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Enhancing Multifamily Facilities Management

RELEASED ON 5/13/24

Join Adrian with Juan Carlos and see how Juan leads Southern Land Company's national multifamily facilities with a focus on innovation, efficiency, and resident satisfaction, bringing over 15 years of engineering and maintenance expertise.

[Intro Voiceover] (0:12 - 0:30) Welcome to Multifamily X podcast series, Masters of Multifamily Maintenance Conversations, ready to engage in essential dialogues, exploring the multifamily universe alongside top industry leaders. Join us as we explore fundamental conversations for the multifamily space. Let's dive in.

[Adrian] (0:31 - 0:48) Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of Multifamily X podcast, Masters of Maintenance. Today, our guest is Juan Lara Islas. Juan is Senior Director of National Multifamily Facilities for Southern Land Company.

Welcome to the show, Juan.

[Juan Lara Islas] (0:49 - 0:54) Thank you, Adrian. Thank you for having me. Really excited to see what you're doing with the podcast and just really excited to be on.

[Adrian] (0:55 - 1:03) I'd like to start by asking you to walk us through your multifamily journey. Tell us how you started in a multifamily, what got you started multifamily, and walk us through your journey.

[Juan Lara Islas] (1:04 - 7:17) It's a bit of an interesting one. You know, actually, what got me into the multifamily construction trade, essentially, the maintenance trade was actually my dad. My dad's a journeyman electrician.

You know, he would work all the time. And the only times I would work, I would see him when I was younger, was if I, during the weekends, went to go stick around with him, help out, for better words. I remember at 15, 14, 15, I was up in Attics running wire.

Running runs, terminating outlets, working on panels, obviously off, right? It just intrigued me, the ability to power a house, give somebody that necessity. I kept learning, kept learning from my dad.

I also went to a construction tech academy, high school curriculum based on construction, engineering, and development. So in high school, I actually learned how to use AutoCAD. I learned how to use Revit.

They taught us the basics of the trades, masonry, framing, electrical as well. It was kind of embedded in me from high school. I wanted to do something in my hands.

I started at a 86-unit Holiday Inn Express. It's no longer there, down in Pacific Beach. Was there for a couple of years, worked my way through, kind of just holding the chief engineer role, but without the title.

Then I actually left, and I went over to the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. That's really where I got into the facility side. Understanding boilers, physical plant, just basically everything.

Plumbing, you know, really being hands-on. I was there for about four years. You know, everything was fine, but I felt like I needed a different challenge.

And so after the Hard Rock Hotel is actually when I jumped over to the multifamily side. And that's where I started working with Lincoln Military Housing, which now is Liberty Military Housing. I was there as a tech for about a year.

I knew that I needed to prove myself because I wanted to move up. So it's not crazy, but I actually took on-call for nine months. The on-call was different there because we had a night crew.

So really, we were only on-call Friday night through Sunday. But you could imagine that amount of homes. I mean, there was times where I was getting a water heater at two in the morning.

I'm there draining the water heater out, you know, cutting out drywall, putting up the containment, pulling out a new water heater. Then I get a call for another water heater bursting, you know, six blocks over. So I have to go run and do the same thing over there.

So those three days of on-call were rough, but they taught you a lot. After a year of being a tech, you know, I was fortunate enough to win Rookie of the Year for the company. They offered me a supervisor position.

And that supervisor position was, to my surprise, was they're actually their flagship property, which is, it's called FLAGS. For anybody that's in the military, FLAG officer is basically your base commanders, your three-star admirals, two-star admirals. So I filled 118 homes.

In my homes that I was managing, big, big people. So I had the appearances and all that good stuff. That is my first supervisor job.

It taught me a lot because my two techs who were about 20 years older than me and my porter, they saw that I wanted to work with them. And I think that's the important part. They didn't, they see a younger guy and they can call me and they come in and try to, you know, just finger point, you know, ease his way through.

No, I was there working with them and they saw that. And they taught me a lot about, you know, We worked together through a whole lot of different projects. And I was there for about a year.

They moved me up to a bigger community. So I went over to Howard Gilmore, which was about 300 and change of homes. Was there for about four or five months before they actually offered me a job on Miramar, which is another community to get cleaned up.

600 homes. Went out there and was there for about a couple of years. Got it running.

And then I was bored. One, because I wanted more for myself. I wanted to keep growing.

