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2014 Vision Awards Nominees - Excellence in Service Award
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Excellence in Service Award


Nominee Number - D1

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.

In breaking down the award category and relating it to Nominee, I personally cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. Nominee displays integrity and reliability in everything she does. Her colleagues have the utmost respect for her, and when Nomineespeaks, everyone listens because of this respect. She always has her clients best interests in mind when discussing policies and service expectations. Commitment to the industry: Nominee has been a Community Manager since 1998. That not only shows longevity, but she uses that experience to provide exceptional service. This year she won Community Manager of the Year for Company as determined by our Board member surveys. This prestigious award as decided by her own clients has been won by an onsite manager the last 7 years. For a portfolio manager to win this award is a huge accomplishment and shows her commitment to relationship building and competence. Nominee knows how to interact with Boards, she doesn’t provide a standard response to any person, she digs deeper to understand where the person is coming from, what the situation is, and gears her analysis and information in terms that makes sense to the individual. This allows all Board Members to relate to Nominee and allows her to relay her experience and knowledge in a way that person is going to understand. As a Supervising Community Manager she provides this same level of interaction with her coworkers and colleagues. She gets to know each manager she works with on a personal level to tailor her mentoring to that person, she doesn’t just teach “her way”, she teaches in a way that the person learning will understand. This level of interaction does not go unnoticed, Nominee is beloved by all employees and everyone I spoke to about her behind her back showed nothing but respect and admiration for her!

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 goes the extra mile in every interaction with homeowners to find the underlying cause of the complaint. This leads to multitudes of homeowners and Board members going out of their way to commend Nominee for the service that she provides. Another measureable benefit is that Nominee has never had an annual meeting fail to get quorum. Her pro-active management and high standards inspire others to act. She points her Boards and homeowners in the right direction and her Boards follow her lead, door knocking to get proxies in communities that are known to have low participation and making the annual meeting an event not to be missed in others. As mentioned above, she is the reigning Community Manager of the Year as decided by board member surveys. Of all 26 managers in our company she not only had the highest scores as rated by her Boards, she also had the highest participation. Her Boards WANT her to win this award and go out of their way to fill out her survey to ensure that she does.

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

There would be too many to mention with Nominee as exceeding the normal course of everyday service is just what she does. Like a baseball superstar that makes it look easy to hit a 98 mph fastball, Nominee makes her company look easy because she is so good at it. (And we all know this industry is anything but easy.) Here is but one example of what Nominee does on a daily basis. During a site inspection she noticed that almost everyone’s recycling bin was overflowing. She took it upon herself to contact the trash company to get everyone larger recycling bins if they desired. The trash company made the swap free of charge. Nominee contacted all the homeowners to inform them about the increased level of service, coordinated the swap for everyone, and homeowners still to this day thank her whenever they see her for organizing this service upgrade.

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

I have nothing but the utmost respect for Nominee and am jealous of her abilities to stay positive in an industry that can bring you down over time. The happy homeowners rarely call in to thank us, but the unhappy homeowners hold us personally responsible for everything that goes wrong or for all the bad things that can happen in a community regardless of fault. (Yes, sometimes bad weather is our fault!) Nominee is able to stay positive through all this and provide exceptional customer service to the nicest of people and the SAME level of above and beyond service to the not-so-nicest of people. She is respected by her coworkers, peers, and exec level colleagues as evidenced by her supervisory role. And even if she is not the direct supervisor of someone she is always willing to help them on a situation. Her longevity in this industry would be admirable even if she wasn’t also so good at her job, but to continue to have a positive attitude and to continue to go the extra mile and sometimes challenge authority for the best interest of her clients is why I respect her so much. Finally, her Boards love her. This is evidenced by her survey results and comments made by her Board members. She makes sure they understand their roles and guides them to make the best decisions possible for their communities. But above and beyond that, she explains the alternatives and ensures that every Board member understands what they are voting on and why a particular course of action might be better than another. In essence, that is our role as Community Managers, to assist our Boards in their ultimate goal, to promote, maintain and enhance the Community. Drive through any of Nominee’s managed properties and you’ll see the embodiment of our profession!

