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Optimizing Multifamily Maintenance Management


Gain insights into effective safety protocols, proactive problem-solving, and team leadership in multifamily maintenance. Learn from industry expert Jed McDaniel on the role of technology and centralization.

[Intro Voiceover] (0:01 - 0:20) 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 Danilo] (0:20 - 0:39) Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of Multifamily X podcast, Masters of Maintenance. I'm your host, Adrian Danilo. First, I want to start by thanking our sponsor, Epworth, for making this broadcast possible today.

With this being said, I'm going to turn it over to my co-host today, co-host extraordinaire, Lisa Ruperty. Take it away, Lisa.

[Lisa Luperdi] (0:40 - 0:56) Hello, everyone. So excited to be here today on another episode of Masters of Maintenance. And I'm very happy to introduce our guest of the day, Jed McDaniel, who's going to share a lot of insight, very excited for this conversation.

Welcome, Jed.

[Jedd McDaniel] (0:56 - 1:07) Thank you so much. I am truly honored to be here. Literally my first podcast ever.

To do it on this realm and to be with you for this, it's truly a career bucket list checkmark. Thank you both.

[Lisa Luperdi] (1:08 - 1:28) Excited that we're your first experience. So this is an exclusive, everyone. Okay, so why don't we start, Jed, with just a basic question that we love to start off so we can get kind of a background.

Can you tell us your journey in the commercial and multifamily real estate industry over the past 25 years?

[Jedd McDaniel] (1:29 - 3:55) Probably like a lot of us, I got into this industry by accident. After I graduated high school, I was looking into being a teacher. I had heard that, you know, hey, if you live and work in an apartment complex and did grounds or maintenance or something like that, then you could get a rent discount.

That was my first thought is, hey, I can move out from my parents' house and figure out my next steps for becoming a teacher and get a rent discount and be able to figure it out from there. 25 years later, here I am. I actually applied to be a groundskeeper, similar to Adrian at the beginning of his career.

And I did my interview with the maintenance supervisor. And I remember at the end of the interview, they actually said, well, you know, we have a maintenance technician position available and we would like to offer you that position instead of the groundskeeper position. And I remember thinking, okay, that's great, but I know nothing about maintenance.

I did not know anything, honestly, about maintenance at that point. They said, well, we think that you have the other qualities that we're looking for and we can teach you the maintenance part. That's easy.

And I did not understand that at all at the time. I didn't know what he was talking about. I didn't understand how I could be fit for a role in maintenance when I didn't know anything about maintenance.

It didn't take me long to figure it out. I got thrown into the deep end of this, like a lot of us do. I started on site.

I hired on as a maintenance tech and was immediately turned into a plumber and a painter and an electrician and a counselor for the residents and a babysitter and every other of the 25 hats that our maintenance teams wear every day. Over time, I just, I loved it. I got into it.

I liked that it was something new every single day. There was a new challenge. There was something new to learn.

It was never boring. I tried to find every avenue that I could to learn the new thing, to be trained on the new thing, to work my way up. I don't think in my 25 years have I ever said the words, that's not my job.

It's one of the key phrases that I hate, honestly, especially in this industry. It's ever-changing. And I've just worked my way up.

I eventually made it to a maintenance supervisor and ran my own properties for many years. And then I got the opportunity from Allied Residential to hire on as a project manager for them and take that next step, finally. And then took it upon myself to be approved with OSHA and became an electrical administrator so that I could run our safety program and electrical program and got the opportunity then to move up to director of maintenance and try to teach in a different way.

So I got to live my dream, if you will, outside of high school in a completely different industry than I thought it would be in, but I still get to teach in a way and I love that. 25 years later, here I am.

[Adrian Danilo] (3:55 - 4:02) I want to stay a little bit on the professional career path. Let us in on your current position and on your current company.

[Jedd McDaniel] (4:03 - 5:49) Well, first off, yeah, I'm director of maintenance and director of safety for Allied Residential. We are located in Washington State, only Washington State, on purpose. We know this market.

We're good at it. So we stay here. Right now we are at 158 different properties that we manage.

We are a third party fee management company solely. So we do not have ownership in any of our properties. We are pushing 14,000 total units right now.

We have more coming on board this month, next month and this summer, which will pass us over 14,000 units. We have an amazing team. I not necessarily directly every day oversee our site teams, but with 158 properties, I try to help in any way that I can, whether it's through trainings, whether it's through going on to the site and helping them directly, giving them what they need.

I like to say, what can I do to make your job easier, safer and more fun? That is my goal for our teams. I feel like there was so many years in this industry that I was by myself on a property.

