2006 NAA Paragon Award winners.
David Moreno, CAMT, The Preserve at Travis Creek, Greystar Management--Austin, TX
As a lead maintenance technician, David Moreno, CAMT, is qualified to teach many maintenance seminars for membership, to serve on the faculty at Austin Apartment Association (AAA) for CAMT and CAMT II and to instruct maintenance modules of the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) program.
He has served seven years on AAA's Education Committee and serves on the annual Doc and Gayle Young Thanksgiving Food Drive.
He is an effective teacher and was designated as a mentor for Greystar in 2004. He helped The Preserve to become a finalist for AAA's Property of the Year.
The Preserve's Community Manager, Sunshine Polanco, said of Moreno, "[His] ability to diffuse potentially difficult situations and to calm angry residents rivals even the best of managers. He is the first to volunteer when help is needed and is the most requested person in the company to lead due diligence teams.
"He truly epitomizes the phrase 'above and beyond,'" Polanco said.
National Apartment Leasing Professional of the Year
Dana Oliver, NALP, The Preserve at Travis Creek, Greystar Management--Austin, TX
Dana Oliver, NALP, is a key contributor to the success of The Preserve at Travis Creek apartment community through her genuine attentiveness, concern and respect for all residents and fellow associates. She received a record-high score for a blind shop at her community.
With 20 years in the industry, she is an experienced problem solver and listener, which sets the stage for incredible customer service. She sets an example as a teacher in her position as Senior Leasing Professional, in which she mentors many colleagues.
She serves on three Austin Apartment Association committees: Community Service, Go-Getters and Ambassadors. She has contributed time and effort toward community service events, such as the Safe Place Walk and the local Annual Doc and Gayle Young food drive, which helped to raise money to feed 1,000 families in Austin.
She also was the 2006 Texas Apartment Association's Leasing Professional of the Year.
Certified Apartment Manager of the Year
Melissa Breland, CAM, Southgate Towers, R.W. Day--Baton Rouge, LA
Melissa Breland, CAM, joined R.W. Day three years ago as Community Manager for a student community. She is now Regional Manager for one of R.W. Day's newest communities--Southgate Towers, a six-building development that also includes condominiums and retail.
The community has seen an increase in income and occupancy and a decrease in expenses, employee turnover and maintenance response times under her leadership. She has developed her own team to assist with marketing and training efforts for other R.W. Day communities.
In the spirit of internal marketing, she has created the "It's Cheaper to Keep Her" campaign, which strives to retain residents through strong customer service by the entire staff. She also instituted a "Food for Finals" program to help feed student residents healthy meals on tight budgets during exam week.
She is able to motivate and manage multiple teams, using different approaches that work best with the specific group.
Chris Christenson Association Executive of the Year
Terry Feinberg, President, Arizona Multihousing Association--Phoenix, AZ
Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) events and activities are flourishing under Terry Feinberg's leadership. Though it's a good problem to have, AMA now struggles to find enough meaningful opportunities for all the members who want to volunteer and to become an active part of the organization. Feinberg has positioned AMA to respond to any challenge or opportunity.
AMA's financial standing is impressive; it has generated a net profit the past two years. AMA is at the forefront of legislative discussions, community service, Web site and electronic communications effectiveness, membership development and professional education.
Perhaps the greatest achievement since Feinberg arrived at AMA in May 2002 is the "buzz" that now surrounds AMA.
From city halls to the broader association community, from local communities to the boardrooms of its members, AMA has become a highly regarded and well-respected organization.
Professional Designate of the Year
Mindy McCorkle, CAM, CAPS, Crosland Inc.--Charlotte, NC
Mindy McCorkle, CAM, CAPS, serves as President of the Charlotte Apartment Association (CAA) and is on the board of directors of the North Carolina Apartment Association. She was CAA Instructor of the Year in 2005 and serves on its Government Affairs Committee.
Crosland Inc., where McCorkle works, develops and manages sophisticated and highly visible mixed-income and mixed-use communities, and McCorkle has a deep understanding of complex and sensitive urban community issues and knows the value of affordable housing and its importance to a municipality. She serves a unique and critical dual role as Operations Manager for the entire portfolio (5,000 units), as well as Regional Manager with multi-site responsibility. As a measure of her effectiveness, Crosland's voluntary turnover rate is nearly half the national average of 35 percent.
In 2005, McCorkle helped Crosland's portfolio's same-store NOI to grow by 8 percent compared to 2004. She helped its management fee income to grow by 9 percent.
National Supplier's Council Achievement Award
Mitchell Blatt, President and COO, Coinmach Corporation--Plainview, NY
Mitchell Blatt is President and Chief Operating Officer for Coinmach Corporation, a national laundry service company for multifamily housing communities. During his 25-year career in the apartment industry, Blatt has been involved with local affiliates and NAA. His company has a long-standing record of support and sponsorship for many NAA events and programs, including annually providing Platinum-level support for the NAA Education Conference & Exposition.
