11:00 – 11:45

Global Storage Panel

45 mins Live Session
Hear from CEO's of some of the biggest self storage companies in Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA as they discuss the impact of COVID-19 on thier business and what the future holds for self storage


Cris Burnam

President, StorageMart

Cris Burnam has been in the self-storage industry since 1987, serving as President of StorageMart since 1999. Headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, StorageMart is the largest privately owned company in the industry, with 225 locations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, comprising approximately 15,000,000 net rentable square feet and over 134,000 rental units. Currently, as Chief Executive Officer, Cris oversees all aspects of the organization.


In 2015, Cris and the executive team at StorageMart successfully closed on the largest ever completed self-storage CMBS transaction, which was in excess of $500 million dollars. In addition, the team closed other debt financings of $510 million dollars in 2015 for a total of $1.010 billion dollars in new debt, thus successfully recapitalizing StorageMart and positioning the company for future growth.


Cris has been recognized as EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014, and was also given the 2014 Torch Award by the Better Business Bureau. Cris is listed as one of Ingram’s Magazine of One of 50 Missourians You Should Know and has been a member of the Forbes Real Estate Council since 2018. In 2008, Cris led the company in its successful $416 million dollar takeover of InStorage REIT, a publicly traded REIT on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The transaction closed in March of 2009, and has since been fully integrated in StorageMart.


In 1994, Cris and his brother Mike Burnam launched an IPO of their family owned company called Storage Trust (NYSE:SEA). Storage Trust was successfully merged into Public Storage in 1999 for approximately $650 million dollars. Over the course of his career in self-storage, Cris has completed over $5.5 billion dollars in self-storage transactions. Under Cris’ direction, StorageMart has been a thought leader in the industry, forging the way with many industry firsts, like online reservations, a 24/7 contact center, and harnessing voice technology to improve the customer journey.

Kevin Chan

Chairman and Founder, Store Friendly

Kevin, Kai Ho Chan is the Chairman and founder of Store Friendly Self Storage Group, which was founded in 2002.  The company has over 130 branches all over Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan and Shanghai, which provide over 40,000 storages and 1,200,000 square feet.

Kevin is determined to build up a “Brand” when he first started the business. He believed the motto of “Do it from heart”, only the honesty and sincerity can sustain customer base.  As Store Friendly expanded to 10 branches, he discovered the bottle neck of expansion and management difficulty, so he implemented the “Franchise” concept into the company. This gave the company an inspiring outcome; 80 franchisees have joined the company in 5 years! Then on, Store Friendly became a household name.

New concept and strategy are very important for the growth of a company. Kevin found that red wine is gaining popularity in Hong Kong; the need of space to store boxes of wine increased the demand of storages. Hence, the first Wine Self Storage for Store Friendly established in 2011 and the Store Friendly Records Management Storage was started to provide service in 2012. Moreover, Store Friendly is proudly to announce Store Friendly GO to be the first storage service in the world to introduce having intelligent robots to help managing the storing service. We aim to provide excellent service and hope to bring excellent experience to customers to enjoy the new technology, while paying no effort on managing their goods.
Sam Kennard

Owner and CEO, Kennards Self Storage

Kennards Self Storage is a private family-owned company with 92 locations and employing over 270 people in Australia and New Zealand. The business began in 1973 when the first storage spaces were built by Sams father Neville Kennard

Sam joined the company in 1991 when they had just 8 locations, then in 1995 he succeeded Neville and became Managing Director. The company had 14 locations at this time. Having worked running storage centres initially, Sam developed skills in property acquisition and development of self storage.  KSS acquired its major competitor, Millers Self Storage, in 2004, which more than doubled the size of the business instantly. In 2007, the company entered the New Zealand market, where it now has 8 locations.

KSS is the largest private owner-operator of self storage in Australasia. The family company wholly-owns the majority of centres under its brand, while also offering self storage management for select investors.
James Gibson

CEO, Big Yellow Self Storage

Jim Gibson was a member of the founding management team of Big Yellow Self Storage in 1998. Big Yellow Self Storage opened its first store in Richmond in May 1999 and 21 years later owns and manages 75 Big Yellow Self Storage centres in the UK across 5.7 million sq ft NLA. Big Yellow Self Storage also manages 25 Armadillo stores across a 1.0 m sq ft platform.  Big Yellow Self Storage is listed as a REIT on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 250.

Jim originally qualified as a chartered accountant and worked in professional services with  Arthur Andersen & Co. where he specialised in the property and construction sectors, before leaving in 1989. He then worked in real estate at Heron Property Corporation until 1994, before joining Nick Vetch and Philip Burks at Edge Properties. Edge was a developer of and investor in retail warehousing and sold to Granchester Properties PLC  in 1998. Together, they then founded Big Yellow Self Storage.