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Models of excellence: special presentation honors the extraordinary.

This year, the National Apartment Association (NAA) hosted its annual PARAGON Awards ceremony at the 2002 Education Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Fla. Winners were honored in a special ceremony, held immediately prior to the Closing Gala. The four categories of PARAGON Awards are Affiliated Apartment Associations; Professional Designates; National Suppliers Council (NSC); and Builders, Owners and Developers Forum (BODF).

The association awards recognize state and local affiliates who provide outstanding programs and service to their members. The professional designate awards recognize individuals who have earned one or more professional designations, and have demonstrated excellence in their career in the rental housing industry. The NSC award recognizes a member of the NSC who is an extraordinary example of the importance of the relationship between the rental housing industry and it's suppliers. The Builders, Owners and Developers Forum awards recognize excellence in construction and rehabilitation of apartment communities.

Douglas Culkin, CAE, NAA Executive Vice President said, "As a strong national federation, an annual awards program is one of the most critical programs we provide. By sharing the following profiles on the winning individuals and organizations, all members of our industry are able to see these models of excellence, and share in these best practices."

Our industry is filled with extraordinary professionals who continuously push themselves to new heights, setting their own personal "bar of excellence" ever higher as they achieve goals. This month we highlight those incredible individuals who model the very best of our national designates.

As you read through their personal stories of success, you'll discover ordinary people who have used the achievement of their designation to launch them into extraordinary lives in the industry. Let each of these professionals tell you about the dedication that brought them such personal and professional success. Learn the winning work habits that have propelled them--and can take you--to a new level of achievement.

Use these stories to focus forward and challenge yourself to bring your best to work and home every day. Consider the NAA designate program as your launch pad to your own personal success story.

Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician of the Year

Phillip Foley: A Committed Inspiring Teacher

Phillip Foley, CAMT, Project Service Director for BNP Residential Properties in Charlotte, N.C., won this year's Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT) of the Year Award.

Foley has been active in the multi-family housing industry for more than 12 years. In 1996, he received his CAMT designation and currently is an instructor for CAMT, CAM and CAPS classes for the Triangle Apartment Association, Raleigh, N.C.

"Phillip has been a model industry leader as a respected regional maintenance supervisor; committed and inspiring educational class teacher; and versatile committee chairperson," said Ken Szymanski, Executive Director, Charlotte Apartment Association.

"He has worked his way up in the world of multifamily rental housing maintenance; is an unselfish class leader for a wide variety of maintenance topics; and is a role model for maintenance students because he knows what he is talking about and has, `been in their shoes.'"

Foley served as Construction Supervisor for the Charlotte Apartment Association's Habitat for Humanity Project. At BNP, Foley works one-on-one with onsite service managers, stressing the importance of preventative maintenance.

To help ensure that communities receive the proper service, Foley created two maintenance forms--both interior and exterior. He designed a handbook to help prevent mold occurrences. Foley believes very strongly in education.

Teresa Sandman, CAM, CAPS, Director of Property Management, BNP Residential, said, "Phillip believes in the importance of not just having our team members attend, but also each service member attend the Fair Housing program. Because of Phillip's efforts, BNP is one of the few companies that pays for all team members to attend such an important portion of the continued training that occurs within the year."

Foley also works on large capital replacement and improvements for BNP. He supervised the renovations of two communities that won the Property of the Year Award from the Triangle Apartment Association.

"It is my personal belief that solid teamwork is the sole foundation for success," said Foley.

"While our industry has changed in many ways, the basics for providing superior customer service are the same.

"I feel that good resident retention comes from continual feedback from our customers. I encourage my employees to work outside the box and take risks that are crucial in their success."

Foley is proud of his designations and wants others to be certified as well.

Professional Designates of the Year

Renee Clark: Exceeded Performance Expectations

Debi Wehmeir: Develops Happy, Productive Staff

There are two winners of this year's Professional Designate of the Year Award.

The first winner, Renee Clark, CAM, CAPS, is a Senior Regional Manager for Gables Residential. Clark began her career in the multifamily housing industry 15 years ago and has been active in both the Austin Apartment Association and the Texas Apartment Association. She has served on the Austin Apartment Association Board of Directors since 1999 and is currently a co-chair for the Publication Committee and serves on numerous committees.

Clark was selected as the Texas Apartment Association's 2002 Professional Designate of the Year. She believes education is the key to under standing what other members of her team are working on and that it increases everyone's level of knowledge.

Clark not only has achieved her CAM and CAPS designation, she is an instructor for both.

"Continuous education from within the company and the local apartment association is critical in making sure all associates receive proper and ongoing training," said Clark. "I personally attend these classes myself, so I too can understand each associate's job function and the role they play in this industry. I highly promote cross-training in all job positions in order to create depth with my region."