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D2

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 has a 92-unit property in Inver Grove Heights that just completed a $600,000 roofing/insulation project. Nominee encouraged them to undertake this project to help correct the severe ice dams they have had for years. He coordinated efforts between the board, contractor and consultant. He orchestrated similar projects at two other properties over the past 3 years. Nominee put forth an enormous amount of effort, and understood that his role as the manager of this property was to use his resource pool to bring the right players to the table to educate his Boards, and not only to identify the problem but to be paramount in formulating a permanent solution to a long-standing and expensive issue. Nominee does not shy away from the challenging and is one of the managers at our company. He has worked on three major construction defect lawsuits and helped the Board, attorneys, and vendors to settle the claims and have needed repairs handled. Before he moved to Minnesota, Nominee managed a property in Islamorada Florida that received damage from Hurricane Andrew. He worked with numerous contractors, the insurance company, and absentee homeowners to repair all damage. Nominee took his PCAM case study in Texas and makes it a priority to give his all to whatever is in front of him at the time. I can say that he immersed himself in Texas law, property management southern style and for a while we would see him sporting a 10-gallon hat around the office, just to keep in touch with his Texas roots! His leadership and enthusiasm for in this industry is second to none. His vendors know how loyal he is, and his Boards trust him because he is very confident and passionate about this industry. He sets a prime example how to be fair, consistent and effective as a Property Manager, both inside and outside the office. He is genuine and Nominee can always be counted on to say it like it is, and is well-respected for his honesty. He maintains an active role in CAI and at Cedar Management to help the company and the industry grow.

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.

Company recognizes the benefit we receive through Nominee's commitment to the industry and his Boards by the client loyalty he achieves. Another measureable benefit is that Nominee looks at the long-term and not the short term (easy) solutions. It might be a tougher road to travel and sometimes more expensive up front, but Bob will take the time to go over every detail with his Boards to understand both long and short term implications of decisions. TK from Rose Hill Villas in Inver Grove Heights: "We wouldn't want any other manager. Nominee's willingness to speak up when he thinks it's important, I hope he is our manager for a long time to come. Homeowners love how fast he is in resolving their issues!" DL at Stillwater Mills in Stillwater: "Nominee, thanks for your guidance in helping us make the good decisions and for the times you have to be the bad cop when dealing with irate homeowners. As a group I believe we are moving in a direction that may prove to be the most effective team yet!"

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

Nominee has created and facilitates the administration of Company's Board Orientation Sessions. These session are invaluable to our Boards and our Managers to create strong, results driven collaborations with our clients. His belief in, and promotion of, education, education, education and his encouragement to others has helped our company employ some of the highest credentialed staff (we have 3 PCAMS, and one doing their case study right now). He helped create a monthly manager's seminar to keep our staff informed and up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Nominee gives 1000% in everything he does, and it shows in his relationships with his co-workers, Board Members and vendors. He is also a member of the CAI Communications Committee and writes an article for each issue of the Minnesota Community Living Magazine. Nominee is always in the forefront of introducing our company to the newest technology and helping both our staff and his Boards understand the importance of keeping up with the times.

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

Nominee is an example of passion, commitment, and dedication to the Property Management Industry. To quote a vendor who recently spent some time with Nominee at the National Conference in Orlando: "You are a rare breed indeed. You have found your calling and our industry needs great people like you." He is the kind of a manager that digs in and asks questions, is not afraid to go into battle for what he believes in. He can be a bulldog one minute and the kindest, most understanding person in the room the next. He immediately can understand and access almost any situation and determine what is necessary for an expedient and fair result. His years of experience in, and knowledge of, this industry far surpass anything that can be taught in a classroom, but he is dedicated to education, and most recently, along with managing a full portfolio of properties has earned his PCAM. He regularly contributes articles to the Minnesota Community Living Magazine, and it very active in the CAI-MN organization. Cedar Management has pages and pages of acknowledgments from Board members who have worked with Bob over the years. Board members who have grown to appreciate his honesty, integrity, knowledge of and connections within our industry (if you need it, Nominee know where to find it!) Without revealing too much regarding Nominee, let me just say this, our industry probably only has a handful of year's left to which Nominee will be a part of, before he chooses to enter that next phase in his life called..Retirement! The people that know and work with Nominee understand what an award like this would mean to him. In their eyes there is no one more deserving in 2014 than Nominee.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D3

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.

