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2014 Vision Awards Nominees - Rookie of the Year Award
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Rookie of the Year Award


Nominee Number - F1

Describe the accomplishment(s) related to the award category and include the activities that lead up to the accomplishment(s). Please include the actual and measurable results achieved.

Nominee started as a Community Specialist in April of 2013 and within six months was promoted to Community Manager of two large master planned Communities and has been providing exceptional service ever since. Accomplishments include being pro-active on maintenance projects, supervising a staff of 6 and planning clubhouse events, and implementing special projects geared towards reducing Association liability and increasing safety. Nominee manages two master planned communities totaling 1145 homes and 725 homes respectively. She requires minimal supervision, has revamped most of the Clubhouse policies to be more concise and effective, and has improved amenities including the addition of a bike rack and sidewalk to protect kids by keeping them out of the parking lot and a new basketball sport court.

What were the measurable benefits from this accomplishment? Examples include large capital improvements, savings to the association, etc. Please include any recognition you received from a board, homeowners, and developers, if applicable.

Every one of Nominee’s boards have provided compliments about her professionalism and attention to detail. She provides weekly update to all her boards on current projects, action item follow through, and upcoming issues.
Nominee heard about a clubhouse that had a special vent installed in their fitness center to pull in cold outside air in the winter to cool rather than utilizing a condenser and a/c unit. Nominee jumped on the idea, got a proposal to the Board and based on history, savings to the clubhouse heating/cooling bill will be reduced by 25%!

Nominee also looked at the collections compared to billing rate of an association and saw that with their bi-yearly assessment method the collections rate followed a steady three month pattern before homeowners were caught up. By being pro-active and suggesting a yearly payment method the Association will save over $2,000 a year in collections costs.

This past year when insurance renewals came in averaging 20-30% increases Nominee immediately went out to bid searching for better rates. One Association was able to save $30,000 a year by switching insurance companies while maintaining the same level of coverage and one other switched providers at a savings of $10,000 per year. The other five Associations felt comfortable with their renewals knowing that all other bids came in higher than their current renewal and raised the dues to accommodate the insurance increase knowing their homeowners were protected with a good product.

One Association was hit with a $10,000 plus sinkhole repair due to a catch basin that leaked and washed out the soil. Nominee immediately got bids from the chosen vendor on shoring up the other 20 catch basins in the Association. For just $300 each per basin she prevented a potential savings of $10,000 plus per catch basin, many of which were already showing signs of leaking. The total potential savings to the Association is over $200,000* in future sinkhole repairs for just a $6,000 investment in preventative maintenance! (*Based on actual cost of current year’s project.)

Was there anything about the accomplishment(s) that exceeded the normal course of everyday responsibilities/services?

Nominee has revamped clubhouse policies and procedures to make them more efficient and user friendly for staff and residents. She could have used the forms that were there but whenever she sees a chance to improve something she goes the extra mile to make it perfect.

The Board of Directors of the Master Planned Community that Nominee manages knows their role to support the member Associations and homeowners and they are always looking for ways to improve the Community. Nominee has helped them research and add to their current amenities including a bike rack for the kids, a sport court and fence to protect the ball from running into the street, a fishing dock and paddleboat complete with a light on the path, and switched swim lessons company to improve service to the homeowners!

One of Nominee’s managed Associations has not had quorum at their annual meeting in over three years. She sent numerous correspondence to the homeowners including personal messages and door knocking to obtain a necessary number of proxies to ensure the Board had quorum at their 2014 meeting!

Tina even donated blood at her Association’s annual blood drive, the previous manager never did that!

Why does this individual deserve recognition? Please include any additional considerations.

As Nominee’s supervisor it is easy for me to forget that she has been in the industry for less than two years. Her professionalism and attention to detail in front of the boards and assisting homeowners on a day to day basis is that of an experienced manager. She has provided an exceptional level of service, not only following the established maintenance plans of the association but implementing additional painting services to homeowners through careful review of the governing documents, assisted in reducing liability by adding a safety feature to an association that has had multiple incidents of accidents, and assisted in revising rules and regulations for two associations to reflect actual enforcement actions and prevent potential issues before they careen out of control. Even if she didn’t go above and beyond expectation, the fact that she has taken on a portfolio including two master planned communities and thrived in day to day management hitting all deadlines for budgets, insurance, board and annual meeting attendance, homeowner questions and calls during both snow and irrigation seasons, and helping boards through tough decisions on raising dues and enforcing rental penalties says wonders about her abilities as a Community Manager.