Clark also has created numerous procedures for Gables Residential. She developed a Lease Expiration Grid to help properties manage their annual occupancy levels. The grid controls the number of leases that expire each month per floor plan type. She also worked on the Quality Regional Property Inspection, which helps regional managers conduct a thorough property inspection.

Michael M. Hefley, Chief Operating Officer, Gables Residential, said, "Renee has consistently exceeded all internal expectations in the projected future performance of her portfolio. Actual results for 2000 were a same-store sales increase in NOI of 8 percent. Even more impressive, given market conditions in 2001, rent growth was more than 4.5 percent; economic occupancy exceeded 92 percent; and NOI actually was positive year over year.

The second winner is Debi Wehmeir, CAM, CAPS, CPM.

Wehmeir is a Regional Vice President at Greystar and serves on the Austin Apartment Association's Executive Committee and as Chairperson of the Austin Supervisory Council.

She has been active in the multifamily housing industry for more than 20 years. She teaches CAM and CAPS courses and created her own course based on Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Wehmeir created a workbook to accompany the course, which has been taught to more than 100 people. She uses the philosophy from Covey's book as her work ethic.

"I believe that as a supervisor, be it a manager, regional manager, vice president, or anyone who is a leader of people has enormous power," said Wehmeir. "We have a choice to spread light or a shadow ... Our attitude creates a domino effect ... It has been proven that happy people are the most productive people."

Wehmeir not only works with NAA and Greystar, she expands her circles to expand her knowledge. Angelique Goodnough, CPM, Regional Partner, Greystar Management, said, "Debi organizes and hosts quarterly round table discussions with professionals from other companies. She learns and grows herself and exposes her supervisors to a wider pool of experience by initiating these luncheons. She has made it her mission to be on the cutting edge of developments in mold remediation, energy deregulation and utility submetering."

Wehmeir is skilled in finance and marketing. She has developed a budgeting process that includes the entire staff, resulting in maintenance staff that is as qualified to read and evaluate financial statements as the managing staff is.

She is also adept at repositioning existing communities through both physical rehabilitation and total marketing plans. One of her older "B" communities was recently named Property of the Year, beating out newer and more upscale communities.

National Apartment Leasing Professionals of the Year

Tammy Kister: Makes Her Residents Feel at Home

Kim Kojak: Delivers Enthusiastic, Consistent Service

There are two winners in this year's National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) of the Year Award.

The first winner is Tammy Kister, NALP, CAM, Property Supervisor, T&L Properties, Abilene, Texas.

Kister began working as a manager for Camelot Apartments a year ago. At that time, the community had a 26 percent vacancy factor. Many of the residents were not satisfied with their community. Camelot Apartments now proudly reports it has a 0 percent vacancy rate and monthly collections rate of 100 percent.

"Tammy has worked very hard to improve the curb appeal and reputation of the complex," said Stewart A. Greenstein, General Partner, T&L Properties, Miami. "She has engineered unique ways of showing our appreciation to the residents and in making them `feel at home.'"

One of the first things Kister did when she arrived at Camelot was administer a resident retention survey, enabling her to find out what residents wanted.

Kister worked on maintaining her current residents while enticing new ones. She let the residents know that management cared about them by throwing a pool party with food and prizes. A barbeque grill and covered tables were added to the pool area. When it came time for residents to renew, they were given their choice of a free item upgrade.

One idea that thrilled her residents was when she arranged for complimentary 8x10 professional photos to be taken of the residents during the holidays. Kister also made sure to welcome all new residents, each of whom found a coupon for a free pizza and a soda on the table when they moved in. This made their first dinner in their new apartment "on the house."

Said Kister, "I have continued to do little things throughout the year for my residents, knowing that consistency is the key to showing the residents that we are truly sincere in our appreciation for them."

The second winner is Kim Kojak, NALP. Kojak is a Senior Leasing Consultant at Princeton Properties at Pheasant Run, Nashua, N.H. She has more than 12 years experience in the multifamily housing industry.

Princeton Properties not only strives for resident satisfaction, it guarantees it with the Princeton Pledge. The Princeton Pledge promises residents that if they feel their needs have not been met, they may cancel their lease (within the first few weeks following move-in) and receive a full refund. This pledge may sound risky and daring to some, but Pheasant Run has lost only two residents in the past five years to the pledge. Perhaps this rate has something to do with the way Pheasant Run treats its residents.

"What sets Kim apart as a leasing professional is a combination of characteristics that are vital to her success," said Mary Jo Early, Community Manager. "Kim has a strong work ethic, unwavering enthusiasm, competitive drive and her concern for the well being of her residents."