Leadership was set. There was really no, no changes happening anytime soon. So I decided to make the jump.

It was kind of scary because it was a lateral jump, but it was for the company that was growing, which is bringing in multifamily. It was fresh, good people to open up buildings. Companies, Lennar multifamily communities, people own Lennar the home builder.

So they were starting to do multifamily. Jumped over to Lennar multifamily as a service supervisor, lateral move and opened up their first tower here in San Diego called Ship Departments. Within four months, I was approached and basically was told, Hey, you're doing a really good job.

You're actually overqualified for a supervisor. Would you like to jump in to the regional maintenance, the regional service supervisor for the West coast? And so I said, accepted it, right?

Really excited. And I was very fortunate to open buildings throughout San Diego, California, Washington, Oregon, Denver, and Arizona. With Lennar multifamily, I think that's really where I am today.

The big stepping stone, I was there almost seven years, kept excelling. I was able to shape the maintenance program into what it is today, where we just had regional service supervisors. We fought for directors, was able to get four directors in place, actually created a position for myself within the company, which was vice president of the national multifamily facilities.

That position didn't exist when there was no plan for it. But by showing the importance of facilities and physical plant and maintaining the buildings, they created it. And I was fortunate enough to be the first person within the company to have that role.

I held that role for about a year and a half, almost two years. I got bored. Things were beginning to run pretty smooth and decided to take another leap, kind of disrupt the day-to-day.

I jumped over to Southern Land Company, who ironically just reminds me of Ortera, Lennar. You guys have a chance. If you have a chance, Adrian, go check out West Haven over in Franklin, Tennessee, and you'll see the kind of product that they do.

They have a big presence in horticulture. They believe in herb appeal, first impressions, and they also believe in preventative maintenance. When I was told, we got to boost the pump code down, get the booster pump fixed, but also purchase another motor to keep on hand.

I was like, what? We don't hear that. I've been here for about two months, and I'm really enjoying it.

Great company, and they're looking to build a really strong facilities vertical. Amazing journey.

[Adrian] (7:17 - 7:51) I do have several questions about your journey. Before we go into those questions, I do want to acknowledge our friends from Atwork for powering, for making this podcast possible. If you are looking for a Uber for maintenance workflows, Atwork should be the place, the first place you're going to, and check it out.

Back to the questions now, Juan. How did it feel working side-by-side with your dad when you were doing electrical work and running tables? How did that feel?

What were some things that you learned from that experience?

[Juan Lara Islas] (7:52 - 8:37) At the time, I was just happy because I was with my dad. I didn't realize I was learning so much. The camaraderie, the bond that was built, words can't describe that.

It was amazing. When I started realizing what I knew was in high school, when they were teaching us basic electrical, right? So they were teaching us how to wire a three-way.

I wired in no problem. I ran wires, found the commons, this and that, boom, boom, and I was done. When I saw how fast I was going and how just second nature it was to me, I was like, man, you think I can do this?

But just working with my dad was amazing. We still work together. He has these little side gigs that he does because he's semi-retired and he's like, hey, you want to come out and give me a hand?

It's usually me doing all the work and him just talking, but it's just spending time with him.

[Adrian] (8:37 - 9:06) It's such a special moment being able to bond and spend time. Our time is limited here, and as they grow older, it's even more limited. I want to go to your high school years and chat a little bit about the structure of the high school classes for you, right?

What percentage was hands-on technical training that taught you skills that you could apply immediately into the world versus book knowledge that was English literature? I'm not sure what the curriculum was like.

[Juan Lara Islas] (9:07 - 12:04) The Stanley Foster Construction Tech Academy, they actually renamed it. We had our basic English, math, social studies. We had all of our curriculum needs to be able to graduate with a high school diploma, which I would say about half to three quarters of our classes.

All of our electives that we could choose were engineering-based, design-based, or construction-based. In ninth grade, I remember I had your typical English, math, all those classes, but then I had construction, AutoCAD, and the introduction to AutoCAD and the introduction to Revit. Basically, they taught us how to use AutoCAD.

They taught us how to use Revit, being able to build, lay down infrastructure, or design a home. I remember in our CAD classes, shout out to Omar Garcia. He's our AutoCAD teacher.

Man, he would give us some really wonky designs to try to replicate in CAD. We're talking about spheres with different spheres, trapezoids, things designed with a lot of different grooves, different dimensions that we had to replicate. He would give you the guide on how to do it.