I didn't have anybody that was there to support me. It was on me to figure this out and to repair these things and to have all the skills that I needed and figure out how to get those skills if I didn't have them. My true goal is to be for my teams now what was missing for me when I was on site.

That's my entire goal of this. So again, that's why, Adrian, I love your aspect of this and your communication for bringing us all together through this. It really is needed.

But I love what I do. That's the biggest thing that I can say. I love my role.

I've never been happier in the role that I'm at. And I'm hoping to just continue to learn and bend and flex with this industry as needed and see how we can improve this and bring, I want to bring our maintenance teams to the forefront of property management, not in the backseat. They are the front runners of our properties.

I couldn't see it better.

[Lisa Luperdi] (5:50 - 6:00) Throughout your 25 years, what are some key changes you've observed in service operations with multifamily industry in 2023 compared to previous years?

[Jedd McDaniel] (6:00 - 9:00) I don't know what hasn't changed in 25 years. There's not much that stays the same in this industry, honestly. I have to say the biggest change and not just from last year to previous years, but just the biggest change overall has to be the amount of skilled maintenance workers that we have coming into our industry right now.

I remember 25 years ago when I was first on site and we would have a maintenance person that would get fired or quit. It wouldn't take hardly two days, I would say, and we would have another person there that was skilled, ready to hit the ground running, go to town, and it just it never skipped a beat. And it was really difficult to find office workers, to find someone that knew how to keyboard or knew different, you know, computer programs or accounting programs, let's say like Yardi and things like that.

That was the difficulty then. The teeter-totter has completely shifted to where now everybody knows computers and knows computer programs and can keyboard and we're struggling to find good, qualified maintenance workers. That's something that I see as a continuing trend as far as difficulties, but I also see it as awesome opportunities for people right now that want to get into this industry.

It kind of turns both ways. That has to be the biggest thing. I think companies right now need to know that they have to plan for this.

They have to have a path that truly shows their maintenance teams that this is a career, not just a job. They have to have all of the aspects of showing that now in order for those maintenance people to stay and want to stay and not just, you know, job hop because someone next door has 50 cents more an hour. There has to be a bigger incentive for companies to keep their maintenance teams right there.

And that's one of the things that is making Allied Residential step out as a leader in our area, in our industry right now is because we understand that. I have a motto that I'd like to share that I like to use and I call it our ace in the hole for maintenance success. And the ace is appreciate, compensate, and educate.

If you have all three of those aspects for your maintenance teams, you will be successful in this industry. You have to show your maintenance teams that they are appreciated. We need to compensate them properly.

That's something that's been an issue for a very long time and have a path for their education and show them that this is a career. Do you have that path to say, what steps do I need to take to go from a groundskeeper to a maintenance tech or a maintenance tech to a maintenance supervisor, maintenance supervisor to project manager? Are you just floating around and kind of hoping that that falls into place at some point or is there an actual path?

25 years ago, property management companies might have still been able to be successful with two out of those three. Maybe you appreciated your people and maybe you compensated them, but you didn't have an education plan or maybe, you know, whatever the two might have been and it was still fine and still acceptable. But now I think this industry has changed to where all three are required to truly be a successful property management company and be successful in maintenance and keep your maintenance teams there.

That's kind of, I think, one of the biggest things that I have stuck with and believe in for our industry.

[Adrian Danilo] (9:00 - 9:22) What are some things that your company specifically does to attract great talent and also to retain? Because I think a lot of times we're just talking about there's a shortage. We can't get enough like new blood in and what we're doing that we're just focusing on how to get people in and we tend to get sidetracked and like not appreciate the ones that are already there.

[Jedd McDaniel] (9:22 - 13:16) I'd have to say I think it starts with the hiring process in itself. That's where potential employees are making their first impression of this company and if you're or whatever company it is. So, you know, if you're going to start out and you need to have a true hiring process not just throw it out there, you know, on Indeed or however you're going to do these advertisements for things.

Do you have a process? Is that candidate that applies going to sit there for weeks before they hear anything back from anybody or anything like that? Are you truly getting right back with them, following up with them, doing immediate interviews and follow-up interviews and starting the job process as soon as possible?

I think that immediately shows the candidate that, you know, they're hiring on to a company that is established and that has this path that makes them feel more comfortable to want to stay. One of the biggest things I think for Allied, we have a few different things, honestly, but once they are onboarded, again, it goes back to my ace, I would say to appreciate, compensate and educate to keep them there. One of the things that we established first off was a mentor mentee program.