But don’t take it from me. This is what her Board members and vendors say about her:

“Nominee has been very good, always available, and very personable. “ - Dan Paton, Board Member, Durham Green Condominium Association

“Nominee is doing a great job. In my own view, she has grabbed the baton from the previous manager and kept things running smoothly. She gets it, and it’s been a nice easy transition. She uses common sense in giving quality advice to the Board.” Mike Raymond, Board Member, Cottages at Club West Association & Club West Master Association

“I was at a meeting with the Board and Nominee was very professional, knowledgeable and fair in assisting the Board with the meeting. She has the confidence of an experienced manager even though she is still relatively new to the industry.“ – Tim Pearson, Owner, Natural Green Landscape Management

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - F2

Describe the accomplishment(s) related to the award category and include the activities that lead up to the accomplishment(s). Please include the actual and measurable results achieved.

Nominee is a true professional and one who is currently helping us prepare for concrete work that will take place in 2015 - a new path, which we so need. She understands what needs to be done and leads us through thoughtful discussions so we find the right vendor for the job. Her insights are keen and on-point; she is efficient in her style and a polished communicator. The pathway entails our 17 acres, hard surfaced and a pathway that has never been repaired so the task to do so is significant. We have great confidence in how Nominee is leading us through this important task of improving our property, and this is merely one example. Our complex was built in the '70s, so we appreciate the insights Shayne brings to her role as we strive to maintain our beautiful property: some rental units; one unit owned by our Association and some units are investor owned.

What were the measurable benefits from this accomplishment? Examples include large capital improvements, savings to the association, etc. Please include any recognition you received from a board, homeowners, and developers, if applicable.

Because of Nominee's thorough planning and communication with all of our key stakeholders, we are confident that the new concrete pathway will be handled in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The experience Nominee brings to her role from her previous experience in commercial real estate is a plus.

Was there anything about the accomplishment(s) that exceeded the normal course of everyday responsibilities/services?

Nominee's communication skills - her dedication to being accessible and responsive to our questions and need for prompt information is what stands out and above the norm. She keeps our discussions on a positive, forward-looking level. Whether delivering good news or that which might be difficult, Nominee does so with immediacy and always keeps me informed and the first to know. Nominee makes it a priority to stay positive in her dealings with all of us - never adversarial.

Why does this individual deserve recognition? Please include any additional considerations.

Communication is key between an association manager and the association Board. Nominee is a natural in this role and sincerely appreciated because of her results-driven approach, one that never forgets to take time to make certain we are well informed. She has been a student of the "ins and outs" of our association and as a new person working with us, she understood the importance of taking time with us to develop those all-important personal relationships. From her very first days working with us - when we walked around the property and she took good notes - to the weekly calls I have with her, we hold her in high regard and consider her a seasoned pro.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - F3

Describe the accomplishment(s) related to the award category and include the activities that lead up to the accomplishment(s). Please include the actual and measurable results achieved.

Nominee is a new Association Manager (joining the industry in late 2013) and inherited Symphony at Town Center HOA, a condominium complex of 88 units located in Ramsey, MN. Shortly after she started, a homeowner made her aware of an issue she was having with her porch; it appeared to be pulling away from the siding. After having the issue investigated by a construction company, it was determined that there appeared to be a problem with the installation of the support posts and after 6-8 years, they were settling and thus pulling away from the structure. Nominee had become familiar with my firm, Benson, Kerrane, Storz and Nelson, through many CAI events we had both attended. Knowing our firm handles construction defect cases, she contacted us for a professional opinion on whether this issue was worth pursuing or not. After meeting with our Partner Alex Nelson and walking the property, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the Association to move forward with representation. At the completion of the invasive investigation, it was recommended that five homes be repaired sooner rather than later. Nominee is currently working on behalf of the homeowners with AMEK to complete the necessary repairs, and has also worked with the developer to make repairs to a home at their own expense. On September 17th there was an “expert mediation” with experts from SBSA (the engineering firm working with the Association) and the developer’s expert and attorneys. All parties met and worked to negotiate a reasonable scope of repairs using SBSA’s post-testing report as a starting point. There did appear to be agreement regarding at least four of the HOA’s major concerns, and we are hopeful that we can move to negotiating the expected costs of these repairs, as well as reimbursement of the HOA’s litigation expense & attorney fees.