Staff helps make sure the resident move-ins run smoothly and that all the needs of all the residents are met.

"Being enthusiastic and consistent in customer service is contagious," said Kojak. "The maintenance staff understands their role in resident retention and consistently provides prompt and courteous service. We are thrilled when residents effortlessly renew their leases."

Kojak and Pheasant Run offer residents numerous community benefits. New residents are given a Resident Handbook, enabling them to become familiar with their apartment appliances and their new home. Pheasant run also offers to water plants and pet-sit while residents are away. They provide residents with move-in presents, anniversary cards and service questionnaires.

Kojak attended the first NALP course offered by the Rental Housing Association in Boston. She also won their 2001 NALP of the Year Award. NAA currently is establishing a new affiliate in New Hampshire and Kojak is thrilled to be involved in both the local and state level.

Certified Apartment Manager of the Year

Nancy Levell: Always Beady and Willing

Nancy Lovell, CAM, Senior Community Manager, United Dominion Realty Trust, Orlando, Fla., won this year's Certified Apartment Manager of the Year Award.

Lovell currently has CAPS, CAM, ARM, RAM and Advanced RAM designations and presently is earning her CPM. She is an instructor for The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (MGO) and serves on its board. In 2001, Lovell helped to develop a new AAGO course--Pre-CAM for Aspiring Managers. She currently serves as a Co-instructor of that class.

"Always ready and willing, Nancy is an instructor for the Human Resources module of our CAM program," said Laura M. Yoder, Executive Vice President, MGO. "She is well spoken, knowledgeable and very comfortable in front of our classes. She makes all of our designate presentations."

Lovell has been involved in the multifamily housing industry for more than 15 years. Kathy Ratchford, CAM, CAPS, Assistant Vice President, United Dominion, said, "In each of the critical factors for assessing financial and operational development, Nancy has far exceeded industry and company norms. She consistently maintains high occupancy, superior collections, near perfect audits, immaculate curb appeal, and the highest standards in resident services. She's known for reducing resident turnover, for aggressively driving rent growth and for increasing other income."

Lovell has aggressively pursued industry education and said that she was inspired after reading about Tami Martin, NALE CAM, CAMT, CAPS, Senior Operations Manager, Archstone Communities, in the September 2001 edition of Units magazine.

She strives to achieve excellence in her field and encourages others to take education courses. There are four CAMs on her team. Lovell maintained 95 percent occupancy with a 0 percent delinquency this year.

She has received praise and recognition for her hard work and dedication. In 2000, United Dominion Realty Trust named Lovell its 2000 Community Director of the Year. She teaches CAM and CAPS courses.

"I have been inspired from the day I walked into AAGO many years ago," said Lovell. "I always wanted to be the best possible manager that I could be. I believe that training is the way to go. Learn everything you can. Refresh often. Train your team. Push them to be the best they can be."

Association Executive of the Year

Ken Szymanski: Leads Record-Breaking Association

Ken Szymanski, Executive Director of the Apartment Association of North Carolina/Charlotte Apartment Association (CAA) received the 2002 Association Executive of the Year Award, which recognizes the vital role association executives play in advancing NAA's goals and objectives. Szymanski has been the Executive Director for both the Charlotte Apartment Association and the Apartment Association of North Carolina for more than 16 years. Prior to this he served as Education/Public Affairs Director of the San Antonio Apartment Association.

Szymanski is most proud of his association's brochure Higher Density Housing: A Key to Smart Growth in the Charlotte Region. This brochure was used as an effective tool to fight Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) claims in 2001. The brochure was sent to more than 1,400 neighborhood organizations, 200 City Council, County Commission and Commission members in the Charlotte metro area, as well as print and broadcast media.

The brochure was, "successful in contributing to a better understanding of why multifamily rental housing is such an important part of a smart growth future in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, thus enabling a greater level of housing diversity on the district level as consumers' housing needs, jobs and lifestyles may change."

The Charlotte Apartment Association, under Szymanski's leadership, worked with state and local politicians to help educate them on key issues in their local areas. They worked with the North Carolina General Assembly to help eliminate a duplicate process of submetering water quality-resulting in a savings of approximately $300,000 in annual costs in the Charlotte market for CAA-member properties and owners.

In addition, Szymanski and his association educated more than 400 member apartment managers, service technicians and leasing consultants through courses and seminars (NAA courses and more than 20 additional sessions). The CAA trade show broke records in 2001--almost 1,000 attendees and 105 exhibitors. Service technicians were honored at Lowe's Motor Speedway and more than 250 attended Maintenance Appreciation Night.