People that are hiring on or applying to Allied Residential right now, they don't necessarily need to have any maintenance experience. What we developed is what we call a maintenance response team. So right now, we have 14 employees that any of our 158 properties can contact and schedule for any of their additional maintenance needs so they can travel, basically, if you will.

I don't like to call them floaters because floaters makes it sound like they don't have a home and they have a home. They're important. They're an awesome team.

It really works as far as, you know, whether it's a maintenance person that's on vacation that is out sick, that we're filling a role while we're hiring a new maintenance person or maybe you're a one-person show on your property and you just want a week's break from that emergency phone or something like that. That's what our maintenance response team does for them to give them that deep breath to take that we all need in maintenance. What we do is when we bring in a mentor and hire them on and if they don't have the maintenance skills, let's say, we have them shadow one of our maintenance response team workers and go with them and learn for maybe 30 to 60 to 90 days depending on their skill level.

Learn our policies. Learn our procedures. Learn our safety trainings.

Learn everything that is the basics to maintenance to get started including outside of maintenance which means, you know, things like customer service skills, listening skills. It's not just maintenance that we need. It needs to be an all-encompassing training for that position.

So that's one thing that I think that's really helping us succeed right now with Allied is having that mentor mentee program for people to know they don't necessarily have to have these college degrees or 10 years in maintenance experience. We have a path to get them going. I like to say too, we have a path for both the people that like to ride the merry-go-round and the people that like to ride the roller coaster because you know how it is, right?

I mean, we have some people that would just like to stay on one property and they'll be there for 20 years and they'll run it perfect and they're awesome at it and that's exactly what they want. Great. We're ready to support that.

On the other side of that is some people want to try every position that is out there just to get their feet wet and see what they're good at, see what they like and don't like about it before they're going to settle into something. Well, we have a path for that also so I think that's a big door opening if you will for everyone coming in to Allied or applying to Allied or hopefully just getting in this industry period. That's how it should be and that's how it needs to be I think to be successful moving forward with on-site maintenance teams and it starts with that but again, trainings are never-ending as we all know.

We don't necessarily have a training platform like a podcast or a YouTube or you know, any of our suppliers that provide amazing trainings for us. One of the things that I like to do I don't know if you've heard of you know, Theodore Roosevelt used to do TED Talks. I do JED Talks.

There is something that is new or that comes up or the new trend or a new technology or just something that maybe is just happening that everyone should know about then I'll just create a JED Talk and send it out to everybody to say, hey, be aware of this check out this and over the last seven years it's been really successful so I'm sticking with it.

[Adrian Danilo] (13:17 - 13:29) You made me super curious about two things one is the maintenance response team and then how can we get to the JED Talks. People are curious about that too. How can we access that?

If we can it's not just an internal thing.

[Jedd McDaniel] (13:29 - 18:25) It's an internal thing right now. Doesn't mean it needs to stay an internal thing but yeah, they're basically focused around Allied Residential and what our Allied Residential teams need for that time. Our maintenance response team actually started out as just, I believe it was two people that just roamed for one of our portfolio managers that oversees a group of properties.

It became so successful that our ownership basically said this shouldn't be one portfolio manager you know, wide this should be company wide because we can utilize this and over the seven years that again that I've been with Allied we've gone from those two people to 14 people and truly established a real division if you will with Allied a division of our maintenance response team. So again, what they do is we have a true schedule any property can go on and click the schedule and just say what they need. Maybe they need you know, some support with terms.

Maybe they have a bunch of appliances being delivered. They all have to go to the third floor. Maybe they need some pressure washing.

Whatever that might be they go on the schedule and then we assign the schedule based on not only where the maintenance technician lives so that they can try to be as close to home but also what they like to do. We have employees that you know, love to paint and hate to pressure wash and then another person that you know, loves to pressure wash hates to paint whatever it is. Put them in those circumstances that they want to be in.

Right? Like whenever possible they're going to do a better job. They're going to be better all around on that property for ownerships for the residents for the staff.

So that's what we try to set up. They just go out they do their thing as needed. Every other Friday we get together for a meeting and not only to go over time cards and things like that but to put our heads together for what we've seen.

What's out there in the different properties. Right? If you're just on one site or maybe two or three sites you know the problems and the goods and the bads if you will of what's happening on your areas but what's happening as a company?

What's happening as an industry? What's happening you know, the big picture? So that's what I think is really important that we all understand and so we can come together and say hey this property has this or did you know about this or they need a safety training on this or their shop was so unorganized it took me 15 minutes to find a flapper.

Whatever it is you start that communication and break it out to solve those problems that we come across. It's really amazing. It's been again really successful.

