NIC Chats Podcast with Brian Sunday

Brian Sunday, Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager at AEW Capital Management— one of the largest real estate asset managers in the world—shares how his mentor helped him see the full potential of the senior housing industry. AEW wants to add value to their operators and takes pride in doing more than just writing a check. Sunday talks with Beth Mace about throwing out AEW’s business plan early on in COVID to ensure their operators had the tools and resources they needed to keep residents and employees safe, and what he believes is the biggest challenge facing the industry.  

Introduction: (00:02)
Welcome to NIC Chats, ideas and inspiration from senior living leaders with host Beth Mace, NIC’s chief economist, and director of outreach. Get to know some of the people influencing senior living today and perhaps learn a thing or two from their experiences.

Beth Mace: (00:19)
Hello and welcome to the NIC Chats podcast. My name is Beth Mace and I’m the chief economist and director of the research and analytics team here at NIC. Thank you for joining us today. The focus of the NIC Chats podcast is talking to interesting people that have ideas I think you’d really like to hear about. As you listen today, I hope that you’ll find some humor, insight, inspiration, and hopefully what I call an aha moment when something pithy or insightful is said and a light bulb may go off of you. So let me tell you a little bit about the structure of today’s event. First, I’m gonna tell you three statements about my guest. Two of those will be true and then throughout the podcast you’ll learn which is true and which is false. Second, there are three standard questions within each podcast for each speaker and the first will be “What’s a large challenge facing our industry?” Second, “What’s one thing that we can do to grow talent in our industry?” And third “What’s an innovative way or idea to strengthen our industry?” Now, as I say on with the show. I’m delighted today that our NIC Chat’s podcast guest is Brian Sunday. Brian is managing director and senior portfolio manager for AEW’s senior housing fund series. Brian, thank you for joining us today.

Brian Sunday: (01:36)
Thanks Beth. Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.

Beth Mace: (01:39)
So, as I mentioned, I have three statements about Brian. Two of these are true, and one is not. So we’ll find out, of course, as we go on about, which is true and which is false. So first Brian, you grew up with three brothers and your family instead of having dogs, you had cats. Second, you were valedictorian in your high school. And third, a nickname you have at AEW is Fudge, Fudge Sunday. Now, of course, you’ll have to wait to listen to the entire podcast to hear more about which of those is true. So, Brian, can you tell us a little bit about AEW Capital Management?

Brian Sunday: (02:15)
Sure. So AEW Capital Management is a global real estate investment firm. We are actually owned by a parent company called Natixis Asset Management. And as I mentioned, we are global. We have offices here in the states and our corporate office is Boston and we also have an office in LA, but we have various offices in Europe, and Asia as well. Collectively, globally, we have about a little over 90 billion under management and about half that’s here in North America and half over in Europe. What this firm does is we invest in all aspects of real estate. So, we have funds to focus on core investments, value add investments, opportunistic investments, some niche, investment classes as well. And we also have a regroup who really just focuses on picking equities as well. So we’ve got the whole full spectrum of real estate covered here at AEW.

Beth Mace: (03:13)
And of course you have a top notch research group, right?

Brian Sunday: (03:16)
It used to be top much until you left.

Beth Mace: (03:20)
Full disclosure, I worked with Brian for a long time at AEW. I was in the research group there for 17 years. The research group there is led by Mike Acton, who I’ve known for almost my entire career. So it’s a great group and they contribute a lot to the investment decisions that AEW makes including the senior housing deals.

Brian Sunday: (03:41)
Yep. And we’ll get into that. In case Mike is listening. I was joking. You are still top notch.

Beth Mace: (03:45)
So tell us a little bit about the history of AEW in terms of investing in senior housing.