We were learning all these courses. It was about 25% to 30%, Adrian. Construction class was more teaching your basics of masonry.

We had these little rigs built with two-by-fours. We basically had to plumb, and then we had to lay a red brick wall. You had to offset the bricks.

You had to mix your mortar by hand. After you're done, the construction teacher came and he saw that your mix wasn't too wet or too dry, checked the bricks, all that good stuff. They had us solder plumbing joints, and then we would actually energize them if you didn't have any leaks you passed.

Electrical, same thing. You're kind of like your typical living room kitchen setup or living room hallway setup. Flux, you had a light switch, you had a three-way, you had a doorbell, and you basically had to wire everything.

At the end, they would plug it in. It was a lot of hands-on stuff, but now that I really think about it, that school was ahead of its time. The visionary of that school, Glenn Heligas, he was construction-based.

He was an educator, but he was construction-based. He saw the need to expose people to that type of environment, to be able to put good, skilled work out there. People weren't in the hands of a dying breed.

It was a great program. They basically taught you all of this. They taught us how to estimate how much material you would need to put together a project, this and that.

And the end goal was, our senior year, part of our exit project was, it was a team chosen who were given either a four-by-four or a six-by-six empty plot in downtown San Diego. And we had to develop the infrastructure. We had to energize buildings.

We basically had to do everything. Design prints. We had to estimate the job.

We had to get material. They basically taught us all of that for our final project, which was, I mean, it was fun. When you really think about it, it was such an amazing experience.

[Adrian] (12:04 - 12:31) When you graduated, if you were to apply for a job in maintenance, in apartment maintenance, besides the EPA certification, let's just take that out of the picture. So if you were to be a punch tech, entry-level tech, intermediary or advanced tech, what type of job you were qualified to take? Not what you'd be asking for, but knowing yourself and what you could do at the time.

Which position you were able to take and run with it from the very first day?

[Juan Lara Islas] (12:31 - 12:35) I think I would probably be between intermediate and entry-level, for sure.

[Adrian] (12:35 - 13:24) What does it take for us to replicate those programs in Wookiee family, do you think? Not only to replicate, because I'm seeing companies that have great initiatives. They're starting apprenticeship programs.

And when I ask the question, how many graduates did you have? How long have you been running? What, 18 months?

How many graduates have you had so far? And six, eight, or large companies that have hundreds of millions of employees, right? It's great that they started, but the skill is not there.

When you have hundreds of positions and you produce 5, 10, 15 graduates a year, that doesn't even begin to cover your company needs. Again, it's a great start. I follow them and I encourage them to expand.

What do you think it'll take for our industry to actually bring those types of programs, adapt them to specifically multifamily facilities and scale them?

[Juan Lara Islas] (13:24 - 14:43) I think it's already starting. It's starting at the high school level still, because there is a lot of schools. A school that comes into mind is in Philly, and they're basically doing the same thing that we were doing.

And a lot of more of these schools, and it's going to sound really bad, but it starts in high school. You kind of have to get them in that mentality. Our biggest issue, if I'm very honest with those aging, is finding the people that actually want to work with their hands.

The workforce is changing, unfortunately. To scale them, you would have to make them almost like crash courses. The theory is great, and theory will get you through the door.

But experience kills or beats everything. Experience beats everything. If you have somebody sitting behind a desk and learning theory for 18, 20 months, they really haven't learned the importance.

Don't work on electrical when the ground is wet. When you wire a three-way, the most important wire is finding a common. Okay, that's great.

But in your life, 40, 50, 60-year-old buildings, those common wires aren't wrapped around your other two wires. You actually have to start checking continuity and finding things, and they don't teach you that. You need to condense and really teach on real-world problems as opposed to the overall basic theory.

That would speed us up.

[Adrian] (14:43 - 14:51) What was the reason why you accepted a job that put you nine months on call? What was your motivation?

[Juan Lara Islas] (14:52 - 15:44) The on-call was, we had a full team, but a lot of the guys there didn't like taking on-call because the on-call was tough. I myself knew that if I wanted to grow and I wanted to learn as much as possible, it was going to be through experience. It was going to be through putting myself in some of these situations that some people didn't want to be in, like those 3, 4 a.m. water heater calls or leaks from the second floor down to the first floor. Your 1 a.m. main drain call where you got a sewage storm in the yard, have to show up with a big 100-footer cable and sneak through their main line. I needed to learn as fast as possible because I wanted to grow. That was my first motivation.