The GED talks they've honestly been great too but what I like to say to our teams is that I want to make their jobs easier, safer and more fun so I like when they come to me and say hey I went on to our learning management system which we use Edge2Learn currently but I noticed there wasn't a training on this and that's when I will step up and just say like some of the ones that I've done carbon monoxide awareness and safety training golf cart safety is a big one all the way down to how to repair this GE dryer element and I will just have someone video me while I am taking apart this dryer and going through it piece by piece saying hi here's the dryer element here's the heating whatever it's going to be and walk through that process of doing it. Shop organization I will usually go to a property and give examples hey here's a wonderful shop look all these bins are here they have labels it's organized it's safe there's walking paths we're all over the board as far as what a maintenance shop can look like we have some properties where they have seven different tiny closets all over the property that they have to keep their stuff in and then you have some where they actually have a true dedicated maintenance shop but no matter what the extreme of what your shop is there's still some basics that need to be there as far as organization and labeling not just to keep our team safe but for time management nowadays right it shouldn't take 15 minutes to find a flapper in a shop and that's an issue one of the things I hear from our teams all the time is that it seems like maintenance doesn't have any time to do maintenance anymore there's so many especially in Washington I will say state there is so many regulations and steps and logs and things you're going to need to fill out along the way to make sure all these steps are checked that it pulls away from just being able to focus for half a day or a day on actually doing maintenance and that's where I think technology is going to come into play also I really hope that technology can help our site teams out with that bring in new ideas for how to get back to actually being able to do maintenance and save us time on things like budgets organization everything like that but yeah for now the JED talks are internal they don't always necessarily have to be and again they're more geared toward allied but hey I'm open to a more bigger umbrella JED talk of our industry for whatever that means you know you made me super curious thank you and I feel like a lot of it though is industry-wide I know we all have a lot of the same issues that we're dealing with nationwide every state is a little different every area of each state is a little different but our base issues I think are the same I'm sure there's a lot of good information that could be used outside of allied but it doesn't just have to be a JED talk either it just I think it's keeping it simple I think it's having fun with it making it relatable for the people that are watching it to kind of understand and again just anything that's going to make it easier for those site teams is important now more than ever I think

[Intro Voiceover] (18:26 - 18:30) and now a word from Sean Lansberg co-founder and CEO app work

[Adrian Danilo] (18:30 - 18:42) what you can measure you can improve you did mention an average completion time or tracking completion time for maintenance technicians what other very important KPIs is app work capable of

[Sean Landsberg] (18:42 - 19:20) tracking all the data can also be broken down all those KPIs can be broken down like we said on a property level technician level or back up to a portfolio level but even within a technician you can break that down based off of the categories you can see you know how is this technician doing with HVAC workers with pump workers we can we also took the concept of KPIs a lot of companies use a KPI to say you know well how is somebody doing let's look at his KPIs but another thing that we actually did is we took that a step further where we actually translated those KPIs into sentence-based comment you know the system would actually automatically spit out you know an actual actionable sentence whether it's positive or negative based on the technicians

[Lisa Luperdi] (19:20 - 20:33) performance I love everything that you just shared it's so much context and it seems like you keep saying it's something that's going to work it's been successful and you did mention it all starts with hiring I just want to fast forward a little bit because you also emphasize a lot on the technical training aspect of the roles and maintenance and operations and I think something very unique about you Jed that I was kind of more intrigued about is your specialty in OSHA your focus and experience not only as a maintenance professional but as an OSHA trainer OSHA specialist having a background in training it was also very challenging for me from maybe an admin side to kind of relate maintenance safety training with the operations team my maintenance team to try to incentivize the learning aspect of OSHA so I'd like to know what are some effective strategies for conducting OSHA training programs that are not just engaging but how do you capture the interest because this answer I need to know today because I know that you have the answer

[Jedd McDaniel] (20:33 - 22:24) I don't know if it is the answer I would say I think the first step of course is keeping it simple and keeping it fun that's going to be the thing that's going to grab your biggest audience right there get it down to the true point of this and let's have some fun with it just because it's a training doesn't mean it has to be boring doesn't mean it has to be just sitting behind a desk and you know listening to this particular person say this find the person in your company or people in your company that enjoy speaking like this that are engaging that people in your company respond to and they want to listen to those people that I think is the icebreaker of it all I know at least for me when I'm like oh man I got to sit through this you know four hour fair housing thing today or whatever it is you kind of do the oh you know all right well you know we'll do it and get through it I don't want it to be that way I want it to be like yeah we're going to do this OSHA training on whatever the top PPE today or something whatever it might be make it fun I would say make it interactive as far as maintenance teams go usually they don't want to sit behind a desk that's why we're maintenance right we're out doing things we want to move I think the more avenues that you can bring together whether it's going to be a PowerPoint presentation and then some hands-on presentation you know like let's say for personal protective equipment maybe you have examples of all that there to go through I guess what I'm saying is find different avenues that are going to make it it's maintenance isn't a one-stop shop one-size-fits-all with training right not everybody is always going to learn from the same type of training so find different avenues to get the same point across and that usually works well I think you know some people are going to grab on to that book learning some people are going to grab on to the interactive hey I want to touch and feel this or actually fix this myself to learn how to do it if you can come at it from different angles I feel like you're going to get the most comprehension in the most interaction with that I have a

