The FORT Podcast: Fort’s 2020 Year In Review

Fort COO, Jason Baxter, returns to discuss Fort’s 2020 ‘Year in Review’. On this episode, Chris and Jason discuss the processes implemented in 2019 that helped our team through the pandemic in 2020, starting a property management company, doubling down on industrial, key improvements made to the team, the importance of technology & AI for your business, and much more. Listen here: Click here to read Fort’s 2020 Annual Letter.

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(00:52) – What are the things we did as a company as it relates to COVID? What did we do in 2019 that positioned us for success?

(04:45) – The Flywheel at Fort

Turning the Flywheel by Jim Collins

(10:13) – The First 2 Months of 2020 and Getting Into Property Management

Fort 2018 Year in Review

Fort 2019 Year in Review

(14:22) – Why We Selected Yardi

(16:17) – Onboarding our Properties Pre-COVID and During COVID

(16:57) – Doubling Down on Industrial

(20:39) – COR Improvements in 2020 [Cutting Costs & Managing Data]

(25:33) – Working With the Banks

FORT Episode #59 with James Hill (On Banking)

(29:02) – What are some key things we did to improve the company on a department level?

(34:05) – Improving Investor Reporting

(36:38) – The Importance of Technology to Make Your Business Better

(41:01) – Some of the Tools We’ve Built and How We’re Thinking About Acquisitions in 2021

(45:05) – The Predictability Score

(54:08) – Fort’s Acquisition Consultant Program & Broker Incentive Program

(58:27) – Final Stats for 2020 (Closing, Raising, Investors) and Goals for 2021

(1:00:58) – Our Shameless Ask & What Fort is Looking For

(1:01:40) – Final Thoughts and Goals Looking at 2021


Episode Summary

Jason Baxter, not merely a guest but a pivotal player in our operational and strategic landscape, shares the virtual stage with Chris, weaving through a tapestry of topics that encompass the trials, triumphs, and strategies that have sculpted the company’s journey, especially amidst the unprecedented challenges presented by the 2020 global pandemic.

Embarking on a reflection of the past year, the dialogue elucidates a journey marked by agility, strategic recalibration, and a relentless pursuit of growth, even amidst the turbulent waves of the pandemic. A notable theme that permeates through the conversation is the incorporation and integration of technology, not as a reactionary measure, but as a calculated and forward-thinking strategy to enhance operational efficiency and optimize our acquisition endeavors. Chris and Jason delve into the nuances of adopting a technologically intensive accounting software amidst a crisis, revealing an intrinsic belief in leveraging technology to navigate through challenges and optimize operations.

As the dialogue unfolds, listeners are navigated through the strategic corridors of Fort, exploring the meticulous and often intricate process of building acquisitions. From identifying prospective assets to establishing and nurturing relationships with potential sellers, the discussions reveal a systematic and relationship-oriented approach to acquisitions. The strategic integration of machine learning stands out, showcasing a confluence of technological advancement and strategic acumen, where algorithms discern patterns and provide insights that inform and optimize acquisition strategies, reflecting a harmonious marriage between technology and strategic investment practices within the company.

An insightful exploration into the realm of relationship-building and communication, especially in the context of tenant onboarding and management, unveils a structured and empathetic approach. Through strategic communication and an understanding of the correlation between tenant treatment and operational efficacy, we not only enhance our relationship with tenants but also solidifies its operational foundation, ensuring stability and consistency in asset management.

The conversation also spirals into the realms of crisis management, revealing our approach towards maintaining investor and lender confidence, especially amidst the financial strains induced by the pandemic. The dialogue underscores a balanced approach between financial management and relational management, where transparent communication, adherence to commitments, and strategic financial navigation enhanced and solidified relationships with investors and lenders.

Navigating through market dynamics, the dialogue also unveils a strategic shift towards capitalizing on emerging opportunities, particularly in the industrial asset realm, amidst the recovering market. The discussion underscores a calculated risk-taking and strategic agility that enabled the company to not merely navigate through the challenges but also to identify and leverage opportunities, ensuring sustained growth and stability in a volatile market.

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts

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