When Ronda Puryear discovered she was elected as the 2023 chair of the National Apartment Association, she was immediately overcome with emotion.

The National Apartment Association is a nonprofit trade association that serves as the leading voice for the rental housing industry, and the chair role is regarded as the highest position in the industry.

“It’s an honor,” Puryear said. “When you’re chosen among so many qualified professionals, you can’t help but become extremely happy and excited. However, my initial reaction was definitely emotional.”

Puryear received her management degree from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in 1981. She stayed involved with Virginia Tech by joining the Virginia Tech Property Management Advisory Board in 2002, where she served as chair of the board from fall 2019 to spring 2021. The board is housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and members of the board offer curriculum input, professional development, mentoring, field trips, internships, and significant financial resources, including scholarships.

Cindy Clare, chief operating partner officer of Bell Partners, said Puryear has been a “strong advocate for the multifamily industry in many ways.” Clare served as chair of the National Apartment Association in 2017 and was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame in 2022.

“Ronda has been active in the local, state, and apartment associations across the country focusing on legislation and education,” Clare said.

With over 30 years of real estate experience, Puryear has engaged with the association for more than a decade. She has served as the Region I vice president, a member of the governance committee, and chair of the student housing and conference committees.

“I am excited to welcome Ronda into this new role,” said National Apartment Association President and CEO Bob Pinnegar. “Throughout her entire career, she has exemplified selfless service as she worked to inspire and mentor the rental housing industry’s next generation of leaders.” 

Being a Hokie has influenced Puryear personally and professionally.

“I met my husband here and both of our daughters came to Virginia Tech,” Puryear said. “Virginia Tech not only enriched my family, but it helped jumpstart my career.”

Puryear’s first job was with International Business Machines – better known now as IBM – in the sales department. Puryear currently works for Management Services Corp., where she has served for the last 20 years.

“Ronda loves a challenge,” said Rick Jones, vice chairman at Management Services Corp. “She loves engaging with people, meeting people, and hearing their thoughts and ideas.”

Puryear dedicates most of her success to luck and finding a career that she loves.

“Take advantage of getting to know people,” Puryear said. “Find a mentor, connect with people. We love to help new leaders rise into the industry.”

Interview with Ronda Puryear

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Written by Gabby Taylor