Brian Sunday: (03:52)
Yeah. So I think, and Beth, please feel free to chime in. We started investing in the space back in the late nineties. And we were probably one of the first institutions along with Prudential to really kind of focus and make senior housing, a big part of our real estate platform. We started through our opportunistic funds first and then we kind of went and did separate accounts with some public state pension funds. And that was really from 2000 to 2007. I came on board in 2005 and the platform was started and was starting to grow. Obviously Beth, you and our ex coworker and my mentor, Chris Kaza took a big big role in really getting AEW to really invest in the space and seeing what the demographics were bringing, seeing the cash flows and really understanding that this is a commercial real estate asset class and it should be, and it was the right decision. We did the separate account up and through 2007 and then in 2009, we started our close ended fund series. Right now we are on our fourth senior housing fund. Collectively across the three funds that are still up and running, we have about 3.5 billion, of assets under management. And that’s equivalent to around 9,000 units, round numbers, that we’re currently managing.

Beth Mace: (05:25)
I was involved when AEW first started investing in the senior housing industry as well as, well PGIM now, but back then it was Prue. So it was kind of a novel thing to be doing because it was an operations business yet it had a real estate focus on that. Is that still the view within like your investment communities and things in terms of looking at this asset type as real estate with an operations intensive business?

Brian Sunday: (05:48)
Correct. I think that’s the key, right? This is an operating business, and I think it took a while, right? Not to get our committee comfortable that similar to hotels and we have invested in hotels as well that operating is the main part of this business. It’s just not real estate. And so I think what we have done and proven, and as an industry has proven, is that even though it is an operational business there is some continuity to it. There is some way to get comfortable that the cash flows are gonna be there. You can structure around risks. You’re protected from that kind of a Black Swan event from a liability perspective. And so in doing that over the years our investment committee has, and will continue to be comfortable investing in this space for the foreseeable future.

Beth Mace: (06:38)
Yeah. So it’s interesting. I mean, back even before seniors housing when AEW would’ve first invested in multifamily, that’s going back now 40 years… Or a long time ago, but it was some of the same considerations because there was risk associated with multifamily too. Now that’s a definitely a core real estate asset type. And I think that we’re seeing senior housing shift from more of a even opportunistic, there are some deals that have still opportunistic, but we’re starting to see it more as core as well.

Brian Sunday: (07:06)
I think it’s already there. I think it was there pre COVID. I think again there’s been a lot of funds… Whether it’s senior housing specific or alternative funds with your big name real estate companies, that have really dedicated teams and platforms and raised money for this space. This space has proven… you can just tell by… where cap rates were pre COVID and what total returns were. I mean, this is a core, plus type, asset class. And I do not see that changing anytime soon.

Beth Mace: (07:43)
Yeah. I totally agree with you on that. So let’s talk a bit about what you do as a portfolio manager for the senior housing funds. What’s involved with that?

Brian Sunday: (07:52)
It’s a great question. I wake up every day and don’t know. As portfolio manager my role is to really oversee our senior housing fund series. From acquisitions to asset management to working with our investors, to working with our research group really making sure we’re understanding the space. And Beth, you still know a lot of these people. I’m lucky to work with a great team here at AEW. A lot of members of this team have been here for a long time that’s really helped and we’ve kind of grown together and we’ve added some really key components along the way. And I always say they make my job a lot easier because they’re so good and take a lot of the pressure off. That’s really it. I would say over the last 20 plus months, it was really putting out fires. We continue to do so, but it’s a team effort and we all work together to kind of keep pushing the funds forward and really trying to achieve the returns. We’re promising our investors.

Beth Mace: (09:00)
A lesson I learned when I was at AEW, was that every day that you hold onto an asset is basically a decision to buy that asset again so that you don’t dispose of it, or you don’t sell it, I guess, would be a better way to say that.

Brian Sunday: (09:13)

Beth Mace: (09:14)
And was that the case during COVID? How did you look at the portfolio during that period?

Brian Sunday: (09:21)
The way I look at it was there’s been different steps going through COVID, right? Obviously I’d call it step one, which is the first three or four months after COVID happened. Then the shutdown was more kind of panic. What’s happening? What’s this mean for the industry in the long term? I kept trying to just look at it on almost a week by week basis. I mean, once you start trying to look out farther than that you got nervous. And so I think during that time, it was really understanding really what this was, what it was going forward and really trying to make the best guess of what was gonna be the effects long term to the asset class and valuation.