Blatt was a charter member of the NAA Education Foundation Founders Circle and served on its Board since its inception. He sits on the Board of the NAA Education Institute, the National Supplier's Council (NSC), the 2006 Conference Committee and the Strategic Growth Committee.
"Mitchell Blatt is among the most highly regarded members of the National Supplier's Council," said Mike Hendel, 2006 NSC Chair. "He has devoted time, energy and money to all NAA endeavors. He has given the NSC a greater voice in all things related to NAA, its members and the scope of its overall membership growth."
Independent Rental Owner of the Year, 100 Units or Under
Jack Terrillion, NALP, Terrillion Investments--Dallas, TX
Twenty years ago, Jack Terrillion, NALP, decided to enter the real estate market on a part-time basis. He initially devoted himself to maximizing profits, but over time, he realized the critical role he plays in his residents' lives.
His strategies were to gain a 15 percent ROI on units rented for $450 to $700, buy in solid and up-and-coming markets and at below-market prices, and purchase foreclosed communities, for example, and then rent them quickly.
Traditionally, Terrillion buys rental properties overlooking water (a creek, lake or pool) and near primary transportation.
He understands the value of the benefits offered by NAA and the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas.
A former NAA Independent Rental Owners Committee Chair, Terrillion also served on legislative, education and communications committees and has shared his business ideas to improve others' bottom lines.
Independent Rental Owner of the Year, 101-500 Units
Don Werner, Performance Real Estate Management--Denver, CO
Don Werner entered the real estate market in 1995 with the purchase of a six-unit building. After making some subtle improvements, he sold it two years later and purchased a 24-unit building, which he improved and sold in 1998. He continued this pattern of buying properties that were 30 to 50 years old with 24 to 50 units. Today he owns and manages three communities totaling 112 units.
Werner, a former NAA Independent Rental Owners Committee Chair, seeks communities that are performing below market because of deferred maintenance and poor management practices. Among his improvements are new tile and kitchen countertops--which he installs personally--and two-tone paint and improved lighting. He ensures safety by installing ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) where necessary. He uses natural resident turnover to accomplish those improvements and to increase NOI at a community. With turnover at 50 percent in his market, it takes 12 to 18 months to significantly improve a community. Werner performs most of the maintenance work himself.
Host Committee Award
Apartment Association of Metro Denver
The Apartment Association of Metro Denver (AAMD) served as host in the city of Denver for the 2006 NAA Education Conference & Exposition. With the help of AAMD's dedicated members and volunteers, NAA was able to offer topnotch education, a successful trade show and valuable networking opportunities.
AAMD consists of more than 800 apartment owners, management firms and suppliers who represent and service more than 130,000 apartment homes valued at $10 billion. It is the largest apartment association in the Rocky Mountain Region. Together with the Colorado Apartment Association (CAA) and NAA, AAMD offers a strong network of information, education and representation.
AAMD sponsors a chili cook-off, golf fund raisers, ski trips and an annual trade show.
Garden/Townhouse, Pre 1979, 150 Units or Under
Linden Square Townhomes Wellesley, MA Boston Residential Group
Linden Square Townhomes offers residents the opportunity to live in one of the most desirable communities in Massachusetts at an affordable price. The community is located one-tenth of a mile from the town center in the heart of Wellesley.
The 64 townhome-style units, originally constructed in 1967, are situated in a campus setting that recently has been renovated. The exterior remodeling in 2004 included roofs, siding, windows, paving, lighting and other improvements. The community layout promotes a neighborhood feel, with courtyards and benches, winding walkways, decorative trellis work and all the beauty one expects in Wellesley.
Linden Square provides an ideal living environment with a 1,268-square-foot, two-level floor plan designed to maximize living and storage spaces. Every townhome features two bedrooms, one and one-half baths, fireplaces and a private, fenced-in backyard area. Each apartment includes new kitchens, appliances, baths, refinished hardwood floors and elegant crown moulding.
Garden/Townhouse, Pre 1979, Over 150 Units
Windsor Ridge at Westborough Westborough, MA Windsor Property Management
Windsor Ridge, a quaint, colonial-style townhome community, is part of a well-planned neighborhood where residents feel free to walk around and interact with others. Many of the programs that it offers residents have a long-standing tradition. Windsor Ridge hosts a Halloween party, pool barbeque, babysitters' club, movie nights, wine tasting events and cooking classes with a local chef.
