Year in Review

Posted By: Perry Pillow Dimensions Online,
Bigger, Stronger, Better, Together – 2021 Year in Review

Our AATC family overcame unprecedented challenges in 2021 and emerged bigger, stronger, better, and, most importantly, together.  Last year brought unexpected volunteer and staff leadership changes; the AATC office sale; financial audit; rescheduling of events; and initiation of a potential unification with the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas.  AATC’s volunteer and staff leadership teams embraced these unparalleled circumstances and provided extraordinary advocacy, education, communication, and networking services to our members.

AATC’s 55-year history deserves reflection; AATC’s future demands resolve.  As you read the below year in review, remember, you are a part of an amazing professional trade association:  the AATC family.

The Leadership Team:

AATC 2021 volunteer and staff leadership who skillfully guided AATC through last year include executive officers:   President Michael Payne, Allmark; Treasurer Patty Utley, BH Management; Secretary Cayce Coon, Madera; Vice President Jeff Duerstock, Spruce; Past President Nicolle Block, Brookfield; and Past President Candy Maxey, Greystar.  AATC’s 2021 Board of Directors were Becca Brown, Lowes Pro Supply; Brenda Carpenter, MFI; Bob Duff, Valet Waste; Mike Follis,; John Gillespie, WAK; Lani Grant, Zumper; Anita Hord, RPM; Keith McAndrew, Precision Appliance Leasing; Nicole McQuarry, American Landmark; April Royal, Capstone; Tony Sims, Century AC; Charles Stroud, Liberty Rent; Sarah Turner, Olympus; Emily Watson, Lantower; and Nicole Zaitoon, Allied.  Ex-officio directors were Amy Alvarez, MFI; Lane Beene, Pilot Properties; Bryan Downer, CEC; Natalie Duke, Reliant; Kyle Gambrell, Camp; James Giddens, Sherwin-Williams; Adam Keck, HD Supply; Cindi Scoggins, Westdale; and Laura Williams, ALN.  AATC’s professional staff includes Perry Pillow, Sheila Wiggin, Ed Blinn, Gregory Ann Goldrick, and Annie Williams.  


Under the leadership of Treasurer Patty Utley and assisted by AATC staff members Sheila Wiggin and Donna Merrill, AATC underwent a full audit and received a very favorable report from the outside audit firm.  During the past twelve months, AATC transitioned to new integrated management and accounting software. AATC moved our leadership and program years to coincide with AATCs fiscal year, each now beginning on Jan 1. And we are in the process of merging our for-profit subsidiary (API) into our non-profit (AATC). AATC finished 2021 with $1.9 million in assets with a reserve fund totaling $745k. Cayce Coon will serve as 2022 AATC treasurer.

Origin Stories:

AATC is nationally recognized as a thought leader and center of excellence for the multifamily industry, Independent Rental Owners, Leadership Lyceum, and Business Exchange all originated at AATC. This year, AATC initiated an Industry Research Committee to compile and distribute market and economic impact data of AATC members’ assets and operations.  This data will be shared with elected officials, local governments, business associations, media, and educational institutions.   Countless multifamily industry owner/operates and supplier partners across the nation benefit from AATC’s creativity and foresight.   AATC Past President Nicolle Block led our 2021 Leadership Lyceum.  Our 2021 Lyceum graduates include Lake Barnes, Atlantic-Pacific; Lane Beene, Pilot-Legacy; Becca Brown, Lowe’s Pro Supply; James Buford, American Landmark; James Giddens, Sherwin Williams; Hayli Johnson, City Gate; Malia Mims, Westdale; Melissa Minucci, LumaCorp; TJ Sanders, Madera Residential; and Nicole Zaitoon, Allied Property. During the past 16 years, AATCs Lyceum has inspired and empowered 93 DFW multifamily housing leaders including 12 AATC presidents and 2 TAA presidents as well as leaders of several NAA affiliates. Lyceum graduate April Royal will serve as our 2022 Leadership Lyceum chair.    

Our 2022 Board Secretary, Bryan Downer, Community Enrichment Center, led another successful year for our independent rental owner's group.  AATC IRO sponsored by Sherwin-Williams met five times in 2021 to discuss issues relevant to small-volume rental owners including eviction moratoriums, property taxes, legislative updates, time-saving tips, and resident resources. 

Emily Watson and AATC staff member Annie Williams led the 2021 AATC/AAGD Business Exchange presented by Lowe’s Pro Supply.  This year’s event featured a panel discussion of DFW industry executives as well as our traditional one-on-one networking time during which 276 owner/manager executives from 58 companies and 260 supplier partners from 142 companies discussed the latest multifamily housing industry products and services. This year’s event raised more than $110,000 for the NAA PAC.


AATC proactively advocates on behalf of our members’ interests with local, state, and national government officials.  AATC advocacy is a 24/7 365 enterprise.  Led by AATC Government Affairs Committee Chair John Gillespie and staff member Perry Pillow, AATC initiated and responded to a wide variety of federal, state, and local advocacy issues. In 2021, AATC members and staff had more than sixty discussions with community leaders including the entire Tarrant County congressional delegation, councilmembers from the cities of Arlington, Fort Worth, Burleson, Hurst, and Mansfield, justices of the peace, constables, and county officials. 