Brian Sunday: (10:03)
We didn’t sell anything once COVID started in 2020. I think going into 2021 and where people had a lot better understanding of what this was, the vaccines are coming out, we then were able to kind of go back, like you said, you’re more general buy sell, or sorry, hold sell decisions. And we were able to strategically sell some assets that performed really well during COVID. Just so everyone listening knows, we’re in close ended funds and there’s seven year terms with kind of three one year extensions. And so our second fund, which we launched in 2013, we’re in liquidating mode. And so our job to sell those assets when we can and try to maximize value. And so those were decisions being made. I would say for our funds three and fund four we didn’t have really anything or any the reason to sell. And so we saw the long term value and even in assets that were struggling we knew they would come back and we were prepared to hold those assets for the long term and through all this.

Beth Mace: (11:10)
So, you had fund one. Fund two you’re in the process of liquidating when the time is right. Fund three and fund four. And fund four, was it 500 million?

Brian Sunday: (11:21)
Yeah, just under 500 million. We also have co-investment capital, which kind of pushes just under 600 million. We’ve invested just around 50% of that. And so we have, which I think is really attractive dry powder, like around 225 million. And we forward to the opportunities that we’ll be seeing this year. They started picking up a little bit last year, a little slower, obviously every time that you thought more product would be coming to market it was Delta and then Omicron. And so I think it’s these disruptions will hopefully become fewer we’re are gonna see some really compelling opportunities to put that 225 million to work.

Beth Mace: (12:02)
How do you look at, development versus acquisition?

Brian Sunday: (12:06)

Beth Mace: (12:07)
Yeah. Fair enough. Today.

Brian Sunday: (12:08)
Well, I’ll quickly say in the past we were very bullish on development pre COVID and in our fund structure, we had the ability to do 50% of the commitments in ground up development. And for our fund three we pretty much used all 50% of that. And in our fund four, we still had that same structure. We’ve always liked development in the space. We think it makes sense from a lot of different perspectives. Meaning you can build product cuz the resident profile is ever so changing. So you can build product to kind of hopefully relate or be attractive to the residents that we’re moving in the future years.

Brian Sunday: (12:50)
But fast forward today. And I think development’s a little bit different. I do like it, but the increase in cost. And obviously the challenges on the operating side with expenses and trying to pencil where rents are, the returns are pretty thin. And so does it make sense to develop in a close ended front structure like we have right now giving where the returns are penciling. And so we’re looking at development opportunities. We will continue to develop. We’re being probably more selective than we would’ve been pre COVID and wanna make sure that we really get our arms around the opportunity and doesn’t make sense or is it a good fit for our current and fund structure.

Beth Mace: (13:31)
So Brian, how many operating partners does AEW have in seniors housing, or have had and what do you look for? A lot of people will be listening today to talk to you about what do you look for in an operating partner?

Brian Sunday: (13:44)
It’s a great question. So currently we have about a dozen active relationships and if you go back since we were investing in this 20 years ago, we probably had 25/30 relationships during that time. And everyone knows how important the operator is and how key they are to the success of this for us and with this industry in general. And so the things we look for is we wanna make sure that it’s a good fit. And I say that and it’s kind of a two-way street, right? Does the operator that we want do business with… Do they want a capital partner like us? Is it okay that we’re in a close ended fund and we’ll probably have to sell this asset in five to seven years.

Brian Sunday: (14:28)
Is there things that we can bring to the table rather than just being equity? We really prize ourself on being more than just somebody that can write a check, right? We want to add value to our operators. And so, we do that in a lot of different ways. Beth, as you said, our research group and through your hard work we have this great kind of feasibility analysis that we can quickly do for operators to see what’s certain sites or certain properties, and kind of see what this supply demand analysis looks like. We have a risk management group that really works with operators to try to secure the best insurance. And that’s really kind of for the smaller operators who might not have the quite a pool with the insurance brokers. We have a capital markets group that helps them at that side.