[Lisa Luperdi] (22:24 - 23:23) follow-up question to that because like I said again I used to have this kind of like obstacle in trying to engage right with as a trainer mainly from an admin side training towards the operations team but then I found one of my approaches was to kind of share the data and statistics behind the efficiency and the effectiveness of a successful OSHA training program in regards to safety training and the outcomes of the training in actual OSHA training programs decrease incidents on site have you been able to track that correlation maybe when you started your OSHA program your OSHA training program did you see a reduction of those on-site incidences etc because I know that that is where I was going to be able to get a little bit more funding and support from leadership to be able to host and have a mobile offer a more robust OSHA training program I'd be curious to know

[Jedd McDaniel] (23:23 - 26:01) yes and yes I would say yes one of the things that we have established also so all of my safety trainings are based off of allied residentials accident prevention plan that we have every month I put out a new training a new safety training on a different topic and some of them repeat because they need to just be updated and some of them are just completely new depending on that what we do and how we correlate that is I bring those trainings and we review our incident reports during our safety committee that we've established so a lot of companies or a lot of properties will have their safety sites that will meet to have a safety meeting you know whether it's weekly or monthly or maybe it's daily just to go over what's happening with them we take it one step further we have the site safety meetings but on top of that we established a safety committee that is open to all allied residential employees to come in and learn again what's going on as a company and what's going on in our industry why as far as safety goes and injuries and anything like that so every month over the last five years that we have done the safety committee every month the participation increases and increases and increases and more and more properties are joining to see what's going on and to see what's just not just what's happening in their property what's happening outside as a whole so we review those I review incident reports with them also I get every single incident report that comes in from allied or everything from you know fires and floods to vandalisms to anything that happens and I pick and choose through those to find ones that are applicable to bring up to the company and say hey you should be aware this is kind of a trend of what's going on right now and happening for us right now it not only makes them aware and feel involved but you also get the feedback from everybody as far as how to solve that problem if it's a problem right it you know I don't know everything I want to listen to them and say get their feedback on what they would do so you can directly correlate all of these safety trainings with turning around at our safety committee and seeing that hey we've grown by thousands of units over the last five years but we have less injuries how is that possible well it goes right back to the safety trainings is why and it directly shows the correlation of how that is working and again being a third-party you know key management company that code can go directly to the ownerships that we represent too we talk about the importance of training and how it's hard to sometimes justify it to ownerships but if you can put it right in front of their face like that and say look this is working it works for everybody it's been really successful that's what I would say try to try to bring the whole piece together from OSHA to safety to everything together as a whole and you'll see the links connect in all different

[Adrian Danilo] (26:01 - 26:20) aspects yeah you had a exemplary career amazing many that are sight level are looking up to someone like you you know to get inspired they want to become get one day what are some great pieces of advice that you have to share with someone that wants to move up and become a regional manager director