Community Service Award

Greater Lexington Apartment Association: Spreads Goodwill Austin Apartment Association: Nice People with Good Hearts

The Greater Lexington Apartment Association (GLAA) received the Community Service Award in the less than 30,000 units for a variety of community outreach activities they organized throughout the year. More than 60 properties collected 4,890 pounds of food to date for God's Pantry Food Bank during their annum food drive, making it GLAA's most successful food drive ever. "On behalf of the homeless families we serve, I'd like to thank the LAA Outreach Committee for their recent donation," said Jennifer Lane, Volunteers of America. "You have seen the need for housing in our community and you have given back. Your generosity is much appreciated."

In another outreach program the theme was Jimmy Buffet Stepped On A Pop-top, Blew out My Flip-flop and the event was designed to collect flip-flops and other hygienic items for a men's shelter. At the fundraising event, the outreach committee wore tropical clothing and collected donated items. Attendees received one ticket per donated item making them eligible for door prizes and a raffle drawing. Representatives from the Hope Center received several loads of flip-flops, razors, shampoo and soap.

GLAA also adopted an inner-city elementary school, collecting hundreds of items, including notebooks, knapsacks, pencils, binders, crayons and glue for the children. The school was also involved with decorating the Christmas Parade float. Brenda Wells, Association Executive, said, "Giving them the supplies needed, the children made stars, snowmen and angels. These were used to decorate the tree on the float. The theme for the parade was United We Stand. We proudly displayed property and management flags encircled around the United States flag." More than 500 members were represented at the parade, enabling them to promote membership. The parade received newspaper and television coverage.

Member communities participated in additional projects and a new and used toy drive for low-income parents who fall through the cracks of other programs. When a fire broke out in an apartment community, the association raised funds through a silent auction to purchase household items for those who lost their homes.

The Austin Apartment Association received the more than 30,000 units Community Service Award for its 2001 Thanksgiving Food Drive. The association set the goal to exceed the $15,000 raised last year and to distribute food to more than 435 families. In 2001, $22,000 was raised--a 47 percent increase in donations--and they exceeded another goal by distributing food to more than 500 families. This feat is especially impressive, because many charities were receiving a decrease in donations, due to the fundraising efforts related to September 11. The Austin Apartment Association also donated $11,000 to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Kristen Arrona, Association Executive, said, "Going into our food drive, and even before September 11, we considered how difficult it would be to top last year. After September 11, the task seemed insurmountable. The fact that we were able to not only meet our $15,000 goal, but exceed it by an amount greater than any other past food drive year, makes this truly our most successful food drive in our association's history." To reach their goal, the Austin Apartment Association employed some of the same fundraising efforts as in 2,000--broadcast faxes, donation forms for members, and donation baskets at their fall golf tournament. This year members took it a step further and decided to solicit community residents for funds. Flyers were passed out at various communities. The end result was resident donations of more than $4,000.

The Austin Apartment Association received numerous thank you notes. One read, "Thank you for the turkey dinner. I never thought there were nice people out there with a good heart. God bless you." Funds raised for the Thanksgiving food drive were used to purchase food packs, which fed more than 2,500 people for a week. Through team and volunteer work the association was able to distribute and assemble food packs in less than six hours. Funds that were received after the food delivery date were given to the Austin Housing Authority.

Government Affairs Award

Charleston Apartment Association: Wins Uphill Battle Against County Council Apartment Association of Greater Dallas: Sounds Off On Collection of Water deposits

The Charleston Apartment Association (CAA) won the Government Affairs Award in the less than 30,000 units category. The Charleston Apartment Association faced an uphill battle when the Charleston County Council enacted a 15 percent selective tax cap that would benefit homeowners in the more affluent communities who had seen their homes dramatically increase in value during the last eight years and unjustly burden 6 percent of property owners (those owning secondary homes and multifamily property owners). The County Council sold the tax as a "tax break" for the "little guy" and the degree of opposition to removal of this ordinance was large.

A non-resident property owner was in the process of building the Non-Resident Owners Action Committee, which opposed the tax. She contacted the Charleston Apartment Association and, through joint networking efforts, owners were contacted in the area.

Victoria Cowart, ARM, AHM, Past President, Charleston Apartment Association, sent a letter that stated, "The tax plan the Charleston County Council is currently considering includes a 15 percent tax cap, which would result in less taxes for more than 41,000 home owners."

"While this would be nice for our home-owning neighbors, it would result in increases in the tax bill for more than `60,000 owners of homes, rentals and second homes and commercial property.' This means the tax bills on our communities most certainly will increase."