Brian Sunday: (15:15)
So for us, we wanna make sure it’s a fit on both sides. And then just really trying to understand what their business model is. Does a fit for us? And what I mean by that is where are they located? Are they regional? Are they national? Are they local? How many properties do they have? What do they want to be in five years, 10 years? Do they want to grow five assets a year, 20 assets a year. And so these are all things that we consider be before partnering with an operator. And that’s kind of my last point too. I would say 99% of our deals are joint ventures with operators and for us, I think that’s key. And I think a lot operators like that as well. It’s the ownership mentality, it’s the alignment of interest for us and so if an operator’s willing to coinvest and really kind of cements their focus on certain assets and kind of allows again to have that kind of ownership mentality, which hopefully when we do go to sell they’ll be able to get some incentive, or some promote, for all the hard work that they do.

Beth Mace: (16:15)
Yeah. And I know that, Pam Hurps who led the direct investment groups for a long time and Bob Plum always here to talk about alignment of interest as well. And to make sure that there’s an alignment of interest, even if it’s… Bob used to talk about the guy with the back of the pickup truck, as long as he has something in that truck.

Brian Sunday: (16:32)
Exactly. All right. I mean, we’re not operators, right. We don’t pretend to be. And when we do partner with operators, we don’t want to be involved day to day. We just don’t have the knowledge and we partner with them because they do. They have the expertise and we really try to get outta their way. And so one way we do get comfortable is, as you said, is that alignment of interest. Knowing that they have real money in the investment. And we know that they’re gonna get their focus. And that allows us to kind of take that step back and not be like I said, involved on a day to day basis.

Beth Mace: (17:03)
Great. Thanks, Brian. All right. So I said at the beginning of our podcast, we’re gonna talk about a couple things about you. And so I have to ask you, did you have three brothers growing up and did you have cats or dogs?

Brian Sunday: (17:17)
So I did have three brothers growing up. I’m the third. And we did have cats. That is true.

Beth Mace: (17:24)

Brian Sunday: (17:25)
Cats. Yes.

Beth Mace: (17:26)
No dogs?

Brian Sunday: (17:26)
My parents knew that having a dog is a lot more intensive and focused and they knew that growing up, that we would not do any of it. And I think they were probably accurate about that. And so we had cats. And so when we tell people that we grow up with cats, we get a lot of strange looks out there. I will add I have ventured recently in the last two years into my first dog experience. It’s the judgment stuff to be said but there’s something to be said about cats and how easy they are compared to dogs.

Beth Mace: (17:58)
Well, this time you’re the parent, not the kid too. So you have the responsibility.

Brian Sunday: (18:03)
Well, my kids do nothing, so I just like my parents thought so it’s funny how it comes full circle.

Beth Mace: (18:11)
Indeed. Right. Well, I had fish growing up, so there you go. That even took less effort.

Brian Sunday: (18:14)
How long did they survive? Did they actually….

Beth Mace: (18:18)
Oh, pretty long actually. Pretty long. We had Herman the fish, he lived a long life. So let’s talk a bit about your career path. And so we have a lot of people who listen to this podcast are sort of new into the industry. So any lessons learned that you might wanna share with younger folks listening on this call in terms of your career path and how you got to the position that you have, which is a great job.

Brian Sunday: (18:41)
Yeah. I think it’s just quickly… My background… I went to Villanova University and as I said, I was a third brother and I was looking for a major and my older two brothers decide to do the finance and investment banking route. And of course I had to be different. Right. You can’t be the third person to do the same thing. And so I did accounting. And so I graduated the accounting degree and worked at Price Waterhouse. And the second I stepped in there, I realized how much I hated it. So but I stuck with it for two years. Got the CPA and learned a lot. And actually one thing that’s really kind of pushed me into real estate was I was in the real estate auditing group at PWC.

