The 2023 EVOLVE Leadership Conference recognized three outstanding communities facing adversity.
Achieving greatness is something BH strives to do every day. And yet, our communities and staff include some who go even beyond that principle.
BH’s Above and Beyond Award recognizes communities that have exhibited exceptional effort and perseverance throughout the year. The 2022 Above and Beyond Award winners are:
The Versailles: Overcame Staffing Shortfalls
This Dallas property faced multiple challenging situations. The Versailles endured through having four open maintenance positions, while the total number of service requests was at an all-time high. But with the help of other BH teams, they were able to decrease the number of service requests significantly.
In addition, there were two fires at The Versailles within a three-month period, each causing several units to be uninhabitable and displacing residents.
After the first fire, the Facilities and Construction teams worked tirelessly with contractors and the City of Dallas Code Compliance Officer to remedy the damage to the gas lines and ultimately pass inspection to restore hot water.
“It truly took an all-hands-on-deck approach during the staffing and operational challenges The Versailles faced in 2022,” said Erin Champion, Regional Manager, South Central, who was among the helping hands.
“The staff who were there persevered and took ownership of their community in such a great way – truly delivering the Mint Experience. They were fortunate to be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where there’s a lot of BH firepower. Various sites continually jumped in to help. There were boots on the ground lending a helping hand.
“There were times when Joann Beard (Regional Manager) would show up at the property in her ‘work’ clothes and get in with the maintenance team to help them get things done. That was inspiring in that the staff never felt left ‘alone’ in overcoming situations.”
Marisol Vista: Challenged by Bad Weather
In St. Petersburg, Fla., volatile weather seems to be a challenge each year as this community sits in tropical storm crosshairs, but 2022 threw a few more curveballs than normal.
Cue the rainy season in Q3, and due to damaging winds, more than 25% of the units experienced window leaks and water intrusion. During these months, the team had to balance renovations and repairs with seasonal weather events (like hurricanes), while continuing to serve residents and prospects.
As the rain began to taper off from the daily deluge and Q4 approached, the team set their leasing and make-ready goals, only to be challenged again. Hurricane Ian soon hit, bringing more rain that set back
the crew working on interior make readies and impacting timely move-ins. Just as this team got back on track from Ian, they were hit again in late November with the rain from tropical Storm Nicole.
Though this team faced numerous challenges and obstacles throughout the year, its leaders went above and beyond to show appreciation and ensure each team member worked together through each challenge.
Marisol Vista’s Community Manager, Alicia Perez, said in tough times like these, it’s crucial to listen to your residents and your team and their concerns.
“By empathetic, I mean be compassionate,” Alicia said. “Residents can grow angry about situations like this. Make sure the residents know you are there to help, and that your team understands that, too. Lead by example and pull through it together.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation,” she continued. “During hurricane conditions, we’re knocking on all the first-floor residents’ doors. One by one. To prepare for hurricane season, be proactive with your resident communications. Go around and check all the buildings for potential erosions around the windows and repair them if you see any.”
Marisol Vista managed to maintain a 93.6% occupancy overall for the year even through all the chaos.
Resilience is certainly the motto of this team who continue to show that everything is easier with a smile.
Northgate Oaks: Said Good-Bye to a Beloved Leader
Acquired in July 2015, Northgate Oaks is a 312-unit property in Houston that thrived under the leadership of its long-tenured manager and BH’er of 18 years, Erin Hoxie Green.
On the morning of Monday, June 20, 2022, the team learned their beloved leader had passed away in her sleep during the night. The team was heartbroken by the loss. They pulled together and persevered through this difficult time with the support of their BH family.
In September, a new community manager, Kimberley Baker, was onboarded.
“I looked at it not as me replacing her, but instead me supporting what she had done here,” Baker said. “She’d been here for seven years. There was such a bond between her and the staff and the residents. There are times when we get together and talk about her, just to help keep her in our thoughts.”
Baker said the staff has stayed in touch with her family and Northgate Oaks recently held a ceremony where a tree was planted in her honor.
“We were so fortunate to utilize BH’s Centralized Services, such as our Renewal Specialists and Floating team, to support the onsite team in maintaining ideal occupancy and NOI while allowing them to deal with this tragedy,” Frankie Peraza, Regional Manager, said.
“We received the support of our amazing AVP and RVP, so we could be with the team as much as possible to help in any way we could while navigating through this unexpected loss and allowing the team time to grieve.
As Baker was settling into her role, in October, they learned that their Service Manager, Fermin Hernandez, and long-time BH’er of 25 years had been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. Once again, this team rallied around each other and provided their teammates with endless support.
“When our service manager was diagnosed and needed time off to focus on his health, we felt the same support shown just months earlier when we lost Erin,” Peraza said.
Although Fermin continues to overcome this chapter of his life, he knows he has the support of the onsite and regional teams and BH, and won’t be alone in his fight.