I'm not going to be a tech forever. The only way to learn is to actually put myself in those situations. That's really what it comes down to.

Grabbing the bull by the horns, that's literally the perfect analogy. You have to make yourself uncomfortable to grow.

[Adrian] (15:45 - 16:31) No pain, no gain, right? That's right. And there's no glory in that comfort zone.

That's what you're trying to say out there. Going back to your illustrious career, what are some lessons that you learned? There are people looking up to you every single day.

They want to become a regional director. They want to become a vice president. It doesn't get any better to see someone like you entering the industry right at the bottom, entry level, work your way up, and actually having your company, convincing your company to create a vice president position just for you.

This is an amazing, truly amazing story. The two-part question is, what are some things that you could share for those that are looking up to you? They want to become one, one day.

And secondly, that's another separate question. How did you convince your company to create a VP position for you?

[Juan Lara Islas] (16:31 - 21:10) Good question. So the first one, how do you take advantage of the opportunities? Because the opportunities are there.

People genuinely want to invest in other people. When you surround yourself and you show other people that you genuinely are interested, they will invest in you. Some things that helped me is, I'm a very observant person.

Sometimes I just sit back and I just understand the lay of the land or understand the way the water flows, which helps you in ways on how to navigate and ask for the appropriate help. Now, the second part is asking for help. I always tell my guys this, I've always told everybody this, don't be afraid to raise your hand and ask for help.

I will respect you more if you say, hey man, I don't know, help me. Then you say, I know how to do this. You go screw something up and then now we have to fix it.

Because all this could have been avoided by you raising your hand and saying, hey, I don't understand or giving some guidance or this and that. I was never afraid to raise my hand and ask for help. You hear the saying from time to time, you check your ego at the door.

That's really it. I'm constantly, every day, I'm learning something new from my guys, from my teams. And you never stop learning.

And I think the moment you think that you've known it all, you've accomplished everything, that's the day you're going to falter. So you never stop learning. You always raise your hand and ask for help.

You show people that you want to grow, because people genuinely want to invest in people that want to grow. It sounds simple, but when you actually get put into these situations, sometimes it's hard. Sometimes you want to be the loudest person in the room.

Sometimes you want to show people that you can do this and this and that, but you just have to know when to do it. That just comes with, honestly, trial and error. Getting put on your rear end a few times because you said something, or you raised your hand, or you didn't raise your hand, or whatever.

It's how you respond from those situations that kind of shape you into what you make yourself. So how did I convince my company to create this role? It was just really showing them how important facility and making sure that we took care of physical plant was.

We started off slow in the beginning. They were allowing us to complete some quarterly property inspections. They were kind of sending us to box walks, OACs, punch.

When we were completing our quarterly property inspections, we started noticing a lot of just small discrepancies that could turn into bigger issues. For example, we're two years in, the ERRCS system was being tested, the Emergency Responder Radio. Do you guys know?

Fire marshal comes in, they'll write you, they'll find you, they can cite you for it. Little things like that. As we're doing our property inspections, or hey, yeah, you've been doing your sprinkler inspections, but you really haven't maintained period deficiencies.

Things of that nature. I kind of took on the lead role without the title, and the guys respected me for it. And then they always came to me.

And so I was kind of always leading them. Hey, every time we're at the community, we got to start looking at the work orders. We got to start looking at the completion times, turn times.

If they're not completing the terms, figure out why they're not completing terms. Is it a manpower issue? Is it a skill issue?

Just kind of asking all these questions. We started educating the teams, and myself included, we started educating ourselves. We were actually able to have these conversations with our regionals, with our directors, our VPs.

With me, the president of the company, kind of start showing them, hey, we're missing the target here. Part of this could be when I generate revenue, because we don't have the units to show, because it's taken us 10, 12 days to turn a home. So just kind of flipping it that way.

Basically, making our position, basically giving us a place. We started diving into construction defects. Some of our buildings are new builds, and working through some of those.

We were really the ones leading, finding those during our quarterly property inspections, because we were looking for statuses of the roof. We were looking at all the mechanical equipment. We were looking at drainage.

And whenever we had a property that had an immense amount of backup, kitchen backups, because it was only three years old, might be an issue there. Let's start diving into things. Putting all of that into one bucket, and basically going and saying, hey, this is what we need to be able to keep you guys from giving rent credits.