Through joint fundraising and marketing efforts, the CAA raised $350,000 to fund the legal battle that took place in the 9th Circuit Court. The judge ruled resoundingly in favor of the coalition. The case is currently pending the ruling of the South Carolina Supreme Court, but the foundation for the anticipated Supreme Court win was laid with the 9th Circuit Court decision.

The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) won the Government Affairs Award in the more than 30,000 units category. AAGD sought and achieved a change in the City of Irving's Water Deposit Policy. Most cities water departments require a water deposit equivalent to two months worth of usage, payable in a variety of ways (ranging from surety bonds to a letter of credit). The deposit is usually returned within two or three years, after the owner has established good credit. However, in Irving, the deposit is required to be made in cash and is not refunded until the property is sold.

The City, too, was holding $36 million in its deposit fund, where it was earning nearly $200,000 in annual interest.

Adding insult to injury owners in Irving received only 15 days from the time the bill was mailed to pay it, after which, they incurred a 10 percent late fee.

Due to a variety of factors--ranging from the time it takes to deliver mail to how long it takes for a company to cut a check and mail it out--many companies had to pay a late fee.

AAGD knew something had to be done and, that any action taken could involve a long process. Apartment communities were not the only ones being affected by the water deposits. AAGD contacted and worked with The Hotel Association of Irving, Frito-Lay, Dr Pepper, and other groups. Together they lobbied city officials, raised public awareness and began a campaign to change local policy.

Kathy Carlton, Director of Government Affairs, AAGD, sent a letter to the Irving City Council, on behalf of the area's apartment communities, requesting it reconsider its policy. AAGD also conducted research on the water deposit policy of 35 cities, provided further support for its claims, making it extremely difficult for the Irving City Council to defend its policy. An agreement with the City was reached and AAGD members received refunds on the interest their water deposit money had earned in 2001, totaling $162,400. AAGD also convinced the city to allot five more days to the billing cycle.

Education Award

Apartment Association of Fort Wayne: Timely Seminars Help Create Opportunities Apartment Association of Greater Dallas: Education Subscription Program a Winner

The Apartment Association of Fort Wayne-NE Indiana (AAFW-NEI) won the Education Award in the less than 30,000 units category. AAFW-NEI set 2001 education goals to provide timely seminars that would bring more education opportunities to a greater number of members at an affordable cost. This goal was met by using a subscription program in which each participating apartment community pays one fee (based on its size) to send its personnel to as many seminars as they'd like to attend.

To help develop this program, 95 apartment communities were surveyed, and asked to rate suggested program topics (64 percent of the surveys were returned). In 2001, 543 individual students attended the courses as subscribers. Staff from more than 45 percent of the member apartment communities attended courses. The 2001 subscription style program was a huge success, Increasing non-dues revenue (compared to the previous year) by 246 percent.

Numerous factors contributed to the increase. The committee members gave this year's program a theme, Explore ... Discover ... Achieve. The program was also branded. A logo for the program appeared on all marketing materials and correspondence. AAFW-NEI also marketed its program at its 2000 Trade Show. Members were given the educational line-up for 2001, calendars, registration forms and a mini fold-over course listing. Additionally, the 2001 Education Calendar and a registration form for the courses offered. The following month was printed on the back.

The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) received the Association Education Award in the more than 30,000 units category. AAGD offered an education subscription program for a second year.

The Apartment Academy is open to both apartment communities and supplier companies. The Academy has five goals: to provide AAGD members with excellence in education; to meet the training needs of all member employees; to offer a valuable program that serves as a revenue stream for the association; to establish a forum to promote AAGD, TAA and NAA activities and programs; and to create an environment that fosters involvement in AAGD, TAA and NAA.

The seminars consist of industry specific and general career enhancement training. The seminars are designed for management, marketing and leasing, service and maintenance, suppliers and career enhancement. All are taught by renowned educators.

AAGD set a goal for 2001-2002 to achieve 175 enrollments. With a total of 215 apartment communities. It exceeded expectations by 14 percent.

Rita Kirby, CAM, CAPS, CPM, was appointed by the AAGD Board of Directors to help AAGD with the Academy. It met with focus groups to determine what should be included and updated in the existing program. In addition to the regularly scheduled programs, time was set aside each quarter to offer "Bonus Seminars" to address topical, critical issues. The committee also created a certification program based on the number of hours invested in Apartment Academy career training. The Academy has been very successful. One student said, "The Apartment Academy has proven to be a great adjunct to our own training program. Having attended most of the seminars myself, I can personally attest to the quality. The Apartment Academy is a first-rate educational program and it is very affordable. I highly recommend it.

