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AKAM Associates forms 'Superintendent's Club'.

Nearly five years ago AKAM Associates, Inc. founded the AKAM Superintendent's Club. The idea was to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and fellowship among the 75 superintendents and resident managers that serve the AKAM portfolio-of luxury and middle income condominiums and cooperatives. Conceptually, the club would be a "think tank," a place where the supers could meet, exchange ideas and experiences, and learn from each other. In addition, AKAM would bring in professionals, vendors and contractors from the real estate industry to give educational seminars and demonstrations to inform the group on the latest technology, maintenance techniques and management skills to enhance their job performance.

Under the direction of Doug Weinstein, AKAM's vice president of operations, the club was a huge success right from the start. The group convenes quarterly at AKAM's midtown Manhattan offices or in a meeting room at an AKAM property. The atmosphere is always congenial with refreshments and food provided by AKAM. Mark Weill, vice-president of management and Jay Fingerman, of management join the men and women that comprise the supervisory personnel, to discuss, their on the job, problems, and suggestions. Listening to the ideas of the those in the trenches doing the job 24/7, has been the source of many a fruitful idea, and often times an effective change of policy.

The superintendents especially appreciate the educational sessions. Due to the time constraints of the job, most staff members are unable to attend the myriad seminars offered by industry organizations, tradeshows and publications because they are given during the day when they are required to be on the job. AKAM imports leaders in specific fields to discuss relevant topics geared especially to their job requirements.

Last year, when the new fire safety regulations were put into effect, AKAM had a representative from the New York City Fire Department address a Superintendent's Club meeting to explain the rules and discuss how to formulate a site-specific evacuation plan. Because superintendents and resident managers are responsible and supervise a maintenance staff, AKAM invited Peter Finn, the house counsel for the Realty Advisory Board, to discuss the process of progressive corrective discipline of building employees and the appropriate protocol to follow when a problem arises.

Other guest speakers have included engineers, mechanical contractors, fuel oil providers, and maintenance experts discussing such important topics as New York City code compliance, physical plant upkeep, energy conservation and building maintenance.

A case in point demonstrating how effective the club has been Promoting solidarity among the superintendents is exemplified by a major basement flood that struck The Pierpont, a luxury condominium at 111 East 30 St. early last year. AKAM had just taken over the building's management one week prior when, then board president, Suanne Dunn received a call from her superintendent Carlos that there was a flood in the basement. "Call AKAM," was her reply and within minutes superintendents and maintenance personnel, from neighboring AKAM properties, arrived with wet vacs, mops, and buckets to help remove the water, clean up the basement and secure the building.

"It was in the evening, after regular business hours," says Dunn. "These men and women didn't even know Carlos, but there were no complaints, no long faces. They saved us a lot of money in terms of damage to the building. AKAM is worth its weight in gold, I was so happy I switched management companies."

The superintendents appreciate the club and its benefits. Networking and peer support are the basis of trade associations in every industry. The AKAM superintendents and resident managers have their very own, exclusive membership organization and, just like other groups, there are honors and rewards. Every year, AKAM managers vote for the top superintendent of the year, and the victor receives a commemorative plaque and financial token of appreciation.

"The encouragement we receive from AKAM through the Superintendent's Club is amazing," says Mario Hernandez, superintendent at The Ardsley, 320 Central Park West. "We know the company stands behind us and appreciates the job we do."

Management companies work diligently to sign up new properties offering responsive management and responsible financial controls. Great salesmanship and promises will win the contract, but the key to client retention is providing a clean, secure, and properly maintained building. That job falls on the shoulders of the superintendent or resident manager and his staff.

The AKAM Superintendent's Club encourages the camaraderie that fosters cooperation and teamwork to create a cohesive, efficient staff.
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Article Details
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Author:Kaminoff, Leslie
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 24, 2002
Words:737
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