While Nominee has been involved on a day-to-day basis taking care of issues quickly and efficiently, I want to briefly discuss a more long-term project Josh has spearheaded with our HOA, with EXCELLENT results. Our HOA has been hot hard by the recent economic problems of the last several years. Dues are not being paid, homes are being foreclosed, and residents were not taking pride in ownership of our community. Our Board has tried several different tactics over the years to bring payments up and restore the community to what it should be. We had limited success. Then Josh came in and took over management of our HOA. He worked with the Board to develop and comprehensive long-term strategy to deal with the delinquencies and related problems. This included working with an attorney to file civil demands (and begin foreclosure / eviction proceedings where needed), mediating deed purchases with investors, working with residents on payment plans, adjusting our budgets to account for bad debt and legal fees, and much more. He stayed on top of the problem for years on end, updating the Board regularly with successes and ideas to address some of the failures. He constantly re-evaluated our situation and tried to steer the Board in the right direction, using his considerable experience in the field.

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.

The measurable result of Nominee's work has been detailed over time in our financials andstatus report of delinquent accounts. This has shrunken considerably over the years, and along with it has come tens of thousands of dollars in dues that otherwise would have been lost. That doesn't even include the future dues that were maintained as Nominee worked to keep accounts from entering a downward spiral which would eventually lead to the owner abandoning the property. What follows are his measurable benefits to our association: Delinquency Policy - Implemented and managed a delinquency management plan which resulted in a decrease in foreclosures, decrease in accounts receivables, and etc. a. Successfully collected over $14,000 from one delinquent homeowner b. Outside the box thinking: i. Worked with numerous investors to purchase foreclosing units. The investors took on the burden of maintaining and cleaning up the unit while paying dues. This avoided a lengthy and expensive foreclosure process and decreased the loss in revenues from delinquencies b. Legal Issues Successfully guided the Association through several large legal issues. c. Financial Planning Completed a full 30 year reserve study as a tool for the Board of Directors to further establish their funding policy.

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

Yes, Nominee didn't just take a 9-5 or at our scheduled meeting attitude with our HOA. Nominee would answer calls and emails from me well outside business hours, even at times on weekends. He was a trusted professional that I knew would be available when I needed it. Even at our scheduled meetings, where he would update us on progress, h'd gladly stay late into the night answering questions and giving us his expert advice. I've worked with other managers in the past and Josh far and away was the most responsive, going above my expectations.

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

I believe I gave a good list of reasons why Nominee deserves recognition. His work has led to a stronger HOA, dealing with unique challenges that our HOA presented him. Where others failed, Nominee excelled.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D4

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 managed a townhouse association when it was discovered that more than half of the lots had not been properly added to the common interest community by the developer. By the time the problem was discovered, many of those lots were owned by a bank following mortgage foreclosure. Nominee worked closely with the Board during the process of evaluating alternatives, negotiating agreements and amending the governing documents to add the omitted lots to the CIC.

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.

Adding the omitted lots resolved many significant issues such as access to a public street, easements for utilities, use and enjoyment of the yards surrounding the townhouses, lawn care, snow removal, exterior building maintenance and insurance. Adding these lots also made it possible for the bank to sell the vacant lots so the development can be completed.

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

Amending the governing documents required obtaining consent from 100% of the owners of the original lots plus 100% of the owners of the added lots, while working through complex legal issues.

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

Nominee's diligence and patience were instrumental in helping the association resolve this challenging situation in a mutually beneficial way, rather than plunging into disputes and litigation.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D5

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 manages Company, a low-rise 212 unit condominium association in St. Paul. Built in 2003, the property required window replacements and related exterior restoration for all dwellings as a result of initial construction flaws. Unusual for a property fewer than 10 years old, the Association Board found themselves having to deal with a potentially very complex and costly problem. In the end, most of the work was paid for in a settlement with the developer and contractors who built the buildings, and the work to accomplish the restoration began. Nominee worked
closely with the Board to manage the financial and administrative issues related to this very complicated project. Once funds were available, Nominee and an engineering company selected by the Association acted as a resource and helped the Association to choose a construction firm to accomplish the required work. Gittleman Construction & Maintenance (GCM), an affiliated construction company of FirstService Residential, was retained by the Association as an owner’s representative to oversee the day-to-day operations, coordinate scheduling in units, and participate as an owners’ representative in weekly construction meetings. In the second phase of project, GCM was also hired to do sheetrock, foaming and painting, as well as mechanical work inside the homes. Under contract with GCM, rooftop equipment and bath fans are also currently being installed to help reduce the humidity levels within the homes and to hopefully reduce or eliminate the condensation on the windows.

