All Episodes

The Importance of Education in Maintenance Leadership


Transforming Facilities
Navigating Diverse Challenges
The Power of Mentorship Programs
The Inception & Philosophy of "Prop Ops"
The Power of Personalization in Training
Lessons from a Luxury Property Turnaround
Maintenance Zen Masterclass

Adrian and guest co-host Joelis Barandica interview Chad Moulin, Vice President of Facilities at Goldrich Cas. Chad emphasizes the significance of education and adaptability in maintenance leadership.

[Adrian] (0:22 - 1:10) Hello, everybody, and welcome to the show. This is another episode of Multifamily X podcasts. Masters of Maintenance.

Today, we're starting with a premiere. We have with us a new guest co-host. I'm going to start with our guest co-host.

Before we go into her, I want to acknowledge our sponsors. This podcast is powered by AppWork, our friends from AppWork. If you're in need of a maintenance workflow application, AppWork is definitely an app that you should be looking into it.

Now, let's go to Joelis. Our co-host today is Joelis Barandica. Joelis, welcome to the show.

I'm so excited to have you here co-hosting with me today. Please introduce yourself to the audience.

[Joelis] (1:10 - 1:45) Hi, Adrian. It's such a pleasure to be here with all of you today. My name is Joelis Barandica, and I am the regional education director for a multifamily management company.

And I'm also the founder of Latinas and Property Management. I've been in the industry for about 15 years now in different roles. And I have to say that I'm super excited to be here today because we're going to have one of the most important conversations we will have in multifamily.

And that's speaking about maintenance. So I can't wait to introduce our guest and get these conversations going.

[Adrian] (1:45 - 1:49) You know what? I'm going to let you do the honors. But why don't you introduce our guest for today?

[Joelis] (1:49 - 1:57) It really is my honor to introduce Chad Moulin. He is the vice president of facilities. And Chad, let us know a little bit about yourself.

[Chad] (1:58 - 3:11) Well, thank you, Joelis. Thank you, Adrian. I'm excited to be here.

A little bit about myself. To tell you the truth, I'm homegrown multifamily. I started in multifamily when I was 18.

So I'm about to enter my, I hate to say this, my 30th year. I started out as a groundskeeper and I steadily worked my way up to my current position. I too also have not only my VP facilities, but I also have a, my own business where I do educational sessions for apartment associations across the United States.

You could say, you know, I really feel that I'm that multifamily maintenance geek, the things that excite me don't excite you, you know, the normal person. But, you know, my, my journey's been long and I've learned a lot of lessons along the way. I found that there was a way for me to kind of share my experiences and share my knowledge in a different format than when I was on property.

You know, I'd always talk to people one-on-one or two-on-one, show people how to do things and kind of explain things. And I kind of just grew my education platform and my knowledge and everything from there, and I, it really set me on a different trajectory in my career. So all the way leading me up to being here today, talking to you guys.

[Adrian] (3:11 - 3:54) Chad, I do want to ask you to stay a little bit on your current position as a VP of Facilities. Tell us a little bit about your current role and I'd like to learn some about your company, Goldrich Kest, right? Is it an owner-managed company?

Is it third-party management? Is it both? What are some, you know, what's the size of the company?

How many, you know, assets under management, how many apartment homes? And then what are some great things that are happening over there at Goldrich Kest that the world should know about from a facilities perspective and not only from a facilities perspective, if you want to go into culture and things overall, by all means.

[Chad] (3:54 - 8:13) Well, Goldrich Kest, it is a family owned and operated owner operator. They're predominantly in California. But just in the past few years, we've started branching outside of California, which is pretty exciting for us.

We currently have about 115 multifamily assets, a large number of commercial assets ranging from anything from strip malls to warehouses to office buildings and everything in between here. We've got, you know, the company has been in business for over 65 years. It's currently being ran by a second generation of owners who are ushering in the third generation of owners.

You know, it's an exciting time because the company is growing. We are branching out and all of those things. So we have a, we have right about, oh, 12, a little over 12,000 apartment homes, half conventional, half affordable.

So we have, you know, we have that dynamic as well. We are starting to branch out into the managed space as well. So like I said, pretty exciting times here at Goldrich Kest.

As far as what we're doing from a facilities perspective, we are evolving. With Goldrich Kest, when I got here, I've been here a little over six years, almost six and a half years at this point. When I got here over six years ago, it looked very different.

A lot of things were antiquated and it was okay because everything was functioning that way, right? It was totally fine. It's just that there was, you know, this technology that was coming up and the, a little bit different style of thinking and how we do staffing and everything leading up to where we currently are, where just last year, we actually converted all of the onsite maintenance teams into the facilities department where they were being managed by property management.

And really just because we wanted to be able to make our onsite teams more dynamic, we're able to get different types of approvals, but we're also able to help and educate in a different way, right? Where sometimes property management professionals, if a maintenance person says that they need something, they just get it to them because they feel, well, they wouldn't ask for it if they didn't need it. And that's not always the case.

