who decided to stay. We were able to get through various checkpoints and enter areas in lower Manhattan where our buildings were located that were restricted for official and military personnel only. We stopped at five buildings around the World Trade Center area (one diagonally across the street) with food, water and other supplies. The few residents and building workers who were there were so happy and appreciative that we made the effort to see them. Those who remained after our visit (some decided to leave) wanted to do what they could to provide any assistance in the recovery effort while others just did not want to leave their home for fear that they would not be permitted to return.
MHN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Wurtzel: I see myself continuing to lead management operations at Cooper Square Realty and continuing to create new initiatives that differentiate us—such as what we’ve done with our Customer Care Center; CooperSquare Connect™; Online Sale & Lease Applications; Energy Benchmarking, Report Cards and Aggregation Purchasing Program; and Expense Reduction procedures. Ultimately, I see myself continuing to protect and grow our reputation as the premier residential management company in New York City.
MHN: What advice would you give another that you wish someone would had said to you?
Wurtzel: The management business has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years and is no longer the stepchild of the real estate industry. This business is about so much more than simply collecting rent and paying bills. Management has become an integral part in guiding a property’s performance. The basics of multifamily housing management are about customer service, communication and follow-up.