Brian Sunday: (19:22)
And so I was auditing real estate companies. So I got to see a lot of different things about it and I was really attracted to it. And my father worked in real estate too so I was familiar with it and I said, okay, this is the path I want. This is in Philadelphia where I grew up. And then I left to work for a smaller company. Got out accounting and did asset management and said, you know what, I really want to do acquisitions. And so when the opportunity arrived at AEW, in 2005 I moved up to Boston and worked in the acquisition group. And I came in looking to buy office buildings, retail centers, multifamily, and they said, oh, you’re gonna be working on senior housing.

Brian Sunday: (20:03)
I go, what? What’s that? Like, I mean, skilled nursing? Like no senior housing. We have this platform. Like that wasn’t in the job description, right? And so I was a little taken back by it, but obviously I was working with Chris, yourself and some others and I really got to enjoy learning about the industry. And so, I saw a path, right. I mean we were one of the early institutions. You saw demographics. You saw that there was ability to really grow this platform and make really good returns for our investors. And so, kind of followed your and Chris’s path and kind of stuck with it and just said, okay if we can grow this platform, it’s, it’s gonna be a great opportunity for all of us. And I just kind of stuck to that path. And eventually I got rid of focusing on other asset classes, cuz we got so big on the senior side and became a hundred percent for senior housing and then the path kind of took off from there.

Beth Mace: (21:02)
Yeah. And I would like to just do a call out. I remember Chris Cuzanas, he was our colleague for many, many years. But those who know him who are listening, he was larger than life that’s for sure.

Brian Sunday: (21:14)
Yes he was.

Beth Mace: (21:14)
So I think of Chris so often, in my day to day work actually, and can still hear his voice bellowing out and telling and explaining what senior housing is and it’s not the room that has the bright lights and the linoleum floors and all of that.

Brian Sunday: (21:30)
Yeah. He was… I wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for him and there’s like, as you said, it’s impossible to fill his shoes. And so I just try to take what I’ve learned. Like you said, I think about it a lot of how would he view different things and how would he go about different things and try take that in. Which really helps me in my day to day and all the stuff I learned. He is surely missed. I think it was about two weeks ago was three years since he’s passed. And so feels like yesterday. And, I know he is with us all the time and again, wouldn’t be here without him.

Beth Mace: (22:05)
Yeah. Me as well, me as well. So let’s switch a little bit more to a broader industry perspective. What is your view on senior housing? Obviously you’re bullish. Is it just a demographic story or what else is there to it?

Brian Sunday: (22:20)
It’s demographics. But I think as you look at the industry, it’s a need, right? It is a need based industry. And that to me is comforting because this industry isn’t going away, right. There’s a huge aging population. Obviously we can all get by the demographics, but there’s a need, there’s a need for ways, to care for this aging population. And so to me that’s what keeps me going. Obviously COVID was a very difficult time for all of us in the industry. And we’re still working our way through it, but since it’s a need, it will always be here. And I like the innovation this industry has. And if you go back even through the GFC and some of the hardships the industry faced then and how we rebound. This industry’s gonna rebound, it’s gonna be even better. It’s gonna be safer. There’s a lot of good things to kind of point to, which I’m excited excited for

Beth Mace: (23:17)
One of the things I observed with AEW, and your partners, as well as a lot of other capital providers was during COVID was a word partnership really was key. And the relationships that were developed and I think really solidified the relationships in terms of understanding what the operator needed and capital partners like yourself, helping to support those operations needs. Be it getting PPE or the funding for PPE and so forth. Any thoughts about that in terms of the impact COVID had on the relationships?

Brian Sunday: (23:46)
Yeah. I mean, it definitely made, I think, our relationships stronger and I think this is safe to say for most of the LPs or investors like AEW in the space. And I think we all early on said, okay, we gotta throw our business plan. We gotta throw the i idea of trying to make returns out the window and really worry about how do we provide these operators with, with enough tools, whether that might be resources, like you said, getting PPE or more capital to make sure that the residents and employees stay safe. And that went over really well. A lot of our operators really appreciated it. They knew we were there. It was just tough that we couldn’t actually be there.