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's construction is now complete with new windows and related equipment to help ensure the condensation problem does not recur and cause further damage to the property. The successful diagnosis and solution to the problem and completed renovation to all units prevents costly, ongoing repair work – and improves not only the condition of the property but the quality of life of its residents. This project was completed on time and on budget, with the Construction Supervisor working closely with Nominee and the Board to do everything possible to minimize homeowner inconvenience. The Association had at their disposal a knowledgeable, resourceful team whose mission was to advocate for homeowners and their investment.

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

This was a complicated project that entailed careful, expert management of all the various components and was above and beyond what is typically required from an Association Manager. Nomineesuccessfully worked with the board, contractors, and other concerned parties to ensure the job was kept on track and completed to satisfaction.

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

The comments and kudos Nominee has received for this (and regarding projects with other associations) speak for themselves. To the community associations she serves, she is a valued partner and advisor. “I think they've done a great job, always responsive, and it's easy to get answers to our questions. They attend meetings and our specific individual Nominee she is spectacular! I've emailed her 4 times today and she's responded. We email on daily basis and she's very good “. – Board Member, Emerald Gardens “They have provided rapid responses to questions and issues. Professional recommendations are appropriate. I have alot of respect for Brenda…” Board Member, Condo Association, St. Paul

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D6

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’s accomplishments span several different areas of work. He is currently leading the efforts of completing a design-build project for a new energy center at a large condominium building in downtown Minneapolis. The project is estimated to exceed the amount saved by the Association by over $800,000. Given this fact Nominee has sought out HIA Financing for the Association to have the entire $2.5M project financed through tax financing so that all homeowners can benefit from a dues decrease. That financing is in progress. He is educating and advising a newly transition Board of Directors that were recently developer controlled and has successfully negotiated a full service preventative maintenance agreement for very problematic mechanical system for this association. The association has spent over $150,000 in the course of the past 3 years replacing many components of the mechanical system as well as a variety of other mechanical repairs. Nominee was able to successfully negotiate the contract for the Preventive Maintenance to ensure all the mechanical equipment for the duration of the contract is maintained and replaced at the contractors cost if it fails. By doing so, this provides a cost savings of approximately 40% over the course of the contract. Nominee has also greatly exceeded customer service standards at Edina West Condominiums, presenting full community workshops and presentations on a variety of problems and concerns so the Association can understand their deficiencies and need for building-wide improvement projects. In less than six months the Association has undergone a massive transformation with property improvements including: full fob and camera installation, landscaping improvements, mechanical upgrades, and exterior façade improvements.

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.

 

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

The HIA Financing for the energy plant will allow for the full plant to be paid for by a government backed loan. The loan will be paid back to the government through individual property taxes at the Association with a low fixed-rate, amortized over a 20 year schedule. This will allow the Association to include all parts of the energy plant at once and to include some additional items that should be replaced in short-time, but the Board was considering deferring due to lack of funds. This will also allow for the reserve fund contributions to be decreased significantly which will offer a break to all homeowners in their monthly dues. The full-service preventative maintenance program will save the Association approximately 40% on their mechanical replacements each year over the course of the contract period. This recommendation and action took six months of negotiation and has the Association now in a much stronger financial position. The Association has also had much less disruption due to mechanical failures. When Shaun began managing Edina West Condominiums which was a recent acquisition by FirstService Residential the Board of Directors was split on the direction the Association should go. Nominee took a strong leadership role and attended weekly meetings with the Board to make some tough decisions. The Board was concerned about how the homeowners may react to some of their decisions, especially because money was being spent. Shaun went above and beyond and did full homeowner presentations on a variety of concerns at the community to educate and promote the Board’s decisions. This has made an amazing impact on the community and a past disgruntled homeowner population has become a great team of individuals all working together to improve the community they live in.