AATC members and staff met with police, fire, code enforcement, development, housing, community development, and solid waste department officials in Arlington, Bedford, Euless, Fort Worth, Grapevine, and Hurst.  AATC participated in two county commissioner town hall meetings and 2 Arlington Multifamily Workshops. We published AATC’s 10th annual Municipal Fees & Tax Survey, worked with Fort Worth on veterans as well as affordable housing initiatives and we launched discussions regarding multi-family zoning and development incentives throughout the DFW Metroplex. Critical to pandemic-related concerns, AATC initiated conversations on refugee and military veteran housing with Fort Worth officials and helped our members navigate rental assistance programs in Arlington, Fort Worth, and Tarrant County. Nicole Zaitoon will serve as our 2022 GAC chair.

In 2021, the AATC PAC trustees contributed $47,500 to local and state candidates and our Golf Committee chaired by Kyle Gambrell raised more than $69,000 for AATC PAC. AATC’s 2021 Spring Fling Tournament presented by On Duty Tree & Landscape was a sellout and extra sponsorships and a record number of party passes were sold as well. The Fall Golf Classic presented by SRT was also successful.  John Brandes will serve as our 2022 Golf chair.

Career Development:

AATC’s career development programs, seminars, conferences, and classes thrived in 2021, Led by Sarah Turner and staff director Gregory Ann Goldrick, the AATC Education Committee developed more than thirty-five education class sessions plus ten legal webinars featuring AATC’s legal experts attended by more than 1,000 AATC members. AATC pivoted, adapted, and overcame COVID, winter freeze, and building sales to provide our members the educational opportunity they need to be successful.  

AATC granted education scholarships in 2021 to seven deserving members including one CALP, one CAM, and 5 CAMT graduates 

In 2021, 125 AATC members attended our TAA Lease with the Best seminar presented by AATC member attorney Kimberly Sims. This year, we graduated over sixty-three candidates in the NAAEI credential programs (CALP, CAM, CAMT, and CAS). AATC’s Annual Education Conference – ACCELERATE 2021 was a huge success! Keynote speakers were Olympic Gold Medalists Carly Patterson and Field Doc Patton. ACCELERATE 2021 also featured Tracy Cherry, Katy Polanco, Lissi Daniels, and Sarah Turner.  Katy Polanco has graciously accepted to chair the 2022 education committee. 


Charles Stroud and staff members Donna Merrill and Sheila Wiggin led AATC’s membership, which grew to more than 1,790 members with 228,000 units this year.  AATC had a net gain of thirty-one members and more than 10,100 units. 

Led by Jeff Duerstock and staff member Annie Williams our NextGen committee delivered content throughout the year including association engagement, community engagement, and networking engagement. We pushed the message of “I am proof” to highlight the benefit of employers empowering their people to learn and grow both personally and professionally. The group joined the AAGD NextGen group for a happy hour before the Toys for Tots Christmas Reception on December 9th in Dallas. Becca Brown will serve as our 2022 NextGen chair.

Becca Brown and staff director Ed Blinn guided AATC’s Product/Service Council in 2021.  This year, our supplier partners enjoyed programs featuring Tracy Cherry, Heather Cotten, Jessica Vo, Sarah Turner, Susan Garner-O'Brien, and Kathy Gibbs.


AATC presented outstanding networking opportunities in 2021 including Lone Star Awards, Trade Show, Maintenance Mania, and Fall Festival.  Amy Alvarez and staff member Ed Blinn led our 2021 The Trade Show that featured 184 booths assigned to 152 supplier companies with more than nine hundred attendees and over eight hundred exhibitors. After the 2020-2021 Maintenance Mania season was canceled, and after rescheduling twice, Adam Keck and staff member Annie Williams hosted our Maintenance Mania event with over 250 competitors and over five hundred spectators. Angel Diaz with Highmark was our overall winner yet again.

This wild and crazy year kicked off with the most unique LSA event AATC had ever seen, taking the whole thing outdoors (in January!) at the Texas Motor Speedway infield. The LSA Task Force met in April, which resulted in five additional categories being added to this year’s awards. Nominations opened on October 1 and remained open through the end of the Trade Show. We had just over four hundred nominations submitted with 226 individuals nominated and forty-two communities nominated.  The 2022 Lone Star Leadership Celebration will be on January 21 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The first-ever AATC Fall Festival presented by DeFord’s was held on Saturday, October 23rd at Trinity Forest Adventure Park. More than 300 AATC members and their families attended our Fall Festival. Great job Jon Brandes, Chris Lee, and Annie Williams.  


Natalie Duke and staff member Ed Blinn led our internal and external communication efforts in 2021.  AATC responded to media inquiries regarding eviction moratoriums, affordable housing, and property taxes.  AATC maintained a strong social media presence and electronic communication this past year.  Over the past year, the AATC Marketing committee agreed that all advertisers will be presented in an online social media campaign to recognize their investment with AATC. Additionally, in an effort to drive new advertisers, or keep current ones, the proposal was made to create a group of board members that would be willing to have one-on-one face time with new advertisers. Over the past year, AATCNET.ORG has experienced 111,484 Pageviews with a total of 26,220 users encompassing over 40,000 sessions. Facebook reached a peak average is 186 per post. There are currently 2,225 page likes for our FB page.

Community Service: 

Bob Duff and staff member Annie Williams led this year’s AATC community service initiatives. We took the UGM Christmas in July event to a whole new level by bringing in bounce houses, a dunk tank, a DJ, and a caricature artist. Our UGM Charity Bowling Tournament presented by Earthworks brought in over $25K for Union Gospel Mission. The AAGD and AATC membership raised $100,000 and celebrated this record by presenting the “toy mountain” to The US Marine Corps at the Toys for Tots Christmas Reception.  This amazing year concluded with a feel-good favorite, serving lunch and singing Christmas Carols to the residents and guests of UGM on December 17th.