Brian Sunday: (24:32)
We’re sitting here hearing the stories. But knowing that we had their back, that they could do whatever they want and we would make sure that they were covered, I think really helped cement a lot of relationships in this business. That was kind of step one and then two as we were coming out of it really working with the operators and connecting them and connecting different points of views so they could share together what they’re doing as a company and what other groups are doing as a company and really kind of get best practices to make sure that we’re all coming out of this together as an industry and being in a competition. Like, we’re better than you cuz we did this. To me that was really great to see and really showed signs of why this industry is so special.

Beth Mace: (25:16)
So, a few years ago, NIC shined a light on what we call the “Forgotten Middle.” Which is the middle income seniors and how to provide care and housing to middle income seniors. Is AEW starting to target this group of seniors?

Brian Sunday: (25:29)
Yeah, we’ve actually been targeting this group of seniors for a long time. And Beth, I think you were at AEW when we first kind of did… I guess some portion of a middle market type investment strategy where up here in the Northeast, we started developing smaller foot print buildings but really having shared units throughout the entire community. And what I mean by shared units is they get their resident gets their own bedroom, but they do share a common area and a bathroom in inside their unit. And then the target was here to kind of go towards the kind of that blue collar, blue, gray collar type markets outside of know the Boston MSA and really kind of focus on school teachers, retired policemen, police women, firefighters, et cetera, that really could not afford the high cost of living in a newer call it AL memory care community in the Boston area.

Brian Sunday: (26:24)
And our job was to provide a nice community with all the same amenities, just scaled down a little bit, but they’re able to do it at a price that is call it 60 to 65%, of what it would be if they had to move into these newer communities. And that equated to somewhere, I don’t know, call it around $1,500 to $2,500… We’ll just say an average of $2,000 a month, which is $25,000 a year, which is that’s real money to a lot of people. And so we’ve been rolling this strategy out. We’re continuing to do it. I think we have around 10 assets now going up to 12. And to me it’s been a very successful strategy and we’re gonna continue to do that. And so that’s kind of been our Northeast focus and we’ve been looking as you know, Beth, we’ve had this conversation in length and it’s trying to find other opportunities, other ways to really kind of target that middle market. And I know a lot of people are trying to figure that out as well.

Beth Mace: (27:24)
And you’re starting a new essential housing fund. Is that what you were calling it?

Brian Sunday: (27:27)
Correct. AEW, is starting essential housing fund where the goal of that fund is really to invest in kind of low income, middle market communities that really are for the low and middle income markets. That’s multifamily right now. Which could potentially do seniors. It’s just launched. We actually just had our first closing last year and actually making our first investments. I think they’re closing this quarter. And it’s very, very well received out there in the in the fundraising world. It’s an interesting strategy. It would be great to see if that strategy can move into the senior space at some point.

Beth Mace: (28:10)
Yeah, that’s exciting. How about active adult, the so-called active adult quote, unquote. Are you guys investing in active adult?

Brian Sunday: (28:17)
We were very close pre COVID and it’s something we’ve been monitoring very closely. We are restricted within our fund that we to do only 15% of age restricted. So we’ve been tracking it very closely. I will say returns have really dropped or cap rates have really fallen or compressed on a short period of time. I think other groups, not woke up, but other groups saw the value and saw the demographics for the baby boomers and said this is a way to get better yields over multifamily. And I feel comfortable with this resident base. And so a lot more groups, I know, core funds, open ended core funds and a lot of multifamily investors have really jumped into the space to kind of really drive the returns or compressed the yields.

Brian Sunday: (29:03)
And so, it’s made it a little bit harder for us cuz we do we do have a higher yield requirements or yields we’re trying to hit. It’s a space that’s… There’s not one size fits all here. There’s a lot of different angles. You can go about this active adult whether it’s high end or really doing more of need base and middle market type strategy. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do an investment here in the near future.

Beth Mace: (29:30)
Great. Okay. That’s exciting. So a couple more questions. What do you think is one of the largest challenges facing our industry today? Is it capital availability, the pandemic, consumer confidence, building census occupancies?

