Distinguished Speaker Series: Jermaine Gause ’12, Investments Manager at AvalonBay Communities
Jermaine Gause will participate in the Baker Program’s Annual Young Alumni Panel on Thursday, March 30
Jermaine Gause is currently an Investments Manager at AvalonBay Communities, an equity REIT with a long-term track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing distinctive multifamily properties in some of the best U.S. markets. Gause is based in the Boston office and performs wide-ranging duties, including acquisition, disposition, due diligence and redevelopment work.
Jermaine Gause found his calling in real estate while attending Cornell as an undergrad, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in City and Regional Planning in 2004.
“I spent my summers figuring out what I wanted to do, so I worked for the DC office of planning my sophomore year, and the Neighborhood Development Company my junior year,” recalls Gause. “Although it’s valuable to have a planning background, I found that I wanted to be the one on the implementation side. I ended-up working as a Financial Analyst at ING Clarion Partners out of school, then going back to work in development, for the East of the River Community Development Corporation a few years later… I always had my eye on development, so I jumped at the first chance I got.”
Gause utilized his class experience from Professor Brad Olson’s Real Estate Development Process class, and applied it to his new job as a Project Manager. Working in a small shop, he was able to develop a broad set of competencies through development work in a variety of functions, and succeeded in getting two projects off the ground. Later, he went back to work for the Neighborhood Development Company as a Development Manager for a year and a half. “I focused on pre-development work, so we would work through entitlements, design, and approvals, then hand the project off to the construction team.” As the Great Recession took hold and development projects dried up, Gause found that going back to school was the best option. He reconnected with Olson, whom recommended the Baker Program in Real Estate.
Back at Cornell, Gause focused on tailoring his curriculum towards investment, one of the benefits of the flexible Master’s Program. He took Real Estate Finance and Investments from Professor Jack Corgel and Hospitality Asset Management from Professor Jan de Roos to gain familiarity with the financing and management of real estate assets. He spent his summer internship as a Summer Asset Management Associate at Host Hotels and Resorts, where he produced a variety of financial models, reports, asset profiles, market overviews, and strategic plans for thirteen upscale hotels.
Throughout his time at the Baker Program, Gause connected to and stayed in touch with Cornell alumni and other individuals working in organizations that he wanted to pursue after graduation. Gause reflected that his experience with other property types in different functions helped him apply his skillset across the industry. Gause stated that “I felt that having an understanding and exposure to development, acquisitions, and asset management makes for a more holistic professional, while also providing the necessary skill sets for each stage in the market cycle. It helps tremendously, especially early on: knowing how a multifamily building operates, or what to look for in construction quality are crucial skills for an acquisition process.”
Through maintaining conversations at the firm, RLJ Lodging Trust hired Gause out of the Baker Program to work on their Acquisition and Investment Analysis Team, where he underwrote premium-branded and independent hotels in gateway markets. He joined AvalonBay Communities in 2014, where he is currently seeking and evaluating property acquisition.