Springfield, MO

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2015 Men of the Year Honoree: Sam M. Coryell

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Sam M. Coryell was born into business. His parents founded TLC Properties in 1988, and the company now manages 17 multifamily complexes serving over 6,000 residents.

Coryell has followed in his dad’s footsteps the past 19 years – only a middle initial separates their names – but he’s also put his own twist on the business.

Most notably, he restructured the company upon promotion to chief operating officer in early 2009 – during the most financially stressful point in the company’s history.

On the precipice of the effects of the Great Recession, Coryell made a bold move.

“Rather than leading by committee, as we had done in the past, I placed myself at the top of the daily operations. This structure allowed a streamline of communication through me, and I would report to a board of directors once a month for a company review,” he recalls.

At the time, TLC Properties had four construction loans on the books totaling $100 million, and Coryell was soliciting loan officers to take over the loans.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped renters were breaking leases by the hundreds, reducing rent rolls and TLC’s net operating income, a statistic the banks closely monitored.

“I feared the bank would call our note or ask for significant debt reduction in the form of cash,” Coryell says.

Under his leadership, TLC Properties weathered these economic storms without losing a property. He says only one bank called a property note because a lower residency rate dropped the appraisal below standard loan-to-value ratios.

“Through this new process, we had a better control of income and expenses, uncovered inefficiencies in our operations and even exposed acts of fraud by our subcontractors and employees,” he says.

“Had structural changes not been made, the recession would have proved much more damaging to our company.”

Coryell says he grew as a decision maker during these challenges.

“The anonymous hate mail I received proved that not all decisions fared well with others,” he says. “However, it was those difficult decisions that saved our company and numerous jobs.”

Before graduating from Missouri State University in 2000, Coryell already helped manage construction of some 400 apartment units and 20 townhomes. The schooling and hands-on experience prepared him to start Coryell Enterprises Inc. right out of college. The firm was designed to manage labor and bookkeeping for the multifamily construction work, and today over 2,000 living units are on its books.

As executive director of TLC Property Management LLC, a position held since early 2013, Coryell is solely responsible for managing nearly 2,800 units, mostly in Springfield.

He’s recently led development plans for the $10 million Township 28 complex underway in Galloway Village and worked to receive City Council and neighbors’ approval for a contentious expansion of The Abbey Apartments.

In the community, Coryell serves on the boards for the Price Cutter Charity Championship and the Ozarks Regional YMCA.

He also supports and volunteers for March of Dimes.

“After my son was born 10 weeks prematurely, weighing only 3.7 pounds, I connected with the March of Dimes and served on the board for several years,” he says. “Through connecting with these charities and serving on these boards, I am able to give back to a community.”


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