Brian Sunday: (29:45)
I mean, I think about the easy answer is labor, but I’m gonna go a little step further. I do, I think it’s the operators, right? The operators have a very difficult job, and even a harder job over the last 18 months and here in the near future. And equity like us are always like, make sure you invest in the company, make sure you have the right overhead, make sure you do all this. And they do the problem is in a period, which we just had. It costs money to support that back office, and it’s tough, it’s very tough out there. And I feel that some of our, not some of our, but just operators in general, they need more support out there from the industry in general.

Brian Sunday: (30:35)
And it’s hard cuz usually that support’s coming through in ways of where it’s gonna cost money. And obviously right now that’s tough cause we’re all hurting a little bit here. I’m a little worried about that. And I think new operators that kind of saw, or were thinking about breaking off or starting their own company or seeing this and it might be delaying that. And I don’t think that’s good. I think we need more operators out there. We need more kind of young talent or just more focused talent, or focused kind of operators out there. And so that to me is a challenge and I think. We’ll work through it and I think the industry will work its way out, but in the short term it does make me nervous.

Beth Mace: (31:17)
Is there any way or any idea you have on how you can facilitate that happening?

Brian Sunday: (31:23)
No. I think that the best way… I mean it’s capital, right. And the question is how do we draw more capital into the… To back the op… Not just the real estate perspective, but on the operating side and patient capital. And so there’s ways to do it. It’s gonna take a little bit of give from both the operator side and the owner side to kind of find what that is. But I just think it just needs to be talked about more. I think it needs to be out there. And I think people are aware of it. It’s just, again, no one likes talking about it right now because it’s capital, right. And that’s obviously been… We’re all losing money over the last 18 months. Last thing you wanna do is try to throw more money at something. So I think it’s just communication, Beth, and finding out ways to support operators of all different sizes.

Beth Mace: (32:18)
Yep. Very good. All right. So let’s go back to the two truths and a lie here. So, we know that you had three brothers and you had cats. Were you valedictorian in your high school?

Brian Sunday: (32:29)
Not even close. I think most people who know me that might be listening to this, probably pick that one out right away. I was not a great student. So, I was not.

Beth Mace: (32:42)
There’s a lesson to be learned out there for the very young people that we can end up at a portfolio manager at AEW and not be the valedictorian.

Brian Sunday: (32:51)
Exactly right.

Beth Mace: (32:52)
So, that leaves the last one. Nickname fudge?

Brian Sunday: (32:56)
So my first week of starting at AEW… And as we mentioned, Chris, and how much of a a big personality, he was… He came out I introduced myself as Brian Sunday, and he goes, nope. He’s like, I’m calling you Fudge. You are fudge Sunday from now on. And I’m like, okay, what? I’m working on senior housing. And now everyone’s calling me Fudge around the office. It was great start to my move to Boston into a new company.

Beth Mace: (33:24)
And that’s definitely true because I could hear him saying Fudge.

Brian Sunday: (33:29)
And it was fudgy and then was fudgicle. And so I will say the nickname has died when he passed. So that was his special nickname that he used for me and others kind of joined on, but it’s…

Beth Mace: (33:41)
Well you always be Fudge to me.

Brian Sunday: (33:43)
Yeah, exactly. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Beth Mace: (33:47)
So that’s great. So I think, that fills up most of our time, Brian. So thanks very much. I think this has been like really informative and I’ve learned stuff and I think our listeners will learn stuff and, it’s been fun as well. So thank

Brian Sunday: (34:00)
Well. Thanks for having me, Beth. And it’s always good to chat whether it’s, on the podcast or just, in general. So look forward to seeing you soon.

Beth Mace: (34:08)
Thanks. Take care.

Listen and Subscribe

Find us wherever you get your podcast. For a complete list of ways to listen visit this link.

Get Involved

NIC Chats is a monthly podcast offering ideas and inspiration from leaders in seniors living. Want to get involved? Explore exclusivesponsorship opportunities today.

November 2023 NIC Insider Newsletter Now Available Read Now »