You know, there's, you know, now that I've, you know, we've got some senior people, now we have a new layer of management. We have an actual career path now to go from, you know, Porter all the way up to my position. And there are stair steps in between, you know, we are rolling out preventive maintenance plans and, you know, the kind of plans where it doesn't just take into account what that actual property needs.

That property is part of a team of properties and a team of individuals who operate multiple properties. So once again, it's taking something as simple as unit to unit inspections and HUD dictates when we do our units, unit inspections, right? But if I have a team of, you know, so a great example is in Hollywood, I have six properties within two and a half miles of each other, half of them are affordable, half of them are conventional.

So for that preventive maintenance plan, after we have everything that we need, we know what each building needs, how often it needs it, if it's going to be a vendor or it's going to be in-house, all those things, we then take the groups and we put them together and we schedule them out to where each property can help each other out. We know when the units and units are happening in the, or the affordables. And then we go and we look at the conventionals and we don't stick them where they don't belong.

Meaning we don't double up on properties. We also take it a couple of steps further and we look at the history of that property in what months do they have the most service requests, the most turns and things like that. And then we schedule away from that.

What, what probably, you know, historically, what months do they have the least amount of turns in the least amount of service requests? And then we fill that time with preventive maintenance items. What we're doing here.

And, you know, once again, we're, we're just, uh, we're evolving as a maintenance team to where not only do we handle, you know, everything here used to be very siloed, very bifurcated, meaning affordable only did affordable and conventional only the conventional. I mean, when I got here, literally I had three properties that shared property lines, two of them were conventional. One was affordable and they didn't help each other.

It was that level. We found a lot of great efficiencies and we're doing things. It's almost like tearing it down to a certain level, building, rebuilding that foundation and building it back up.

So that is exactly what we're doing here.

[Adrian] (8:13 - 8:23) Exciting. I'm going to have some follow up questions about how you structure everything and facilities, but, uh, I'm going to turn it over to, uh, Joelle is to ask her next question for now.

[Joelis] (8:23 - 9:00) Chad, uh, you've said so many key words that mean so much to me from education, training, I mean, working on various types of properties, I wanted to ask you this. Since you work on these various types of properties and it seems from luxury apartments, all the way to commercial spaces, I'm assuming you've encountered some diverse challenges and maybe even resident demographics, how has this really influenced you or influenced your experience, your leadership style, and really the ability to, to transform and adapt to those different environments?

[Chad] (9:00 - 11:48) Well, and that was, again, that's a, that's, those are lessons that we learn along the way, right? Sometimes we don't know what we don't know until we're in a situation we don't know about. And I have, I found myself in that position several times.

What I've come to find in my, in my old age, if you break it down to four simple things, no matter if it's a, an affordable property, a commercial property, a plus property, anywhere in between, if you can achieve everything to be safe, functional, clean, and timely, your worries are greatly diminished. And it's that simple. What I found out along the way, because, you know, once again, I, you know, we have maintenance mentor programs, right.

Um, and what I found as, as I developed these for other companies and here. Is it sometimes you have to teach maintenance people how to teach people. Just because someone is a very good maintenance person or maintenance supervisor does not make them a good mentor, a good teacher.

Um, you have to want to do that and be interested in that. And when you take somebody and try to force them into that role, it usually doesn't work out. But what I'd found early on in my career is when we had our first group of mentors, the first group of mentors were, of course, your star maintenance, right?

They're, they're, they're the ones that are really good. They, they know their stuff. Usually those people along the way have achieved a level or a position at a property say that is, you know, it's usually a larger property, right?

It's usually a, uh, a little bit more higher end property because that's how you work your way up in property management, really. And what I found out is that sometimes we would, we had a great program where we're sticking people with an actual maintenance mentor for, you know, four to six months, teaching them how to do maintenance and interact with residents and doing all those things. And then when we went to place them in their own position, sometimes that was at a B property or C property.

I hate to say that in my, in my past, I've worked at F properties. I know they don't teach that, but I've taught, I've been on some that were F'd up like really bad. And what I didn't account for in the beginning was there is a little bit of a shock value when you go from an A property to a C property and you don't understand, or you don't take into account the fact that they're just things to be done, uh, you know, they're just in a different setting.

And sometimes you do deal with a different group of people, but also to that, the same thing rings true. If you, you know, you treat everyone with respect and you communicate well with them, usually more often than not, the situation is totally fine. That was something that I did learn over the years that, um, so sometimes we, you know, so what I did is I adjusted where our mentors are, you know, I made sure that I had mentors on the B level, C level, and then we even got fancy enough to go ahead and switch our mentors and our trainees partway through their training.

So they could experience working on different types of properties before they got to the end.

[Adrian] (11:49 - 12:50) You mentioned the mentorship program, right? Do you have any apprenticeship initiatives as well, or have you had those in a past? I like to stay a little bit more on like your take on apprenticeships.

And then if you have like real life examples, whether from the past or from your current position, I like to maybe stay a little more on the, uh, on the mentorship program and like, get us more into like how it really works, right? You know, how you identify those leaders that are becoming mentors, you know, how do you determine who the mentees are and how the whole thing works? Just let us in a little more.

