DDR’s Management Training Program is designed to build future leaders in the organization. In 2000, senior management created the program with the belief that talent should be developed from within the organization, acknowledging a unique opportunity to hire high-performing college students, historically overlooked in an industry (commercial real estate) overly focused on experience. Since 2000, the program has produced six Executive Committee Members and Corporate Officers of the Company.
This unique 18-month rotation-based program exposes individuals to the key operating departments of the organization to develop trainees into well-rounded real estate professionals. Rotational assignments are based on individual career development goals as well as the business needs of DDR. A strong interest in the commercial real estate industry is essential.
The Management Training Program consists of six three-month rotations in key operating departments of the Company. Once rotations are successfully completed, trainees will be placed into a permanent position and department. Typical rotations are completed within some variation of the following departments: Leasing, Development, Asset Management, Investor Relations, Transactions, Capital Markets, and National Accounts.
College recruiting begins in September of each year, and formal offers are typically extended in December. Interested students should submit a cover letter and résumé here. As applications are reviewed, phone interviews will be conducted, followed by office interviews at the Company’s headquarters in Beachwood (Cleveland), OH. Rotations begin in June every year and are reset every three months thereafter.
The Management Training Program at DDR has produced the following Corporate Officers and Executive Committee Members at the Company:
BRYAN P. ZABELL
Senior Vice President of Leasing
Class of 2001
Bryan P. Zabell is the Senior Vice President of Leasing, a position in which he is responsible for overseeing all leasing efforts in the Midwest and West. Mr. Zabell also oversees all leasing efforts for DDR’s Specialty Center portfolio, which includes the Company’s 15 properties in Puerto Rico. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Anchor Store Leasing, a department which was launched in 2009 in response to numerous big box retailer bankruptcies and the resulting vacancies caused by the Great Recession. Under the leadership of Mr. Zabell, the anchor store leasing department completed more than 250 big box leases totaling more than 8 million square feet between 2009 and 2014. Mr. Zabell joined DDR in 2001 and was one of the original graduates of the Company’s industry-leading Management Training Program. Mr. Zabell has been a member of the Company’s executive committee since March 2008. Mr. Zabell is a graduate of the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Beachwood.
WILLIAM J. KERN
Senior Vice President of National Accounts
Class of 2002
William J. Kern is the Senior Vice President of National Accounts, a position he assumed in March 2015. In this role, Mr. Kern oversees the Company’s National Accounts and Ancillary Income programs across the portfolio. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Leasing, Senior Vice President of Retail Partnerships, Vice President of Acquisitions & Dispositions, and Vice President of Development – Site Acquisitions. He is a graduate of the Company’s industry-leading Management Training Program. Mr. Kern joined DDR in 2002 and has been a member of the Company’s executive committee since 2007. Mr. Kern is a graduate of Colgate University, earning a bachelor of arts in economics, and is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Summer on the Cuyahoga, a civic leadership program. In 2007, he was recognized as one of “Twenty in their 20’s” by Crain’s Cleveland Business, which recognizes future leaders in Northeast Ohio. Mr. Kern also holds board positions with the Cleveland chapters of the Positive Coaching Alliance and The First Tee.
JEFFREY J. MARTIN
Vice President of Development
Class of 2004
Jeffrey J. Martin is Vice President of Development, a position he assumed in July 2011. Previously he served as Development Director – Redevelopment & Expansions, Development Director - Anchor Store Redevelopment and Development Manager - Southeast Region. He is a graduate of the Company’s industry-leading Management Training Program. Mr. Martin joined DDR in 2004 and has been a member of the company’s executive committee since 2011. Mr. Martin is responsible for overseeing development and redevelopment activity in the Western Region and Puerto Rico. He also leads a few mixed-use development efforts in East Coast markets. Mr. Martin is a graduate of Middlebury College, earning a bachelor of arts in history and he remains active in the College’s alumni admissions program. He is also a member of the Cleveland Leadership Institute and is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce and as a corporate ambassador for Team Impact, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.