About the Helm

The Helm Management Co. office located in La Mesa, CA

In the late 1960s, following college and one year stationed in Memphis, Tennessee by the US Navy, Tom Hensley and wife Barbara, left their childhood homes in Ohio for Oxnard, California, when Tom was relocated by the Navy. As a Navy Airman 2nd Class, he served in Vietnam aboard The Coral Sea aircraft carrier, however, he began to think of his future beyond his Naval service.

During their college years, and while not deployed, Tom and his wife decided to supplement their income by becoming apartment managers. It seemed to be an excellent balance of education and employment. It was not long until his employer saw the talents of this young man and his willingness to work hard and was quickly promoted to the position of property manager following the conclusion of his Naval commitments.

As is true of many aspiring individuals, challenges are the fire in the heart and soul of many entrepreneurs. In that spirit, Tom decided to make a move to open a property management division within a new and growing real estate firm under the watchful and critical eye of the owner, a retired Navy Blue Angel pilot. Tom organized the property management division for the limited partnerships (apartments) of this real estate office. While employed by this firm, he not only fine-tuned his skills as a property manager, but also obtained the CPM® designation so highly regarded in the field of property management.

As time passed, Tom felt the entrepreneur urge and without looking back left the comfort of an established, well paying position, to start his own management business with the assistance of family and friends. The Helm Management Co. was established out of a home office and began with small properties, but Tom's experience was quite evident to real estate owners. It was not quite a year when the opportunity to buy a retiring colleague's business arose and the foundation had been poured. Determined to expand his company and present a more professional image, this small real estate management company moved from its home office to a Little Italy office near downtown San Diego.

"With A Firm Hand On The Present, And An Eye To The Future."

From 1979 through 1985, The Helm Management Co. continued to focus on growth. Much of Tom's management was in the developing, specialized field of HOA and resort property management. While assisting developers in budget preparation and management of these properties, he gained experience in the development of two unique vacation concepts. In addition to his increasing number of San Diego based properties, Tom's management connections led him to opportunities in Missouri, Utah, Nevada, and Northern California. Though the continuing growth in business was welcomed, the time traveling away from San Diego and a growing family was not.

The Helm Management Co. was growing, but by 1985 The Helm decided to sharpen the focus of their business on the quickly developing San Diego region. Eliminating the need for Tom to travel from state-to-state seeking new properties away from home. San Diego had enough growth potential for this family based business to succeed and keep the family together. Expansion within San Diego County was the new target and the original mission of The Helm was re-visited, "With a firm hand on the present, and an eye to the future."

A Family Business That Spans Generations

Nearly 40 years later, The Helm Management Co. remains a staple in Southern California management and have built on the principles established by Tom and Barbara Hensley in that home office. They continue to teach the next generation of managers the nuances of successful real estate management. In addition to managing award winning timeshare resorts, The Helm's expanding portfolio consists of Association management, commercial properties, apartments, mid-rise condominiums, and single-family dwellings. With its office anchored in La Mesa, The Helm maintains its focus on Southern California and emphasizes a hands on approach to management with personal, customized treatment of properties that has been a signature of the family business approach. As new members of the Hensley family put their stamp on the business, The Helm will always be guided by the vision set forth by its founders Tom and Barbara Hensley.