Cultivating Growth: Jennifer Trent’s Leadership in a Commercial Property Management

“I was born and bred in a REIT,” says Jennifer Trent, CPM, CRRP, Principal and Director of Asset & Property Management with NAI Southcoast, based in Stuart, FL, when asked, “what has been the key to her success in commercial real estate?”

In other words, Trent brought the playbook from a publicly traded real estate corporation to a tertiary market where property investors didn’t have the sophisticated level of management that she learned as a property manager in a larger market—from Deerfield Beach to Vero Beach. At the time, she worked for a Real Estate Investment Trust (Equity One, which was acquired by another retail REIT in 2016, Regency Centers Corp.). The details include knowing how corporate financials and reporting works, using policies and procedures as guiding principles, looking at property from the bottom up and knowing how to maximize a property’s value. She also knew how to read lease documents, handle risk management (in a hurricane-prone zone), coordinate construction management and oversee assets in different situations, such as receivership and through CMBS services.

“There are a million different facets of commercial real estate and that’s what makes it so interesting. One day you are dealing with city councils, commissioners and attorneys, and another with local engineers in a public works department to figure out easements and parking ratios associated with real estate,” she says.

Trent joined Southcoast, Inc. in 2005, which subsequently joined NAI Global in 2009 to become NAI Southcoast, a market with approximately 1.3 million people in Martin, Brevard, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties, which are sometimes called the Treasure Coast and in Brevard’s case, the Space Coast. Trent and her partners, Nik Schroth, CCIM, Stuart Duffin, SIOR, CCIM and Doug Legler eventually purchased the firm from its founder, Boyd G. Bradfield, Jr., GRI, CCIM, SIOR, who remains with the firm as one of its agents.

NAI Southcoast currently has a total crew of 27 between brokers, property managers, maintenance technicians, accounting, marketing and administrative staff, and the office is growing.  The partners of NAI Southcoast also formed a construction company, SCP Construction and Development, LLC in 2021 to further provide services to current clients and the larger market.

Under Trent’s management, its property management unit has grown from 750,000 square feet under management in 2019 to 2.25 million square feet now, comprised of offices, retail, and industrial properties. She has also carved out a niche in commercial condominium and commercial property association management.

Originally from Kentucky (she started out as a residential real estate agent), Jennifer Trent and her husband moved to South Florida in their early 20s to start new careers.  Married for 22 years, she and her husband have two daughters (ages 10 and 16) and a 10-year-old goldendoodle, Steve. Both are active in the community through volunteerism and their church, having served on multiple charity boards over the years and the family loves to travel and enjoy the outdoors in their spare time. 

Jennifer is a board member of the NAI Global Women’s Alliance Council, a board member of the Property Management Council and most recently was appointed to NAI Global’s Executive Leadership Board. The mission of this board is to provide proactive leadership to increase the profitability, professionalism, capability, integrity and standards of practice that reinforce and generate mutual trust and respect throughout the enterprise. The Board fosters and promotes activities, education and communication that elevate the level of engagement and productivity of the NAI network at-large.  

“My teammates and I determined some time ago to be as involved as possible with the NAI Global platform and colleagues to grow and promote our regional business in Florida, which is a professional way of saying that you get out of something what you put into it. It’s an honor to join the Executive Leadership Board,” Trent said.