Sixteen years ago, she started with the organization in a clerical capacity. Since then, Margaret St. Andre, RPA, manager of Property Acquisitions and Administration, Corporate Real Estate Services, at The Auto Club Group (ACG), Dearborn, MI, has never looked back. Business savvy, boundless energy, and a confident “we can do it” enthusiasm have meant several moves up within the facility structure of the nation’s third largest AAA (American Automobile Association) club. Currently, she manages a staff of six individuals whose responsibilities include build-out, leasing, property acquisition and disposition, brokerage, administrative services, and more.
Over her tenure, St. Andre and her staff have been instrumental in implementing facilities-related corporate changes across the network of multiple sites. “The ACG portfolio now contains Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Nebraska,” explains St. Andre. “As part of our new growth and expansion (the group of companies offers insurance, road service, and travel services, segregated into club membership and property casualty insurance categories), we have shifted gears from locations in primarily owned facilities to leased office space in retail strips for our insurance sales force to sell the brand. That has just taken off; in Michigan, we’re now up to approximately 100 locations.”
St. Andre and her staff are responsible for Michigan offices, as well as leasing activity in the state of Wisconsin. “Our typical full-service branch office in Michigan, if we were to own it, is around 9,000 square feet in size. We’re finding as we spread these insurance and travel sales offices into retail, however, that they’re smaller – somewhere between 1,500 to 2,500 square feet.”
With such changes under way presently and into the future, St. Andre points to her staff as a group that can get things done. “They are wonderful, and they work well with each other. I like the fact that there’s never a dull moment here, but that requires each individual’s flexibility, positive attitude, and ability to handle multi-faceted disciplines. Maybe it’s the size of our organization that drives it, but if you have the ambition to grow, you’ll definitely do it here.”
Growth opportunities and a voice that can be heard? Yes, says St. Andre, noting how her group will be involved in near-term decisions of how a branch should look: “They are ecstatic,” she says.
Linda K. Monroe (email@example.com) is editorial director at Buildings magazine.