Windsor Ridge has not only survived in this market, it has excelled. In the face of much new construction and renovation of apartment communities in the area, Windsor Ridge has maintained occupancy between 95 percent and 98 percent each quarter since March 2005.
Recent renovation was based on responses from resident focus groups--one more way Windsor Ridge meets residents' needs. Among the upgrades were new windows and interior doors on closets and rooms, two-tone paint, vertical blinds on patio doors and more cabinets and counter space in the kitchen.
Garden/Townhouse, 1980-1999, 150 Units or Under
Stone Run East Weymouth, MA Corcoran Management Co.
Stone Run East consists of a small grouping of distinctive garden-style apartment homes on 17 acres of natural woodlands. Stone Run is accessible to major highways, beaches, public transportation and shopping.
The thoughtfully planned apartments have been designed for a wide range of lifestyles and offer a look that is both fashionable and comfortable. The community offers complimentary coffee and newspapers in its clubhouse. Stone Run East's rental office provides free faxing and photocopying services for residents, and its garden area is tilled in the spring so residents can plant flowers and vegetables. The community's brick buildings are accessed through security doors monitored by closed-circuit cameras. Each building has its own laundry room.
Its occupancy rate has increased regularly since August 2004. As of July 2005, Stone Run East's occupancy was at 98.54 percent, while competitors in the area were at the low- to mid-90s.
Garden/Townhouse, 1980-1999, Over 150 Units
AMLI at St. Charles St. Charles, IL AMLI Residential
AMLI at St. Charles is a 400-unit luxury community set on 26.5 acres. Five generous floor plans offer custom home details, majestic lake views and resort-style living near historic downtown St. Charles.
Its management team has produced outstanding performance since the community opened in 1999 and has made the community an asset of which AMLI, its residents and the city of St. Charles are proud. Many team members have been with the community since it opened and have contributed to winning seven prestigious awards over the past few years. A high level of service at this community is evidenced by its No. 1 ranking in AMLI's customer satisfaction survey for two consecutive years.
The AMLI at St. Charles team has more than 25 years of industry experience and takes pride in being active in the community and setting high standards. The community's occupancy in 2005 was approximately 95 percent.
Garden/Townhouse, Post 2000, 150 Units or Under
Cordis Mills Millbury, MA The Dolben Company
A restoration project unlike most, Cordis Mills is ideally situated in the heart of historic Blackstone Valley. Access to all major New England highways, transit hubs and centers of culture and commerce is quick and easy.
From the foundation of the original 1870s mill, three stories of luxury apartments have been carefully designed and constructed to afford every amenity while respecting each historic detail. Common areas displaying antique mill equipment pay homage to the valley's glory days of textile, while the new swimming pool and fitness center reflect the pace of modern lifestyles. The community room is constructed almost entirely of brick with high ceilings and sunny mill windows. Thanks to the preservation of original architectural charms, Cordis Mills' 112 units, which opened January 2004, are available in 11 distinct models, each featuring one-of-a kind characteristics.
The community has been 97 percent occupied since June 2005 and topped 99 percent occupancy in August 2005.
Mid/High Rise, Pre 1979, 150 Units or Under
Nissen Building Apartments Winston-Salem, NC HRI Management
Nissen provides luxurious downtown living in a historic, 18-floor high-rise building and is one of a few Winston-Salem, N.C., addresses that boast both city and mountain views. It is one of the crown jewels of the city skyline and is a listed structure on the National Register of Historic Places.
While maintaining its classic, art deco architecture on the exterior, The Nissen exudes contemporary elegance and luxury on the interior. Each apartment home is tastefully designed with gourmet kitchens that are equipped with granite countertops, hardwood cabinetry and tile floors. Additionally, expansive windows, designer lighting, ceramic tiled baths and all-new appliances, including washers, dryers and microwaves, are standard amenities. Residents have controlled card access to a state-of-the-art fitness center and heated roof-top pool and cabana area where they can take in magnificent views of the entire city. The Nissen opened one year ago to residents following a $30 million redevelopment.
Mid/High Rise, Pre 1979, Over 150 Units
Chestnut Park Springfield, MA The Dolben Company
Chestnut Park Apartments consists of four high- and mid-rise buildings on two continuous downtown blocks. In late 1996, the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) took control of Chestnut Park and assigned the community's management contract to The Dolben Company with the request that it improve Chestnut's overall conditions.
Using a $5 million tax credit loan, Dolben began a physical rehabilitation and assigned a new management team to the community. Dolben offered classes at the community that helped residents to write their resumes and fill out job applications. It provided affordable day care. It acquired grants that were used to create youth activities, such as after-school homework centers, where basic school supplies were available. Students who excelled in those programs were given movie passes or tickets to sporting events. Dolben formed youth sports teams for residents, and today, more than 100 children are participating. As a result, vacancy is now less than 1.5 percent and the community's social problems have disappeared.
