Twenty-seven years ago, Kent Massie joined The Breeden Co., thinking it would be "a job between jobs." Nearly three decades later, he's happy to be out in the field with co-workers who treat him just like family.
And new employees are quickly welcomed into the family-like fold, said Brian Sagedy, who joined Breeden about six months ago.
"The Breeden Co. is very much like a family, which I very much like," Sagedy said. "Everyone helps you, looks out for you. You don't kind of just get put out on your own to try and figure it out if you're not sure." Sagedy is the assistant manager at one of the company's Virginia Beach properties. He joined the company as a front-end leasing agent, gained an understanding of how the company interacts with residents and has since been promoted to assistant manager.
"It very much feels like each person looks out for each other, and they kind of do little things to make your day go better and flow better, so that way, you're kind of having a good time," Sagedy said.
Massie started off working in landscaping and today continues to play a key role in the company's operation side in the field. Working hard to fit the right person in the right position lays a foundation for mutual success and growth, said Barry Tomlin, Breeden's vice president of operations for the residential apartment division. In that capacity, he oversees all aspects of the company's apartment portfolio, including grounds, financial issues and customer service.
An example of positive attention is what the company calls maintenance appreciation week. Each July, Tomlin said, "those of us here in the executive level and corporate office, we will go to all of our properties throughout that week from North Carolina, back to Richmond and down to the Beach, Newport News - the whole Tidewater area -and we will do a cookout," or rent an ice cream truck and serve the maintenance staff at Breeden properties to show appreciation of their hard work.
The concern extends to clients and customers, too, because as a real estate development property management company, "we're really dealing with so many individuals' homes and personal lives. It's not necessarily a transactional-based business," Tomlin said. "We're not a hotel where you might come in for one night and we may never see you again. When you come in our door, we want you to stay with us forever."
Tomlin said the outlook for the company's business sector is positive. Breeden owns and manages nearly all of its properties and is very selective in making land purchases, which puts the company in a favorable position, Tomlin said.
"We weathered the storm of 2009 to 2011 very well," due to having a diverse portfolio of residential and commercial real estate. In addition, the company has expanded beyond Hampton Roads into Richmond and Fredericksburg.
Back in this region, "we've been told we're the best-kept secret in Virginia Beach, because we're quiet," Tomlin said. "We don't like to brag about who we are or what we do. We come to work, we do a good job. We provide quality housing for people that need it, and that's what we focus on."
At eight years in, Tomlin said he's still a relative newcomer. Most people who work there have been with the company 15 years or more, and the most senior employees have been with the company nearly 50 years.
"It's the tenure that this company brings from the employees.... It's just an all-around good company to work for, and I've worked for some Fortune 500 companies, and this one is top-notch," Tomlin said.
- Nate Delesline III
About the company
The Breeden Co., which includes Breeden Construction, Breeden Realty and Breeden Property Management, is a nationally recognized real estate services company with more than 50 years in the industry.
Address 560 Lynnhaven Pkwy., Virginia Beach 23452
Top executive Ramon Breeden Jr., founder and chief executive officer
Employees 252 full-time
Benefits include Health, dental and life insurance; disability; vacation and sick days; 12-week maternity leave; one paid day each quarter for volunteer work; flexible scheduling; telecommuting; "Breeden Bucks" - accrued and can be exchanged for Visa gift cards; monthly property bonus; monthly leasing and renewal bonuses; annual property bonuses; 401(k) with a 25 percent match; coffee and snacks at all locations; employees' cars are washed on Thursdays
Fun factor Quarterly "You Rock" event, where employees vote for a colleague who has gone above and beyond that quarter, concluding with a themed luncheon; annual company picnic, where entertainment options include volleyball, tug of war, inflatable obstacle courses, mechanical bull riding, sumo wrestling and - new this year - a Breeden Idol competition
Community service Increased jeans day to once per month, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society; created regional email groups so if employees want to organize a group volunteer day, it would allow them to take ownership of causes they were passionate about and reach out to see if anyone else wants to participate with them; each quarter, the company sponsors employees - if they so choose - in a charity event or race of their choosing (i.e., "Dirty Girl Mud Run," "Shamrock" races, "Warrior Dash," etc.) as part of "The Breeden Team"