What were the measurable benefits from this accomplishment? Examples include large capital improvements, savings to the association, etc. Please include any recognition you received from a board, homeowners, and developers, if applicable.

Nominee takes great pride in her job and wants to help get the Association back to whole again post litigation. While a settlement is in the works, and Nominee hasn’t received any official recognition from the Board or homeowners, everyone has been thankful that she is trying to help with the many issues that they have been experiencing.

Was there anything about the accomplishment(s) that exceeded the normal course of everyday responsibilities/services?

Many Association Managers are fortunate to never have to deal with Construction Defect litigation. As a Manager, Nominee committed to take care of her associations to the best of her ability, and is now fully in the midst of a litigation in her first year on the job. She said, “I’m not sure what normal is since I’m new to this job! But I do know that I spend a lot of time taking phone calls and answering email messages from homeowners who are having problems with their roofs, insulation, windows, porches and more. This didn’t seem like something that should be happening in a community that is less than 8 years old so I wanted to investigate what could be done to help.”

Why does this individual deserve recognition? Please include any additional considerations.

Nominee clearly has the best interests of her Associations and homeowners in mind at all times, and embarked on Construction Defect litigation as a very new manager. This is something that many managers close their eyes to, as they don’t want to do the extra work that comes with litigation. Not only has Nominee taken this on for Symphony at Town Center, but she has also achieved the following in her short time as an Association Manager with the following HOA’s: Washburn Lofts: This is a luxury condominium complex in downtown Minneapolis. There has been a persistent water leak over the last 10-12 years. The water originated in a unit on the 9th floor and leaked into the unit below.

The managers before her tried a number of repairs but nothing resolved the problem. The owner on the 8th floor has continued to “live with it” and not complain so no other repairs had been attempted. When Nominee learned that the leak had spread to the 9th floor unit as well, she moved forward with further investigation. It took all summer and many different experts but they finally located the source of all leak and were able to make repairs to the masonry and solve 75% of the problem. However, the other 25% will have to wait until the spring as the new owner of the 9th floor unit didn’t want to wait any longer to move into her unit. She was unable to refinish the floor while the contractors were going in and out and made the decision to postpone further investigation and repairs until 2015. The Traditions Homeowners Association: This is a single family home development in Blaine, MN.

Homeowners and the Board let me know that they feel the neighborhood is falling into disrepair and they want to do something about it. There are a number of homes where the lawn isn’t mowed regularly, there is garbage in the yards (abandoned sports equipment, etc.), RV’s, trailers and jet skis parked in the driveway and more. These are all violations of the governing documents but hadn’t been enforced by previous management. Nominee worked with the Board to draft a letter to homeowners requesting they read the governing documents as the Rules & Regulations will be enforced moving forward. This letter helped immensely in making a difference in the number of violations. She is also working with 2 homeowners who rent their homes as their tenants are in constant violation of the governing documents. She is striving for success with them too!

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - F4

Describe the accomplishment(s) related to the award category and include the activities that lead up to the accomplishment(s). Please include the actual and measurable results achieved.

a. Rossmor Exterior Restoration Project for 2.2 Million dollars. (Tuck-pointing, Terra Cotta, and Concrete Work) This project included split among two associations and approvals from each party, a loan for both associations (which Nominee helped facilitate including preparation of loan applications), and a special Assessment for both associations. Nominee was the main interface with the engineering consultant serving both of the associations and both boards of directors and was seen by all concerned as the leader for managing this project.

b. Rossmor Roof Anchor Project Completed Summer 2014. In compliance with new OSHA requirements Nominee oversaw the installation of roof anchors on the building. Nominee also worked in collaboration with another Association Manager of our firm to complete Lowry Roof anchor Project in the Summer of 2014. This allows the building to wash windows and perform exterior restoration work meeting OSHA safety regulations without going to extraordinary expense for lifts, with street closures.