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

Nominee deserves this recognition because to him excellent customer service is not something that is achieved once in a while. It is ingrained into his daily routine. He exceeds expectations at every account that he manages. When he reaches a road-block he researches and works every angle to get around the road-block to ensure all of his clients are satisfied. He has a deep commitment to every one of his properties, employees, and colleagues.

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D7

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 always keeps his boards informed of the status of projects, problems, or cases on which I've worked with him. He asks the right questions and helps position his clients to be prepared for good or bad outcomes. He is a smart, conscientious individual and his commitment to the associations he represents is reflected in the lack of surprises they have when he's involved.

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.

Associations that Nominee works with often tend to be financially prepared to deal with the issues they face, whether those are repair costs or legal fees to ensure the members have a community they can be proud to call home.

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

Nominee's availability, accessibility, knowledge, and work ethic are above and beyond what might normally be expected of someone in his position.

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

 

Complete Judging Form for this Nominee


Nominee Number - D8

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.

Over the past 20 months Nominee worked closely with a team of professionals to develop the Grant Application for the Rehabilitation of the North Star Loft Blanket Sign. This effort included negotiating with the city of Minneapolis Historical Preservation Society to obtain the Certificate of Appropriateness to developing the team who ultimately lead to the successful award of the $247,000 of Legacy Grant funds to assist with rehabilitation of the large, urbanscape roof sign for North Star Lofts.

Nominee has played on ongoing instrumental role along with key association leaders in separating La Rive from a third-party energy plant as the end of the original energy contract approached and planning for and building a new energy plant for a 28 story building. Nominee’s work on the Energy plant has been a three year journey with many extra meetings, presentations, cost-benefit analysis, selection of owner representative, architect contractor, management of neighbor relations etc. Since the project construction started Nominee has attended weekly construction meetings along with all of the stakeholders to ensure that the Acted as the Board liaison to owner representative, contractor and subs to build an energy plant.

Over the last two years, Nominee has helped client Boards settle original construction lawsuits at two different associations. One was resolved in 2013 and the other in 2014. Nominee played an active role with each association and their counsel in navigating complicated issues and achieving a positive result for the clients.

Nominee has been an outstanding advocate for all of her client Associations.

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's efforts in obtaining a historical preservation grant for our client resulted in a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society in the amount of $247,000. This is not just a significant financial benefit to our client association of only 37 homes but is a broader cultural benefit for the whole community as this sign is a highly visible landmark in the community and part of the identify for the neighborhood and the river. Nominee also worked with design professionals so that when it is restored the lighting will be changed to restore a quality of light similar to its original lighting.

Kate’s work on the energy plan including all of the weekly meetings and many other extra meetings and projects for her has involved no additional expense to the association. The energy plant is currently estimated to save the Association $55,000 per year. Nominee was also able to find a loan option for the financing of the project that provided better terms than the several banks originally considered by the Association and saved the association over $75,000 in finance expenses over the life of the loan.

Nominee’ assistance in helping clients to settle lawsuits is difficult to quantify as the settlements were not attributable directly to her but she was very actively involved in the process and discussions all along the way and was an important part of the success of these efforts.

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

All of the things described in responses to the first two questions are above and beyond the normal service of an Association Manager to their clients. It is exceptional to give of oneself in the manner that Nominee has given. Nominee took ownership over issues she cared a lot about even though she was not obligated to perform at the level she did. She has worked tirelessly and successfully on extraordinarily complicated and challenging issues and opportunities. The clients received the benefit of this extraordinary work at no additional expense outside of their management fee.

It is not just the end result that was achieved in these instances but the outstanding relationship with the clients and within the broader community.

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

Nominee is always transparent with the client and makes sure that the client and her efforts are aligned to further their goals.

Her commitment level is truly above and beyond and she has been an outstanding problem solver and embraces accountability at a very high level.

She has been unafraid of tackling tough issues which are often left alone even though they are compelling just because they are difficult.

She has demonstrated interest, engagement and commitment in the broader community. She has been involved with neighborhood organization, Mpls Historical Preservation Committee, MN Historical Society, and the Downtown Council.

Nominee is simply an extraordinary Association Management professional.

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