MHN Interview: Kelly Osburn, Market Leader of Multifamily at BSB Design
- Mar 25, 2014
Kelly Osburn now directs all the business activities of the Multifamily Group within BSB Design for marketing, operations, financial performance and growth. His multifamily experience includes over 20 years of hands-on involvement with all levels of multifamily rental product, a detailed understanding of density and its impact on product design, rental community club facilities, government housing programs, and high density urban infill projects. Osburn’s extensive and varied experiences have provided him with strong knowledge in multifamily project development, site evaluation and the supervision and management of project management teams. Osburn spent more than 20 years at Humphreys and Partners Architects. He talks to MHN Editorial Director about the decision to join BSB and what he’s been working on at his new firm.
MHN: When did you join BSB and what was your thinking when you decided to make this move?
Osburn: I joined BSB in August 2013. Having known the firm since college, I was familiar with them and their work. I had been content at Humphreys Partners Architects, but this was an opportunity to oversee a “small” firm within a mid-size operation with the goal to grow it to be the largest multifamily architecture firm. As with all things [in our lives], we need to be challenged and motivated professionally.
MHN: What are you working on at BSB right now?
Osburn: Since joining BSB, I’ve been adjusting back-of-house items from marketing to a different business plan and growth model nationally. We are starting a media release promotion about my coming over to BSB as well.
MHN: What longer-term plans and goals does BSB have over the next few years?
Osburn: Our five-year plan is a moderately aggressive plan to gradually gain market share in the areas we currently operate within, and to look for new opportunities as well. The diversification of product types, and promotion from past experiences the firm has done, will help tell our story on why to use us. The goal is to be the largest multifamily firm in the U.S. in five years.
MHN: What’s the most interesting thing about being in the apartment industry these days?
Osburn: Good question. We are still in the best market segment and it’s continuing to grow. The lending/equity sides are very bullish still, and the design challenges for creative diversification have been enjoyable—whether from the developer or jurisdictional side. A larger percentage of developers are allowing the design teams to be more creative to set [their multifamily product] apart from the competition. It’s nice too see that happening more.
MHN: What’s the biggest challenge facing multifamily developers right now?
Osburn: Rising construction costs due to limited labor pool of resources, DC’s involvement (no shortage of topics here), and entitlements are taking longer to obtain approvals from what we’ve seen.
MHN: Anything else you’d like to add?
Osburn: Somebody once shared with me a “TIB” (this I believe). He said, “Find a passion for something you want to do the rest of your life, learn from the best, then go and embrace what you have learned and make it better.” I had a great mentor who taught me about the business of architecture.