[Jedd McDaniel] (26:20 - 29:13) or VP of facilities one day first off I'll say from my position I hope that they have a leader that they're looking up to that wants to share their knowledge I think that this industry were too closed up as far as I don't want to share this secret you know whatever I have this great thing that's working for me but if everybody knows about it then it might not just you know be my thing anymore the world doesn't work that way the whole point of the world is to live it and learn it and share it that's how we all have knowledge is because we've learned it from somewhere else I think we need to open that door with maintenance and not be so closed minded and closed door towards what we can give our leadership teams if you will always be looking for the new thing our teams might check that box to say yep I did this report right or I did this unit term to keep my job what are you doing to look for what's next for your next you know job or your next step in your career always be looking for those steps we have a huge opportunity right now in our industry because of the difficulties that we're having with you know hiring staff if you have the drive and the grit you can come into this industry and move up fast there's so many opportunities with podcasts and YouTube like I said and our supplier vendors or there's so many avenues now that you can do trainings through that if you have that dedication to do it you will move up fast don't stop at the maintenance trainings though again maintenance is only one aspect of being a truly good maintenance supervisor on a property we're lacking empathy I feel like in general I think we've all learned how to talk very well but we're forgetting how to truly listen in some aspects so I think it's important for people coming into this industry to listen with the intent of understanding not listen with the intent of responding does that make sense because it truly makes a difference to understand where our residents are coming from where our teammates are coming from where our ownership group is coming from we need to try to put ourselves into their shoes and understand where they're at to make the best choices and decisions for how to solve whatever that issue is or to help them out look at the maintenance trainings but look beyond that also to that customer service aspect that true leadership aspect of it all remember that it's not just about maintenance this industry is about people the main thing this industry is about people and it doesn't matter what position you're in maintenance or not if you can have that good customer service skill that good base that you're working with then it doesn't matter which avenue that you're going for you'll be successful in this industry with it just because of that base of understanding people that's always what it comes down to I think so that's what I would say don't stop at the maintenance skills always keep looking for the new thing put yourself in other people's shoes in every single situation that you're dealing with and how would you feel or how would you respond or how would you want to be treated if you were in their shoes right now I think that's something that we're lacking not just in maintenance industry maybe as a nation

[Intro Voiceover] (29:13 - 29:17) and now a word from Dean Fungawing founder and CEO Kairos

[Jedd McDaniel] (29:18 - 30:04) I started the company in 2017 we spent three years in research and development talking to multi-family owners talking to commercial real estate owners getting feedback on pricing and in the technology and how they want it to work talking to maintenance teams one-on-one and it wasn't until 2021 that we actually launched product and from our very first customer to now over 15,000 multifamily apartments I think will be in over 30,000 units after the end of next quarter it's growing very fast and all of our customers about a hundred properties that we're in we're not a single customer has experienced water damage post installation of our technology we've seen a quick ROI and with thousands of sensors not having any insurance claims post installation is kind of unheard of in this space

[Lisa Luperdi] (30:04 - 31:06) right you mentioned how you have a set up right now like a mentorship program for your associates and now we're talking a little bit about how you were inspired and if you had advice for our listeners who are looking to move up into the role and become a Jack McDaniel and how do you I know that I have very fond memories of my early day mentors and my current mentors today I'd like for you to share if you have any great memories or experience with your previous or current mentor if you have one and I'd like you to share to the audience your experience with that and maybe explain why it is important because I think we've all been in that situation where we need some guidance like you said we need to listen and learn and we need ourselves and it's very important to have someone to not just look up to but maybe respect their opinion their insight their advice for our own career development this

[Jedd McDaniel] (31:06 - 33:30) is a great question this is an amazing brown nosing opportunity for me right now however I'm not saying it because of that my mentor is actually the president of our company right now president of Allied Residential which is Mike Simons I have worked on and off with him for 20 of my 25 years in this industry and he's I think we all want to be inspired if you want to come to work if you want to be able to accomplish what you're going to be accomplishing it's important I guess I look up to him I'm inspired by him because not only is he extremely book smart as far as his education goes he's extremely street smart as far as this industry he is very controlled in his emotions that's something that I am envious of I wish that I could be more you know constantly in control of my emotions it doesn't matter what happens he is very calm he is very you know okay let's think big picture on this and then I'll respond appropriately I love that I can't always be that way he's just an all around good person that it's easy to look up to him you know how some parents it's like some parents will yell and scream and you're like oh they you know you don't want them to get mad or anything like that and then there's some parents that are very quiet or they're like and what you don't want to do is you don't want to disappoint them that's kind of how it is with Mike Simons you almost feel like you want to follow on his coattails and be like oh this is great now we did this oh this is terrific okay and it's a thing where at least I I can say for me probably we as a company with allied it's that aspect of we don't want to disappoint him is all because it's he's truly inspiring to look up to I hope train our new hire trainings with our director of training also so every single month all of the new hires that we have for the month I go through and discuss all of our leadership and one of the things that I like to say about Mike I like him as a leader because he knows the one thing that every true leader should know and that is that he doesn't know everything and that is extremely important to me he listens to everybody in this company and this company moves based on the feedback of its employees and it doesn't matter if you're a vice president or a groundskeeper you have a voice in this company that hits to my heart to say that I know that when I wake up what I'm doing is making a difference and they're going to notice that and that my feedback drives where this company goes in the future that's huge to me so Mike is definitely been the biggest inspiration to me and mentor to me over my entire career and still continues to be to this day it's pretty amazing

[Adrian Danilo] (33:30 - 33:41) yeah I want to switch gears a little bit maintenance centralization there's a lot of chatter about maintenance centralization is this a real thing is just a friend a buzzword what is somewhere in between