Mid/High Rise, Post 2000, 150 Units or Under
Kensington at Chelmsford Chelmsford, MA The Dolben Company
Kensington at Chelmsford is a luxury community with a perfect blend of small-town charm and easy accessibility with a location just minutes from major highways and shopping centers.
Its one- and two-bedroom apartment homes are fully furnished with appliances, including full-size washers and dryers, white-on-white GE appliances and climate-controlled garages with elevator access. Its beautifully decorated community center offers residents a place to sit and read a book, workout in the fitness center or just relax by the pool.
Residents have described living at the Kensington at Chelmsford as being a part of a neighborhood community where the staff makes a point to get to know them personally and where they feel their needs are valued and met. Its occupancy on average for the past year is 95 percent.
Lubbock Apartment Association
The Lubbock Apartment Association (LAA) produces and manages the Lubbock Apartments.com magazine and Web site--both of which provide cost-effective, targeted advertising to communicate with prospective residents. Lubbock Apartments.com magazine has more than 320 distribution locations that include apartment communities, colleges, hospitals and restaurants.
Advertising rates start at $62.50 per quarter, or less than 1 cent per exposure. Lubbock Apartments.com's online complement costs as little as $60 per quarter. Both media are directed by an advisory committee of members chosen by LAA who regularly meet to evaluate costs and to facilitate strategic planning for the future.
The Lubbock Apartments.com Web site receives an average of 3.3 million hits a month from prospective residents seeking housing in the Lubbock Metro area. McDougal Companies, representing 15 large apartment communities in the Lubbock area, reported that Lubbock Apartments.com magazine and Web site generated 516 leases for its communities last year.
Community Service Award
Houston Apartment Association
Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast last year and is estimated to have caused 1,600 deaths and $75 billion in damages. As a result, more than 230,000 people evacuated to Houston.
The Houston Apartment Association's (HAA) hurricane housing program quickly and efficiently provided affordable housing to more than 150,000 people of 34,000 families who evacuated to the Houston area from Louisiana and Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. HAA spearheaded the outreach effort and ensured that evacuees' housing needs were met quickly, efficiently and respectfully.
It coordinated closely with government agencies, even as their roles and responsibilities were constantly changing. It communicated quickly, accurately and often to HAA members, apartment owners, evacuees and the general public as events and developments changed the dynamics on a daily, or even hourly, basis for months. It protected the interests of apartment owners, whose generosity placed them at tremendous financial risk.
Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association
Maintenance Madness was planned and coordinated by the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association (GCNKAA) in conjunction with its Education Committee and Programs Committee to satisfy, the association's growing desire to involve maintenance personnel in GCNKAA activities and to broaden the scope of their technical education.
Maintenance Madness took the place of the monthly September general membership meeting. It was structured as a mini-trade show, but instead of service partners displaying their products or services, exhibitors demonstrated how their products or services are used. Each selected a maintenance topic, such as filling a hole in a wall or the correct way to paint, and demonstrated the proper technique at the booth.
This event was not to be viewed as a sales opportunity, but instead as a chance to educate the industry. Maintenance Madness was originally budgeted to break even, but because of its popularity, sponsorship and effective management, it netted $2,200.
Government Affairs Award
Apartment Association of Greater Dallas
Tired of battling City of Dallas code inspectors, police, council members and other city staff, the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) motivated its members to become informed and involved in local elections; raised the awareness in the community regarding the voting potential of the 60 percent of the population that lives in rental housing; and selected, supported and influenced the outcome of the four City Council seats up for election in May 2005.
AAGD formed a Voter Mobilization Task Force of apartment personnel and residents and enlisted the commitment of owner members to promote voter registration activities. It hired a public relations professional to ensure positive press coverage. The candidates that AAGD endorsed in all four districts won their elections. The new council members are well acquainted with AAGD's members and issues. These new council members are now seen as "go-to" people and have helped with many issues.
Membership Development Award
Arizona Multihousing Association
The AMAzing Race Membership Drive by the Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) was designed to grow the membership base, to increase revenues and to meet member needs.
Previously, AMA's membership committee simply assisted with retention calls. Membership had declined slightly for five consecutive years, and the recent wave of condo conversions hurt the total.
For the drive, AMA actively recruit all of its members to participate in bringing in new members through their individual circles of contacts. That way, members were making warm-calls instead of cold-calling prospects. For the six-week program, the recruiting member who brought in a new recruit earned a "lap."
AMA's goal was to have 10 teams generate a total of 11,000 laps. In the end, the 16 "racing" teams had totaled 12,565 laps and AMA had increased membership by 3,106 or 1.1 percent, and dues revenue by $84,419 or 9.97 percent.