We're having leaks, or we can't turn a home. It's not ready, and we have to push a moving date, or we can't wrap up a simple flood or a simple leak in three, four days, taking us two, three weeks. We need to standardize everything.

This is my plan. This are the KPIs. We're already doing it.

This is going to make this run a heck of a lot smoother, to make your guys' life a lot easier. So basically, painted it as how this can help you.

[Intro Voiceover] (21:11 - 21:15) And now a word from Sean Landsberg, co-founder and CEO, Appwork.

[Adrian] (21:16 - 21:29) Most property companies are built this way. We're hiring people that could write code. We're hiring people that are selling the product.

But the end user is nowhere in this picture. How's Appwork different than the scenario just described?

[Sean Landsberg] (21:29 - 22:01) Well, we're fundamentally different, because we are the end users ourselves. We meaning myself. I am an end user of the product.

I use the product myself on a daily basis. But something that we're a little bit different, that I always like to look at us as, we're almost like a community of people. Us, Appwork, and all of our clients, where we leverage everybody's feedback, collective feedback, to help make Appwork the incredible product that it already is, and to help continue improving it.

So we're constantly innovating, and all of our innovation, all of our pipeline, really comes from the feedback and the ideas that our clients are giving us.

[Adrian] (22:03 - 22:18) Juan, I want to go to your current, or to your present gigs. Where are their properties located? Is it just new developments?

Are they acquiring existing properties too? Are they doing any third-party management? How large of a portfolio, totally, we're looking at?

[Juan Lara Islas] (22:18 - 23:40) Southern Lane Company, owner-operator. I think two people are the ones that are funding, managing the company, which is very impressive. Corporate offices in Nashville, Tennessee.

We do have another corporate office in Manhattan, and then we have one in Plano, Texas. Let me back up. They were doing merchant building.

They built over 30 properties they've sold, and now they're building for long-term holds. So right now, our footprint is as far west, and it's expanding. It's as far west right now as Las Vegas.

So we have Vegas. We have Symphony Park 2 and 3 that are in construction. Carl's Farm, Denver, Colorado, and Colorado, Northland, Colorado, that's coming up.

Texas, Tennessee, so Nashville area, South Carolina, New York, Philadelphia. So that's what we have either operating or going to open operate in the next six to eight months. We're looking to open up about 20 properties in the next two years, including some of the ones that I shared with you guys.

I'm sure acquisitions are in play. And I'm still learning kind of what the business plan is on that aspect. But right now, for sure, we are new build and old.

I think the sky's the limit. It's going to be based on how we can perform because multifamily is a new venture for them. Putting a team together and making sure that operating, making money.

[Adrian] (23:40 - 23:50) Within the 15 years of experience in engineering and maintenance operations, what are some of the most valuable lessons that you learned throughout your career?

[Juan Lara Islas] (23:50 - 24:26) Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to raise your hand. I think that's the biggest one that I've learned.

The reason being is you can get taught how to work on systems. You can get taught everything. You can get taught how you go about reaching for help.

In our field, in our maintenance facilities, it's not done enough. In our minds, we think that if we ask for help, it shows that we don't know or we're not ready or we're not capable. I think that's the wrong mentality.

And I was fortunate enough to get that embedded into me at a younger age. If you ask for help, if you ask for clarification, everything else will fall into place.

[Adrian] (24:26 - 24:37) Juan, what advice would you have for professionals aspiring to pursue a career in multifamily facilities? So someone from outside looking in to the industry.

[Juan Lara Islas] (24:38 - 25:38) Before you enter, come up with what's your end goal because that's going to dictate how you would navigate your future. I want to be a service venture. I want to go and be regional.

I want to, you know, what's the end goal? As soon as you figure out where you want to go, where you think you want to go to get you started, is I think how it's going to dictate your journey. Come in, learn your job.

And the most important thing is learning, you know, the job that you were hired to do. The one thing that I think I've seen in the past is people come in because they want to grow, but they forget about their job and try to learn every other person's job or the next, you know, or his next role. He hasn't even mastered, you know, let's say he becomes a supporter.

Certainly trying to learn how to be a tech, but really hasn't mastered the quarter job. It's not going to sit well. Once you have a good grasp on your job, start asking to train.

You know, after you're done with your job, hey, I'm done with my duties. Do you think I can jump into a make ready or do you think I can teach me this? Do you think I can teach me that?