[Jedd McDaniel] (33:41 - 35:12) in theory I think it would be amazing if we could all have everything just centralized I don't see a direct path immediately to get there in all aspects of maintenance I do think that you know honestly Adrian you're you're starting this right now with these type of podcasts and getting us going you're starting a centralization of multi-family communication I appreciate you buddy so you're getting the ball rolling I guess I can see it in some aspects to maintenance that the base of the training or what it is doesn't change if you can follow me it's maybe certain things like painting techniques things that I'm or appliance repair things where it stays really the same as far as the base of things like that maybe there's a maybe there could be a centralization of items like that versus but it's tough though because then you go back to the things that there's so many individual items in maintenance that it's hard to say that one size fits all again with the centralization in any way I like I like it in theory is my short answer but I think again you're getting the ball rolling so hey I'm open to any suggestions even through your facilities leadership classes I feel like we're getting we're going to be able to put our brains together and start thinking of ways to make this happen.

So I'm not saying it can't happen. I just don't see an absolute finish line at the end for all aspects of it, but let's get the ball rolling on every avenue that we can think of as far as how can we make this easier? That's all what it's about, right?

Let's make this easier and better for our maintenance teams. But I appreciate you starting this. You're starting it with communication, Adrian.

[Adrian Danilo] (35:12 - 35:38) You really are. This is where everything starts. And I'm super excited about this initiative that you mentioned, our leadership group.

So I hope that this becomes a game changer for the entire industry, right? We're going to record the conversations we're going to make them public. We're going to post them on YouTube.

So everybody has access to what was talked about right there. And we just want to drive change. And we are in a position, all of us, to drive that change.

So I'm looking forward to that.

[Jedd McDaniel] (35:38 - 35:42) Yeah, me too. Absolutely. I think it's really going to be successful.

You're going to see it grow.

[Lisa Luperdi] (35:43 - 36:19) I'd like to know a little bit more, like what role do you believe technology plays right now and maybe what role will it play in the future in streamlining maintenance, construction, operations? Do you see any room for the integration of these particular tools of technology in the maintenance and construction field? And you did mention right immediately, not right now, there's no way to completely centralize or streamline.

We always ask this question because we'd like to know where do you think technology can integrate into maintenance operations? We might be coming up with a solution here today.

[Jedd McDaniel] (36:19 - 39:57) It cuts both ways, right? We talked about this earlier today, just with technology. It's either really great or it's really frustrating.

And there's not much of a medium ground for that. The one thing that I will say though, is like it or not, technology is here to stay. So we need to jump on board in every way that we can.

It's not going to be a one platform works for everything. Sometimes I feel like with technology right now, it's moving so fast. Let's say appliances, for example, and how technology is kind of being integrated into those and when they're needing to be troubleshooted and all these computer programs now that can say, we just found out that the stove in A302's upper right burner went out, and you can see it on your computer now before you're even assessing it and going there as a maintenance person.

It is terrific that we're doing that, but I still think we will always need that base structure and base education in this industry. Sometimes like with the appliances, they'll already put out the appliances that have this new technology, but there isn't necessarily a true training platform yet that is established in different ways to deal with that technology when it doesn't work. That's the frustrating part, I think.

I like the idea of it and it is going to be here to stay. Sometimes it's difficult when we're dealing with ownerships, especially to justify the costs of going outside of your company to try to do a technological training on something that might not even be the same way in next year. It might be done a completely different way next year, so how do you justify that to ownership to spend that money to do it when you don't know?

There's some aspects of the technology that'll be here to stay, and there's some aspects that will always, always change. So again, I think it's looking at the different avenues that you have. I think it's looking at all the different places that you have to learn about these trainings, and in some instances, whoever it is with your company that can do a JED talk type of thing, maybe that one-off to where, you know this might be done differently in a year, maybe that training needs to be internal and not somebody who is brought in for thousands of dollars to teach you about this.

The important aspect is learning which one is which, which technology is gonna be here to stay, and then you can really establish that and dig in with making a true training program for that, and which technology aspects might be different in a year or two. So let's make sure we understand it so that we can move forward now, but we're not gonna break the bank on that. One thing that I will share that I try to bring up to ownership groups that we have, it's tough to justify trainings sometimes to them, to say, why is this cost justified to me to have this maintenance tech learn this new skill?

I created a maintenance rate comparison sheet to not only go along how we were talking with the safety aspects of this as far as showing our ownership groups that, hey, investing in safety trainings lowers our injuries. Here, here's the hard proof of that. It's also the same thing with justifying to our ownership groups how important our onsite maintenance teams are and how valued they are.

