I have been involved with condominiums since 1973 as a condominium owner and served as a board member on three different condominium corporations where I have lived over the years. I began taking courses to provide insight into complex realities of the then “new” condominium living and the necessity of becoming involved in the community. I started a condominium property management firm in late 1979.
Throughout the years, I have remained active at the local and provincial levels. I have been a member of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) since 1980 (serving a full term on the Board of Directors from 1986 to 1989). I was in the very first group to write the examination and achieve the RCM designation in 1984. I was part of an ACMO committee that met with the Director of the Legislative Review Project (March 31, 1987) to begin the work that culminated with the Condominium Act, 1998. I served on the board of Golden Horseshoe Chapter of CCI, and was a signer of the original Letter of Patent for the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute on September 10, 1985. My firm has been ACMO2000 certified since 2007.
What I have learned is that our need for education never stops. The bricks and mortar have stayed the same, however, we live and work on shifting sand. To keep up with the paperwork growing from the new Act is, in itself, a marvellous accomplishment. To keep up with people’s needs and wishes you must be a skilled negotiator, and courses in psychology and/or sociology would help.
I have learned that good board members are those who strive to learn how to become effective and fair directors. These special individuals devote their time and efforts to service in their community when they did not buy their unit to “get” another job. They meet and work for the board within this resident group’s dynamics to achieve a vibrant and healthy community. With new board members the manager has to start back at “condo 101” with the how and why. Depending on their personality type and careers this can be difficult. I have learned that the owners need common sense because at times they will be required to be both leaders or followers for the board to reach its goals for the community.
I believe a property manager with the RCM designation denotes someone who is dedicated and has taken the extra steps in the industry they serve. These property managers become leaders and teachers to the “new owners” who at first need the very basic information. The RCM designation assures that the membership will be well informed of the intricacies of their condominium ownership.
I believe that the managers with their RCM designation are leading by example for the mutual benefit of the owners and their condominium corporations. There is richness in knowledge; learning, teaching and sharing should never stop. There is the next lecture, course, seminar or conference to attend and promote. With all of these resources available to us, “new owners” can continue to learn about condominiums, passing knowledge along to future new owners and inspiring their heightened involvement.
Working in this field, we meet and work with some wonderful souls who help to keep us going forward. I look up from my efforts, at my condominiums, and I have noticed time keeps flying along with all the regular board meetings, AGMs and projects for sites that I have worked with since 1980.
I believe ACMO members will continue to lead the way and can make this career their life’s achievement.
Peter Webb is the founding member and partner in the Canadian owned and operated Property Management Guild. Actively involved in the condominium industry for over 38 years with experi- ence as a condominium owner, board of director, property manager as well as active on provincial-level organizations. propertymanagementguild.com