Membership Development Award

Lubbock Apartment Association: `The Business Exchange' Proves to Be a Win-Win Event Greater Cincinnati and N. Kentucky Apartment Association: Offers Great Member Incentives During Membership Drive

The Lubbock Apartment Association received the Membership Award in the less than 30,000 units category. The Lubbock Apartment Association set a goal in 2001 to focus attention on its product/service membership area. Lucy Eade, Lubbock Apartment Association, Executive Officer, said, "We offered additional educational opportunities, encouraged more committee participation at all levels, held an appreciation luncheon and developed a new program--"The Business Exchange".

The Business Exchange provided an opportunity for one-on-one networking interviews between multihousing decision makers and product service companies enabling the chance for owners to discover different ways to improve their bottom line. Management companies were encouraged to bring at least three people from their organization--a mid- to senior-level executive, a property manager and a lead maintenance person. All three were given complimentary registration. Vendors were invited to join, with a maximum of three representatives per company, at a cost of $25 per person. Because there was an even number of vendors and owners, all attendees were guaranteed an interview during each session.

For the Exchange to be successful, it was important that vendors and companies know about it. Staff mailed letters to the CEO of management companies; features appeared in the Lubbock Association magazine; and members made phone calls to spread the word. The event was marketed as a "win-win" event. Paul Stell, Chairman. said, "Think about the Business Exchange as a sort of reverse trade show. Here is the best part: it is completely free to you, our owner and management company members. It is a buy/sell profit-oriented networking opportunity between you and the product/service participants. This will allow you to meet the vendor members and help you find ways to maximize your bottom line."

More than 90 percent of the vendor members rated the Exchange good to excellent, and 100 percent of the owner manager members rated the event good to excellent. More than 90 percent of both groups said they would attend the event in 2002. The Exchange led to the recruitment of more than 43 new members.

The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Apartment Association (GCNKAA) won the Membership Award in the more than 30,000 units category. GCNKAA was concerned by the low participation in its membership committee during the past few years. In 2000, a decision was made to form a plan of action. Members from larger property management companies were solicited to join the committee. Next, the committee developed a new 2001 membership drive--Get on Board, with a goal to recruit 101 new members--61 from January through June, and 40 from July through December. The reasoning was twofold. First, the goal did not seem as overwhelming when divided into two groups; and second, it kept the excitement going year round.

The membership committee divided into three groups to achieve three different objectives. The recruitment team's role was to find and enroll new members; the ambassadors showed the new members the ins and outs of the association: and the retention team helped to keep current members involved in activities and membership.

GCNKAA also added a great incentive for members. Every time a member recruited a new member their name was added to a raffle box. If the goals were met after six months, four names were drawn from the raffle box. Each winner received a four-day trip to the Bahamas.

To ensure success, GCNKAA members were kept up-to-date and encouraged. Promotional pieces were sent to the entire association. The results of the PR campaign were amazing: 21 new committee members were present at the January meeting--a 500 percent increase from the previous year.

At one point it looked like the goal might not be met. A challenge was then issued to the Board of Directors, resulting in 16 new members. By December the goal was met: 101 members were recruited (72 vendor members and 29 property management company members), increasing membership by 25 percent, which resulted in an additional $8,000 in member revenue.

National Suppliers Council Achievement Award

Tamela Coval: Always Takes the Hard Jobs; and Makes Most of Her NAA Membership

The National Suppliers Council (NSC) was created by NAA to recognize the important relationship between the rental housing industry and its industry partners--those organizations that provide products and services as suppliers. Each year, the NSC recognizes an individual who has been active in NAA and NSC with the NSC PARAGON Achievement Award.

This year's recipient is Tamela Coval. She is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Apartment Finder and has been an active member of the Atlanta Apartment Association (AAA) and the Georgia Apartment Association for the past 10 years and has chaired many AAA committees.

Coval has been very active in NAA--she served on the Strategic Growth Task Force (1999-02) and the Conference Committee (2002-03).

Larry Duncan, CAPS, CAMT, CAMTII, National Suppliers Council Chair, said, "Tamela has been a remarkable member of NAA and the NSC. As product and service providers we see each other at number of shows and events across the country.

Tamela is always at the front of the crowd, working on behalf of some local or state association, as well as Apartment Finder. She strives to make everything she is involved in better. She is always a champion for NAA and her willingness to take on the hard jobs sets an example of how to make the most of your NAA membership."

AS a volunteer, she has brought to NAA her many skills including communication, writing, sales and marketing, presentation, and team building to help NAA market itself. Her many suggestions have helped NAA expand its Education Conference and Exposition into the huge success we saw in Orlando.

Host Committee Recognition Award

Apartment Association of Greater Orlando: Smooth Service Brings Quality to Conference Helping Make It One of NAA's Best

Each year, the NAA Conference Committee works with the host city's local affiliate to provide services for conference attendees. The host committee consists of members of the local apartment association and operates as part of the Conference Committee.