c. Helped fill out the Rossmor Owners board to 9 Owners. This had not been in place in 4 plus years due to lack of owner interest.

d. Managing Relations in between Rossmor I and II (One commercial and one residential). Nominee managed relations between two associations in the same building at the Rossmor which was critical for resolution of several issues and projects. Nominee performed a similar role at another association (The Lowry) managing relations at the Lowry where we have a cross easement through floors 1-2 management for commercial is outside management.

e. Elm Creek Bluff, City Park project sidewalk tear up through approx. 1/5 of the property, to put in a new bridge in the Elm Creek Park Reserve. Also, changing Landscaping contractors at the same time. (Elm Creek Bluff Drainage project is underway will Concrete apron replacement, Gutters to pop up drainage in the front yards under the sidewalk and driveway replacement. Phased project 10-15 driveways a year. Two already completed 10 more to be completed in October this year.)

f. Greenway Terrace – Financial project. This property had Three Management companies in 2013. First Service Residential Took Over the property Jan. 1 2014. Over a five month period working with a CPA an audit of the property was completed, books reconciled and accurate financials for the association were produced for the first time in over a year. Nominee set up a management infrastructure at the facility. This included: Adding lawn and irrigation maintenance; pest control to address a mice issue; changing cleaning companies from one day a month to one day a week at the same cost; and beginning a project to address water infiltration project into the parking garage.

g. SummerCrest Operational Savings. On-site management change over and Training of new employee. HVAC vent changeover. Added removable vents to the exterior of all units in the building (60). This allows the HVAC service to be completed from the exterior of the building, instead of removing the Entire HVAC unit moving to the garage for cleaning then reinstallation. This turned a 2 week project into a two day project saving resources and minimizing disruption.

What were the measurable benefits from this accomplishment? Examples include large capital improvements, savings to the association, etc. Please include any recognition you received from a board, homeowners, and developers, if applicable.

a. Savings. Nominee procured legal advice from an attorney serving the association who determined that a third party who owned signage rights on the roof for a large billboard should be assigned responsibility for a portion of required restoration in the area where the sign is anchored. That portion of restoration ultimately cost over $100,000 and that is a expense that otherwise would have been born by the two Associations at the building. Nominee managed all of the capital projects at his clients associations at no additional expense to the client outside of our management fee. Nominee also saved operation expenses on the vent project noted above at another association.

b. Avoiding Legal Expenses and Conflict. Nominee helped the two associations who were each to pay a share of restoration cooperate and collaborate on the project notwithstanding the fact that their views were not always the same. No legal action was required by either party related to the project. This saved time, aggravation, and money.

c. Achieving Great Client Experience Ratings. FirstService Residential performs client experience surveys through a third party once per year to understand client satisfaction. Feedback about Nominee from our 2014 Survey was excellent and ranked highly within our company and our region which is impressive for a new Association Manager. Feedback about Nomineefrom our clients included the following comments about his work. These comments are from board members at four different association clients.

i. “Responsiveness, expertise, and hard work is evident”.

ii. “We’ve been going through a VERY difficult building restoration project. The work of our Firstservice team, especially Nominee, has done has been tremendous”

iii. “Our Manager, Nominee, has been doing an outstanding job…”

iv. “Their on top of everything. I’m the president and they get things done. Nominee, the property manager, is there when help is needed.

Was there anything about the accomplishment(s) that exceeded the normal course of everyday responsibilities/services?

a. Planning, advancing, and completing successfully the list of capital projects at Nominee’s clients at no additional expense to the clients outside their management fee was outstanding performance by Nominee and a great value for our clients.

b. The complexity of some of these projects would have been taxing for some of the most experienced managers in our industry. Nominees background in construction is unique in our industry. Additionally, his excellent project management and communication skills enable him to ably handle all aspects of these projects with less than two years of experience in our industry. In my experience, this is extraordinary work and our clients think so as well.

Why does this individual deserve recognition? Please include any additional considerations.

a. Nominee is a humble guy who does not toot his own horn a lot. He is precisely the outstanding professional with a wide range for whom it is rewarding to recognize in the industry—a humble, accomplished professional setting the example for outstanding work. Nominee is the kind of professional that we ought to be seeking to attract to our industry.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


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