Annual Partners Meeting


The Annual Partners Meeting provides an opportunity to learn about our specific properties and markets as well as investment strategies, the economy, interest rates, and our outlook going forward.


This year’s Annual Partners Meeting was held on May 8, 2018 at the Hotel Irvine located in Irvine, CA. As the number of investment partners with CWS has grown over the years, we needed to transition to a larger venue that could accommodate our size. On this special evening there were over 550 guests in attendance which was a record. For those of you who attended, we hope you enjoyed the new venue and location. 

For those who were not able to attend and would like to view a video recording of the speaker presentations, click here and enter the password: cws2018

The theme for this year is “Excellence by Design” and is influenced by the ideology that a company must have a well-intentioned operational design in place to position itself to succeed through the many different economic cycles. The five major attributes that have allowed CWS to be successful over the years include intellect, execution, culture, communication, and relationships.

The presentations commenced with Bill Williams, one of the original Co-Founders of CWS and current Advisory Board Member, who has been instrumental to the company’s investment success. He expressed heart-felt stories about the success of some of our early investors who have had their lives enhanced by investing with CWS and also by rolling over their real estate investments via 1031 exchanges over many years. Key investment decisions such as the 1031 have resulted in a positive impact not only with the investors themselves, but also for their future generation of heirs.

Next up was Mike Engels, CWS’s Chief Investment Officer, who spoke about “excellence into the headwinds” as he described the current market conditions. He described how CWS is intensely focused on executing its key objectives for 2018 to continue to better position the company within this more competitive point in the cycle. Mike also celebrated the wonderful CWS team members who went above and beyond to provide support for our Houston properties during Hurricane Harvey. In addition, he proudly announced that in 2017 CWS was ranked No. 88 on Fortune’s list of Top 100 Best Places to Work for Women in the U.S. 

CWS’s President, Gary Carmell, presented next by taking the audience on an imaginative trip around the world as he spoke about his travels and how they gave him a new perspective on life and gave him better insight to make better decisions at CWS based on those experiences. He spoke about designing and building companies for all four seasons and how one should possess the resources and mindset to metaphorically plant, grow, harvest, and survive droughts and floods. Gary described how variable rate loans have performed over the years and detailed his research of how interest rates are expected to move given the spread between certain Treasury yields. He concluded that rates have a higher probability to fall within the next year or two while the lower probability of an increase in yields are manageable given the risk-reward of variable rates.

Steve Sherwood, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of CWS, shared his outlook on the apartment market, what headwinds we are facing, and investment opportunities within the next 12-18 months. The apartment market is growing in almost all age groups and is now at one of the highest levels seen in a long time. The current market characteristics that are affecting home ownership include people saddled with student loans, lack of a down payment, desired flexibility for mobility, low supply of starter homes, current home prices challenging affordability, and recent tax code changes. Steve presented market migration charts which evidenced migration occurring in many of CWS’s markets. CWS relies on its real-time information from operations when drawing conclusions on how the markets are moving. In conclusion, he indicated that the near-term investment outlook will present fewer opportunities but that our target is to always find quality deals.

Our keynote speaker was David Rowan who is a technology expert, founding Editor-in-Chief of award-winning Wired UK, and travels extensively to investigate the most innovative companies and entrepreneurs. He spoke about the future of technology and how it may have an affect on real estate in the next 10 to 15 years.

Thank you for your trust over the years in allowing CWS to represent you in owning, managing, and building apartments. We feel a great sense of honor and responsibility to preserve your hard earned capital and to deliver exceptional returns.