The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) received this year's Host Committee Recognition Award. Its members helped ensure this year's conference was the best.

The Host Committee's members, donning their familiar, beach-style shirts, were able to recruit more than 100 member volunteers to plan property tours, answer questions, monitor sessions, direct attendees, take tickets, staff buses, and welcome attendees to Orlando and the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.

Nancy Nicolosi, 2002 Conference Committee Chair, said, "Without the Host Committee's help, NAA would not be able to provide the high level of service with a smile that NAA members have come to expect.

"The Host Committee's hospitality, focus and Florida enthusiasm was the big reason traffic at the conference flowed as smoothly as it did! We could not have done it without them."

Laura Yoder, Association Executive, AAGO, said, "Many of our volunteers had never attended an NAA conference. They were in awe of the complexity of putting together such a large convention.

"They stepped right up to the plate. They were eager and excited to do their part in making the meeting a real success."

Communications Award

Columbus Apartment Association: Standard Operating Guide Austin Apartment Association: Windows on Rental Housing

The Columbus (OH) Apartment Association won the Communications Award in the less than 30,000 units category for developing a Standard Operating Guide for the president, trustees and officers. This guide helps affiliate leaders become better acquainted with the association and the details of its operation. The Guide is a foundation, consisting of information and directives meant to provide the basis for a consistent focus of purpose, a solidified standard of organized and efficient operations, effective results and a highly professional image. It's a tool, providing a comprehensive reference and guidance source upon which to rely in the ongoing work of the Columbus Apartment Association. Co

The Guide is divided into five sections. The first two contain a brief overview of the organization and administration. The second two describe the programs, services, meetings and events offered by the Columbus Apartment Association. The last section deals with the organization's operation and how to conduct a meeting. There also is an appendix in the back of the manual.

Michael Miller, 2002 Columbus Apartment Association President, said, "I never knew the transition to President could be so smooth and organized."

Miller said he references the guide before, after and during meetings. Other trustees and officers describe the guide as a great learning and reference tool.

The guide provided conformity, and unity among members of the association. It is a reference tool, as well as a history of how the organization runs and should run.

The guide had a 100 percent success rate--all of the officers, board members and trustees use the guide and will continue to do so. The Austin Apartment Association won the more than 30,000 units Communications Award for its Windows on Rental Housing magazine. The magazine has four objectives--disseminate association event information; educate members; enforce the importance of owner/manager members using products and services of supplier members; and to cover production and mailing costs through advertising sales.

To reach these goals the association updated and enhanced the benefits offered through the magazine.

A pullout classified directory that was printed on sturdy paper was added. Now, each company listed contains a contact name and phone number. The directory is updated and published every six months.

The directory wasn't the only pullout used in 2001. The September/October issue contained a pullout trade show section. It contained information to familiarize attendees with the trade show--a map of the trade show. listing of exhibitor booths, schedule of events and a registration form. The cost of the pullout was offset by revenue generated by displaying business card ads on the reverse side of the exhibitors and trade show floor maps.

The affiliate also redesigned the magazine masthead. The font used for the phrase "The Austin Apartment Association" was changed and the magazine's title was enhanced to give it a more three-dimensional appearance.

The Austin Apartment Association conducted a readership survey to determine if the magazine's goals were met. The survey revealed that registration forms found in the magazine were one of the more popular ways to register for events.

Almost 72 percent of respondents said they used the classified directory when seeking vendor products and services. The survey also found that more than 20 percent of the respondents kept their magazines n for six months or longer.

One of the survey questions asked was how to improve the magazine. Responses ranged from, "send more than one copy, my employees keep taking mine to read and I never see them again," to "it's great just like it is."

Builders, Owners and Developers Forum Awards

Best Garden Apartment Community

Grand Reserve at Pinnacle, Mid-America Apartment Communities, Lexington, Ky., Brings Comfort, Stylish Decor

Grand Reserve at Pinnacle won the Best Luxury Garden Apartment Community award. Developed by Mid-America, Lexington, Ky., Grand Reserve at Pinnacle is one of Lexington's newest and most prestigious apartment communities.

The apartments are spread over 20 acres of bluegrass and are designed to offer both comfort and stylish decor in 15 uniquely designed floor plans (one-, two- and three-bedroom).

The Grand Reserve's 370 units are beautiful stone buildings that include private garages, designer kitchens and ceiling fans, Many have a direct access garage and complimentary monitored alarm systems,built-in computer desks and book cases, wood-burning fireplaces, tile foyers and state-of-the-art kitchen appliances.