And once you start getting a grasp of the basics, start raising your hand.

[Adrian] (25:38 - 26:03) When you move up from a service technician to a service manager or main supervisor, will you offer any formal training in how to become a manager? Basically, that's a managerial position. How did that happen?

What was just like, here's the keys. You're the most productive tech that we have. You're next in line.

There are four. Here's the keys. Good luck.

Here's a $50 million property. You'll figure it out.

[Juan Lara Islas] (26:03 - 28:25) It was a little bit of both. I observed my service supervisor before I was offered a service supervisor role. I kind of saw what he did.

He lined out our day for us. He oversaw the make ready board and he was constantly in communication with the community manager. If I can start picking one of those right now and helping them out, I think he'd probably be able to give me some more insight.

I actually asked to take the make ready board. If he can teach me how to manage the make ready board. He started showing me and I slowly started taking it away from him.

That was my training essentially to move up. Congratulations, you got promoted. This is where you work at now.

Go meet with the community manager. He'll get you all set up. You know, here are the keys.

Here's your company truck. There's the guys. Here's your office.

We should be onboarding people really. We developed that Quartera. That Lennar Multifamily Quartera is we actually implemented promotion and we hired onboarding, which was, you know, 45 day onboarding.

It was something that I'm very proud to have been a part of with the other directors and the regionals. We kind of set a time aside, basically said, what are the things that we wish we would have known when we took this position? And we basically came up with this 45 day onboarding plan where it was spread out into weeks.

First, your HR onboarding. Second week, you know, you're getting introduction to, you're teaching them how to navigate through work orders, through the May 30 board. You're getting an introduction to preventative maintenance.

We use Leonardo 24-7. We're getting introduction to Leo and then you're showing them where the SOPs are at. Third week, you go into certain SOPs, kind of show them where our benchmarks are at, where our KPIs are at and introduce them to the QPI.

This is what we're going to be walking on a quarterly basis. So kind of in the back of your mind, this is kind of what we're looking whenever we're on site. So we did that for 45 days.

So it was technically six weeks. What I will tell you is that we were able to learn a lot about the service supervisor because we were spending, you know, whether it was virtual, phone time, in-person time with the service supervisor. And a lot of those calls, a lot of the questions were answered because the service supervisor felt like he had a safe space to ask those questions.

I think that's how we should be onboarding. But to answer your question, they basically handed me the keys and said, hey, report over. We developed an onboarding process that I think to this day is still being used at Portera.

It's been developed for about four years and I think it's worked wonders.

[Adrian] (28:25 - 28:37) Can you discuss any specific challenges and opportunities you foresee for the multifamily maintenance sector in the coming years, in 2024 and beyond?

[Juan Lara Islas] (28:37 - 30:27) What a lot of companies, you know, some of them are doing it, some of them are not, is centralized maintenance. And I think that's a whole challenge on its own, right? Because I think the theory makes sense if your company is set up in a specific way.

But there's a lot that has to align for it to work. From having your good vendors, there's just a lot. Having good vendors, you know, having a good team that you're not burning them out and then having consistency.

That's going to be the biggest challenge. As we navigate through multifamily, at the end of the day, we're in it to make money, right? And unfortunately, Adrian, as you know, what's the easiest expense to cut out?

Maintenance, right? It's tough because we want to keep making the same amount of money, not more, but less. That's going to be the challenge.

I think that's going to make or break companies, not in the sense of the productivity one, but in their employee morale and basically their brand. Because multifamily is a very small industry. You know everybody in a sense you eventually run into everybody.

So when you start getting into these centralized workhouses where they're, yeah, we're doing centralized maintenance over here. And then it's three of us managing eight properties and people are not going to want to work for you. So what does that mean?

So now you're going to be paying somebody way more money to be able to fill that position, but you're still going to essentially lose them because money can keep you happy only for so long. That's the biggest challenge for multifamily, for facilities in multifamily, just in these next couple of years. I think overall though, the lack of skilled labor, that's going to actually cause our demand for labor to, we're going to need more workers.

And right now, some of the market is hard for people to hire because we can't find people that want to learn or work or that are ready for it. Workforce and centralization of maintenance are going to be our biggest challenges.

[Adrian] (30:27 - 30:36) How about opportunities? What type of opportunities we have as a part of multifamily? We facilities professionals.

What are some opportunities that you see for us?