I can have a list, so I'll go through on my maintenance rate comparison sheet and say, painting, here's the range of painting that you're gonna pay when you have an onsite maintenance team from Allied Residential. Here's what you're gonna pay if you're gonna hire an outside contractor to come in and paint that unit for you today. You can go down every list of every single thing that a maintenance person does and verify and justify that that ownership group is saving money by having an onsite maintenance team versus calling a contractor for those repairs.

And sometimes that's what you need to do. You have to put it right in their face and show that to them. And being able to do that truly justifies, you know, going back and saying, you think you can't afford that $2 or $3 an hour raise for the maintenance tech?

Because if he leaves, this is what you're paying. And then suddenly that raise or that training isn't so bad. It kind of has to be justified to those aspects of it.

And it really seems to work well that way. I love that aspect of it too.

[Adrian Danilo] (39:57 - 40:05) So Jed, we're only around for a short period of time in life and work. So I wanna ask you about legacy. How do you wanna be remembered?

[Jedd McDaniel] (40:05 - 41:37) Oh man. I wanna be remembered as the director of maintenance who answered his phone 24 seven for all of his maintenance teams, no matter what the reason that that call was for. I wanna be remembered as the person that every single person in Allied Residential or even in this industry that needed me, could call me and depend on me to respond.

And even if I don't have the answer, I don't always have the answers. I'm not, you know, Mr. Know-it-all. I'm learning as I go, but I'll be right there beside you to try to figure out the answer together.

I would like to leave a legacy of proving to the people that I have come into contact with in my career, that leadership through positive motivation is always gonna get you farther than leadership through negative intimidation. And I think right now, you know, sometimes our maintenance teams have taken, you know, a backseat to the office staff or to the importance of what they bring to the property. And I think they're the most important.

Now more than ever, having a more negative intimidation management style, people don't respond to that. I don't think they ever really responded to it as well as positive, but now more than ever, people are gonna put up a wall to that and not want to deal with it. They have other places they can go.

They don't need to put up with this or put up with that. You know, life is too short. We need a good work-life balance, right?

And if you're treated like that at work, you're not gonna wanna be there the next day. So if anything, I can hope that the people that become a future Jed would see that that avenue is really more productive, more effective, and will get you farther, not just in your career, in life than the other route. If I can leave that, I would be happy with leaving that as my legacy.

I'd be satisfied with that.

[Lisa Luperdi] (41:38 - 41:57) That was awesome. The inspiration piece. My closing question for you is I'd like to know if you have any favorite books or books you recommend, maybe something or an article that's made a difference, not only in your professional career, but maybe just in your life.

When we wrap up, can you share that ace one more time?

[Jedd McDaniel] (41:57 - 43:40) Yes, absolutely. Books, I'll be first to say I should read more. I don't read enough.

I'm getting into audio books and things like that now. Actually, what the Washington State's Division of the National Apartment Association is called WUMPA. It's the Washington Multifamily Housing Association.

And I'm a member of their supplier council. And we recently did a training they brought in Nikki Kleppel and she's with And Dale Carnegie is an author that has a lot of different books out.

So right now I have started How to Win Friends and Influence People. And after that one, I plan on still with Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. So a couple of those that I kind of got inspired just from that training, but I should read more.

I don't have a lot of real books that I'm sitting down and going, ooh, this is a great aspect of this. Again, maybe it's because I'm maintenance. We tend to be hands-on.

I don't wanna read a book about it. I wanna touch it, show me how to work it. You know what I mean?

I will say on a personal level, I love horror movies. So I'm a huge horror movie fan. So one of my favorite books of all time is The Shining from Stephen King, but that's not exactly helping me in my maintenance career.

I should read more. I need to get back into it more. Change in style, I guess, and get away from technology and go back to basics.

Sit down with a book and decompress. What my tagline is, what my motto has been with Allied Residential for my trainings and for leadership is what I call our ace in the hole for maintenance success. And that ace is A, appreciate, C, compensate, and E, educate.

And really in multifamily, if you can have all three of those aspects from a property management perspective and be able to develop all three of those for your maintenance teams, you will be successful in this industry. I guarantee it.

[Adrian Danilo] (43:40 - 44:04) Jed, what an amazing way to wrap up this great conversation. Thank you so much for being here with us today. Luizano, thank you for being an amazing co-host as always.

I do want to thank our sponsors from AppWork for making this podcast possible. I'm Adrian Danilo, your host. This is Multifamily X Podcast, Masters of Maintenance.

And I hope to see you back here soon for more episodes. Have an amazing day. Thank you all.