The community has a putting green, lighted tennis court and a 41,500-gallon resort-style swimming pool with a fountain and lazy river.

Also there is a state-of-the-art fitness center with a sauna and tanning bed. A car wash, executive business center and concierge service are available.

Best Rehabilitated Apartment Community

Lincoln Trace Apartments Lincoln Property Company, Smyrna, Ga: Overcomes Neighborhood's Crime Stigma

Lincoln Trace Apartments in Smyrna, Ga., won the Best Rehabilitated Apartment Community. It was renovated and repositioned by Lincoln Property. When Lincoln Property acquired the property, the Mayor of Smyrna summoned its management team to a meeting, which also included members of the Smyrna City Council, police, and the head of the city's SWAT team.

Attendees told Lincoln that they did not think Lincoln would be able to eliminate the crime and gang activities and other issues that plagued their community for years.

Lincoln completely repositioned the community with a new image, including name, address, exterior materials and colors; full interior unit renovation; and an amenity package. All of the previous residents were moved out and new residents were welcomed with large units, affordable rental rates and three-bedroom units for families who wanted to take advantage of one of the strongest school districts in the country.

When completed, Lincoln Trace had the amenities and finish of an "A" community with rental rates comparable to those of a "B" community and was awarded the 2001 Community Enhancement Award from Cobb County.

It was written that Lincoln Trace's renovation has been a catalyst to the neighborhoods renewal. The overall look and feel of this project is absolutely unbelievable to those who walked the property prior to our ownership. We have miraculously transformed an entire community in less than two years. We have captured the hearts of not only those who have worked on the project, but the community that surrounds it.

Community Amenities: low density, lake with a fountain, mature landscaping, gated entry, tennis courts, two pools, play area

Unit Amenities: new appliances, plantation shutters, refurbished bathrooms, crown molding, maple cabinetry.

Best Luxury Multifamily Garden Apartment Community

Summit Crest Summit Properties, Raleigh, N.C.: Has Urban Feel and City Conveniences

Summit Crest, a member of the Triangle Apartment Association, developed by Summit Properties in Raleigh, NC., is the winner in the Best Luxury Garden Apartment Community category. Summit Crest hosts 438 luxury apartment homes in a 200-acre master-planned development in Northwest Raleigh. The community has six distinct floor plans. The architectural concept is similar to manor-style buildings. Summit Properties has two-manor buildings one four-story building with courtyards and copulas and eight buildings of traditional style garden apartment homes. This type of design enabled the community to leave 25 percent of the site in its natural form.

Summit Crest strives to be a "premier luxury apartment community with an urban feel and city convenience." Despite a tough economic environment, Summit Crest surpassed its original pro-forma and increased its net NOI, increasing the original pro-forma of 83 cents per square foot to 98 per square foot.

Community Amenities: free e-mail for residents, gated community, Pre-wired high-speed Internet access, theater onsite, pre-wired alarm system, free video library, state-of-the-art fitness center, two pools, cappuccino bar, business center, 24-hour emergency maintenance.

Unit Amenities: crown molding, nine-foot ceilings, arched passageways, garden tubs, fireplaces, computer niches, ceramic tile foyers and kitchens and walk-in closets.

Best Luxury Mid or High Rise Apartment Community

Trammell Crow Residential, Costa Mesa, Calif., Alexan City Place, Pasadena, Calif.: Offers Eclectic Bistros, Boutiques and Art Galleries

Alexan City Place, a Trammel Crow Residential Property in Pasadena, Calif., won the Best Luxury Mid or High Rise Apartment Community Award. It consists of 214 apartment homes on a large city block in downtown Pasadena. With four or five story units, plus lofts and two levels of subterranean parking, it is one of the most expensive and well-appointed rental communities in Pasadena.

Alexan City place offers an entourage of established and eclectic bistros, boutiques and art galleries.

Community Amenities: built-in security systems, pool and spa, underground parking,

Unit Amenities: expansive windows, nine-foot ceilings with ceiling fans, 18 foot ceilings in lofts, luxurious carpet, flooring and countertops, polished kitchens, button access intercoms, high-speed Internet access.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) holds the annual PARAGON Awards ceremony at the June Education Conference and Exposition. In 2003, the ceremony will be held in New Orleans. Awards will be given in the categories of NAA affiliated associations, education designates, National Suppliers Council and Builders, Owners, and Developers Forum.

To be considered for an award, complete the PARAGON Call for Submissions entry form, distributed each year by NAA and its local affiliates. For information or to receive a copy, please contact NAA at 703/518-6141.

Liz O. Trainer is NAA's Manager of Communications.
COPYRIGHT 2002 National Apartment Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Tramer, Liz O.
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Date:Sep 1, 2002
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