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Thought Leadership | Jun. 13, 2024

Q&A: Stephen Koen on Link Parks’ ‘Incredibly Rewarding’ Work

Q&A: Stephen Koen on Link Parks’ ‘Incredibly Rewarding’ Work

As Link Parks’ vice president, Property Operations, Stephen Koen manages a diverse set of functions that add value for customers. Here, he discusses the importance of creating a sense of community at Link Parks properties, how the organization collaborates across departments and why he loves supporting small business owners.  

You have extensive experience in real estate but joined Link Parks relatively recently. What are some of your favorite aspects of your new role since starting this spring? 

So many of our customers are small businesses, and it’s incredibly rewarding to champion the dreams of entrepreneurs in this role. Getting to know these customers and understand their businesses is fascinating, as small businesses drive a significant part of the U.S. economy. It’s amazing to see the unique parts they play in satisfying consumer needs and fitting into the distribution supply chain. Many of our Link Parks customers have never signed a commercial lease before so this is a deeply meaningful step for them and their businesses. We support their success however we can, including by providing simplified lease templates, implementing tech-enabled solutions and creating a sense of community at our parks. We want to make real estate easier for customers so they can focus on growing their businesses. It’s satisfying to help place customers in spaces where they can thrive.  

You mentioned creating a sense of community at the parks. How does that support customers’ success? 

We hold many customer events at our parks, where we invite people to gather over food and drinks, and it’s inspiring to see the impact of these gatherings. The same goes for our “Link Ups,” where our property managers meet with customers to understand their businesses, goals and needs. But the customer events are special because they always lead to interesting interactions among the entrepreneurs in our spaces. I am constantly overhearing conversations as they trade notes and pepper one another with questions: “How did you start? What’s your story? Where are you now?” These interactions create synergies between businesses, not only from a distribution standpoint but also from an educational perspective. Customers learn from each other’s experiences and successes. Our goal through these events is to create an environment that fosters connections and sparks ideas between entrepreneurs while we focus on, again, making real estate easy for our Link Parks customers.    

Can you say a little more about the tech-enabled solutions you mentioned earlier? 

Absolutely. One great example is Link+, our digital platform that gives customers instant access to lease documents, key building details, work orders, bill payments and more at the touch of a button. It drives value for customers through efficiency. Link+ also exemplifies how we at Link Parks benefit from being part of the larger Link Logistics firm. The platform was developed in-house by the Link Logistics team and now works to the advantage of our customers at Link Parks. 

It sounds like you are responsible for leading a lot of collaboration between different Link Parks functions. How do different teams collaborate to support the business and its customers? 

One great example is having our Leasing, Construction and Property Management teams in-house. This is advantageous for customers because decisions can be made faster. It’s especially beneficial for small businesses when their on-site contact is often the decision-maker, meaning they can get issues solved and questions answered faster. Our property managers build strong, trust-based relationships with customers, almost like extended family. Having all these departments in-house enhances communication and efficiency. I’ve worked in commercial real estate for more than 15 years now and was a property manager myself earlier in my career. From Leasing to Property Management to Marketing, I’ve never seen a company with such connectivity between its functions. This synergy ultimately improves efficiency for both us and the businesses that use our space to grow. 

About Link Parks

Link Parks is the business park division of Link Logistics, the largest U.S.-only operator of industrial real estate. With more than 450 buildings and 13 million square feet nationwide, at Link Parks we provide high-quality space in key metro areas to support our customers.

About Link Logistics

Link Logistics is a leading operator of last-mile logistics real estate. As of March 31, 2024, Link Logistics serves approximately 10,000 customers and owns, has interests in, manages or has under development logistics facilities that will represent a total of 533 million square feet across key U.S. distribution markets. Established by Blackstone in 2019, Link Logistics has the scale, footprint and proprietary insights, as well as a focus on sustainability, to drive value for our customers and stakeholders. For more information regarding the Company, please visit www.linklogistics.com.

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