Charleston area apartment group seeks 'diamonds' in the rough - or anywhere else

Abberly Crossing opened on Palmetto Commerce Parkway in the fall. The Ladson-based complex is an example of the strong apartment market in the Charleston area (File/Jim Parker/Staff).

A local trade organization for rental properties uses the name of a rare gem to highlight its dozen top honors, which are now open for nominations.

The Charleston Apartment Association set a Jan. 13 deadline to recommend professionals for its Diamond Awards. At least a dozen trophies will be presented March 14 in a Diamond awards ceremony at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston.

According to the association, the yearly awards competition is aimed at "celebrating excellence in the multifamily housing industry."

The awards developed in response to the group's promotion of the four Cs - "commitment to service, community quality, champion team effort and creative application of knowledge and skills." With the four Cs in mind, association members are asked to nominate property management professionals who excel in these areas.

Recommendations require a written statement for each person nominated explaining why they should be rewarded, according to the association. Nominees also must attend the March ceremony.

There are eight individual honors including:

- Brilliance Award, for Leasing Professional of the Year

- Marquis Award, for Manager of the Year

- Metallic Award, for Vendor of the Year

- Onyx Award, for Regional Manager of the Year

- Pave Award, for Maintenance Technician of the Year

- Radiant Award, for Groundskeeper of the Year

- Tiffany Award, for Assistant Manager of the Year

- Trillion Award, for Maintenance Supervisor of the Year

The association offers four group honors. They consist of:

- Hope Diamond Award, for Community of the Year that's new-10 years old

- Regent Diamond Award, for Community of the Year 11-20 years old

- Excelsior Diamond Award, for Community of the Year 21-30 years old

- Century Diamond Award, for Community of the Year 31 years plus.

Submit nominations to

Organized in October 1993, the Charleston Apartment Association says on its website that it helps promote the industry's professional advancement and monitors governmental actions involving the apartment business in greater Charleston.

The association includes a board of directors and a four-member "executive board."

Wendy Tucker, a Lowcountry native and senior regional manager with Greystar, serves as president. She has more than 20 years of experience in the apartment industry. In 2012, Tucker won Greystar's Regional Manager of the Year for the Carolinas.

Lisa Pelloni, vice president, started in property management in 1991. Within six years, she rose to regional property manager for Churchill Forge Properties overseeing 11 multifamily communities totaling 2,152 units. She formed Wilco Properties in 2007 and is the president. Christy Dukes serves as secretary. She began her career 15 years ago on the property side of the business and switched to the vendor side a decade ago. She is vice president of sales and relocation for Furniture Services Inc. and ACRS. The treasurer, Shawn Livingston Ehret, serves as community manager at Edgewater Plantation in Mount Pleasant. The Savannah native became an assistant manager with Carter-Haston Real Estate Services in 2007. In 2012, she transferred to the Charleston area to run 360-unit Edgewater Plantation for Carter-Haston.

Katie Chapman heads the staff. The Florence native graduated from the College of Charleston and formerly worked with the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. According to the CAA website, "she has a passion for travel and the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Events planned this year include the S.C. Apartment Association Legislative Day at the S.C. Statehouse in Columbia on Feb. 5 and a local tradeshow May 7 at the Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant. The group publishes CAA Legislative Pulse, "a monthly newsletter designed to keep Charleston Apartment Association members abreast of topical political news impacting the industry."

For more information, visit

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or