[Juan Lara Islas] (30:36 - 32:04) I think we have a lot of opportunity in the sense that if we can develop to where we can fast track entry-level or intermediate-level techs and create that opportunity to backfill those roles, I think that would be a game changer for the multifamily. And it's going to take leaders like yourself, other people in our roles to brainstorm and put this idea in place because I think that that is a market that has been untapped. How can we keep pumping employees to the facilities, the multifamily side, at a high rate and give them to people with enough knowledge to be able to defend themselves, be dangerous?

I think that's the opportunity. As far as the efficiencies and everything goes, I think right now they're rolling. You got people doing centralized maintenance.

I know there's another kind of opportunity where some companies are trying to, and this, I think, falls in line with centralized maintenance, some companies are trying to use their internal staff, their staff, just to be resident-facing and not so much deal with punches. So I know there's companies that are basically coming in and doing the full-term punch process from start to finish and just giving you a finished unit. So basically using the resources for the residents.

There's definitely a lot of different, definitely a lot of different opportunities. But I think the most important one, going back, is trying to figure out how we can put out maintenance employees at a quick rate.

[Adrian] (32:05 - 32:11) Juan, who was the person that had the biggest positive impact in your life and career?

[Juan Lara Islas] (32:11 - 32:36) Going back to my dad, just seeing his work ethic, never complained, never did anything, and he's always willing to teach people. And just to be able to be around that and seeing how his employees respected him and all gravitated towards him from a young age, I knew that is what I wanted. I don't know what I was going to do, but I just knew that that's what I wanted.

[Adrian] (32:37 - 32:48) We're only around for a limited period of time, arguably a short period of time. Legacy has a certain importance, more or less, for each one of us. How would you like to be remembered?

[Juan Lara Islas] (32:48 - 33:37) I would like to be remembered as somebody who was not afraid to teach anybody what I knew. With your legacy is what you pass down to people, what you pass on to people. That's part of your legacy.

I'm one that never, whatever I know, I give to people. I want people to take my job. I want people to come and come for me because that allows me to go to bigger and better.

And I want to be known as that person. And you know what? He was, he always invested in people.

He always taught people and he was always fighting for his people. That legacy in itself just carries on, carries on. If you look at some of our leaders, 50, 60, 100 years ago, I mean, their legacies still carry on to this day because they were doing just that.

Fighting for people, fighting for somebody, but we passing on their knowledge. If I can even get a sliver of that, I think that'd be, I'd be happy.

[Adrian] (33:37 - 33:52) Juan, as we're approaching the end of this great conversation, what are some final thoughts? Maybe you want to answer a question you wish I would have asked. I didn't for whatever reason, or, you know, any final thoughts, anything that you know you'd like to share with the audience.

[Juan Lara Islas] (33:52 - 35:17) Final thoughts is multifamily maintenance and not even multifamily facilities, right? Because I know this is, you know, multifamily that's broadcast, but just facilities in general, because believe it or not, it's a great career. There's a very high need for facilities and I would always encourage somebody to go into the multifamily maintenance facilities and make a career out of it.

We need good, strong people and it's up to us as leaders to be able to come up with some type of program to get people interested in facilities and getting people trained in facilities to be able to fill these positions. But I guess the final thought is it's kind of like a trade, right? You know, when you look at facilities and it's like, oh, would you rather be a banker or would you rather come and work at facilities?

You'd be surprised, you know, how gratifying facilities is and how much, you know, you can do, how well you can do for yourself when you come to a facility. So I guess the final thought is it's almost like treating facilities like a trade. You know, this is technically a trade and there's nothing wrong with going into a trade and working because you'd be surprised where you can go or what you can do with it.

And I think that's something that, Adrian, I think, you know, you're doing a great job, but I think we need to develop as leaders, again, we need to develop some type of programs, some type of apprenticeship, something, something, apprenticeship program, something where we can start competing with some of these units.

[Adrian] (35:18 - 35:52) Well, thank you so much for taking the time being here with us today, taking on our busy day to be here with me and with the audience. I hope to get you back here for a second episode at some point. Everybody, thank you so much for watching us.

I want to thank our friends for Appwork for making this episode possible. Check them out if you're looking for maintenance workflow solutions in multifamily facilities. Appwork should be your first stop.

This is Multifamily X Podcast, Masters of Maintenance. I'm Adrian Danila, your host, and I hope to see you back here soon. Have an amazing day.

Take care.