Job Spotlight: Real Estate Regional Property Manager

Jesus Vega-Certa

Meet Jesus, Publix Real Estate Regional Property Manager.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, my life took a dramatic turn in 2017 when Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The aftermath left my family facing a difficult decision: stay and rebuild amidst uncertainty or move to the US mainland for new opportunities. We chose the latter, leaving behind our home, jobs, and much of our lives. Though it was heartbreaking to leave so much behind, I fell in love with Florida, and then… I discovered Publix. A visit to a Publix store was a revelation—the organization, cleanliness, and quality were unlike anything I’d seen before.

Finding a path at Publix.

Upon arriving in Florida, I needed to find a job while completing my college degree. Ironically, I was determined to avoid careers in real estate and the supermarket industry due to my family’s past experiences with these industries in Puerto Rico. However, fate had other plans. I found myself interviewing at a Publix job fair, was hired on the spot, and embarked on a journey I never anticipated. Now, five years later, I work in the Real Estate Department for Publix—industries I initially sought to avoid are now cornerstones of my career.

My Publix journey.

My career at Publix has been shaped by incredible mentors and opportunities across various stores in Florida. My journey has included:

  • Starting as a cashier and then quickly promoting to the customer service staff level.
  • Gaining pivotal experience opening my first store with a mentor.
  • Learning the importance of leading with compassion and empathy, especially during challenging times.
  • Promotions and advancements to customer service team leader and assistant customer service manager.
  • Development and confidence instilled in me from my managers.

Now, as a Real Estate Regional Property Manager in the corporate office, my daily responsibilities include maintaining top-notch store locations for our Miami division by fulfilling lease obligations and negotiating shopping center upgrades; providing premier service to our customers, store teams and landlords; and ensuring financial savings without compromising quality and safety.

A key aspect of my job is to ensure that the exterior of our shopping centers complements the premier customer service provided inside our stores. This involves regular property inspections and consistent communication with store leadership. I also mentor my assistant to uphold our high standards.

Publix’s real estate department is committed to securing and maintaining the most strategic locations across our operating area through site selection, development, leasing, property management, and acquisitions. To excel as a Real Estate Regional Property Manager, one must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, along with one year of experience in retail management or real estate. Knowledge of retail environments, real estate concepts, and property maintenance is crucial, as are strong negotiation skills and a flexible schedule.

What makes Publix special to me is the incredible culture and the sense of ownership that our associates display. Our real estate department is committed to ensuring our stores always meet high standards.

For anyone aspiring to join our team as a Real Estate Regional Property Manager, my advice is simple: Begin; the rest is easy. And go for it! We look for people with strong interpersonal skills and a willingness to learn and adapt. I’m proud to be a part of the Publix family, alongside my wonderful wife, a former Publix associate, and my in-laws, retired store managers. My journey from Puerto Rico to a thriving career in Publix’s Real Estate Department is a testament to resilience, opportunity, and the transformative power of excellent mentorship. I look forward to what the future holds and am proud to be part of the Publix family.

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