It's a topic that I'm super passionate about. And I know that this is so valuable. So many other companies are not doing actually most companies out there aren't doing, they don't have initiatives like this.

And it'll be extremely valuable for you to share with us, with the audience here, like how it's done at your company or how you've done it in the past. So maybe others who are, you know, getting a spar and start similar programs.

[Chad] (12:50 - 22:19) Um, yeah, so this is something that we are with, uh, our evolution of facilities maintenance here at GK, we're going to be moving towards this model. Uh, I didn't do it in the past. And when I did it for the past, I did it for a company called Widener apartment homes.

Uh, and when I was there, they were in 12 States, four provinces in Canada, 250 properties. It was a huge deal. When I started, we had eight mentors in the very first class.

Uh, by the time I left there, we had over 50. Uh, so we had one mentor for every five properties. What we were able to do is, you know, we saw a need for this early on.

And this was like one of the first things that Widener asked me to do when I went there, what I did was I took an approach that because with the experience that I did have, right. I didn't get a lot of mentorship. I did a lot of things, trial and error for a while.

I will admit, you know, I was a parts changer person. It was broken. I would just change parts until it worked again.

I didn't know why it broke. I didn't know how I just kept changing things. And then it worked.

It was like, okay. And then I walk off and go do something else. What we did was we made sure I made sure that there was a curriculum.

There is a, an actual, you know, back in the day, it was a binder. We're going to be moving forward and digitizing that, you know, so it's going to be on an iPad, not in a binder. It was, you don't teach everybody everything all at once, right?

You take it and you build upon it. And so the very first thing is just understanding the property management philosophy. What is this business?

What, how do you contribute to the business policies, procedures, all those new things. And then you go into some very simple things, curb appeal and things that build onto painting and caulking that build into millwork. So doors, cabinets, all of those things, then that builds into, you know, electrical plumbing, electrical and plumbing, take you into appliances.

Cause usually in appliances, you deal with both of those things. So there's a natural progression and the program isn't built to be, Hey, we're going to teach this person for two weeks and sit them loose in the world because you don't get the longevity out of that. You know, you don't get people who stick around or people who are very good.

So that's why I said it's a four to six month program. And it is, it's some people come to you. And what I found over the years is a lot of people who want to get into property management maintenance, they come with a skill, they just don't have all the skills.

So it could be that they've been painters. It could have been that they've been an electrician or a plumber, a princess or something along the way. So sometimes there's some of those items that they already come with.

That might be a section that they breeze through, but they may need a little bit more time on one of the others. And, you know, to be able to not have it as rigid, to have it a little bit fluid because everybody learns different styles and different ways. Right.

Um, I hate to generalize, but a lot of our maintenance people were textile learners. We've got to put our hands on it. We got to do it time and time again.

And then we retain that information. And then we go about our business and we won't do it for six months. But when he gets back from us, we just do it again.

So that's the thing it's built on. Not only the different types of things we see in everyday maintenance and really the end of that program for the trainee is to get them to be a competent turn tech, or, you know, what I would call a tech one in the industry. And then they still need to build their troubleshooting skills and everything from there.

But it's first time the mentor shows them how to do something and they check off a box. The mentor then talks them through it and they do it. And sometimes this is in a controlled setting or it's a make ready.

But one of the things that we did say is don't teach in people's homes because, you know, they can watch you do it and how you interact with people and kind of explain, hey, this is a trainee. I'm sure don't teach in people's homes because it's not a good place to learn. It evolves all the way up to where the mentor actually watches the trainee do it and do it with confidence.

Then they sign off on it. And then once they sign off on that type of skill. So let's say something like changing a garbage disposal.

The rule is that the maintenance mentor and the trainee are at the same property and essentially almost hit the hit, but not all the time. Because once, especially later on, I'd say in probably the second half of their education, they start getting skills that they are good at. And you can trust them to go and do those types of service requests.

And so those are the type of service requests you give them. And you kind of, for lack of a better word, I see you kick them out of the nest a little bit. Hey, you've seen me do this several times.

You can do this. Go grab the keys, get the service request and go do it. And if you have any issues, call me.

There's that natural progression that not all of us in our industry get. So that is why I built that up that way. But I realized in the beginning, just like I said earlier, you have to identify people that you believe would be a good mentor.

But you don't tell them this is what you're going to do. You come and you ask them, hey, would you be interested in doing this? And if they say no, that's totally OK.

But if they say yes, those are the people that you bring in. You know, we did. It was a week long session with in the beginning with the mentors when they came in, because we just went over the curriculum.

But really, we talked about how the teacher needs to know their student and pick up on signs that you know what? Because there are there. We all are different ways.

There are people who can pick up a instruction manual and read it and execute it. Boom. And then there are people, like I said, a lot of us are textile learners.

We have to do it a few times, a few times. But once you learn in the beginning what type of learner you have, you play to their strengths, don't play to yours. And so it was a little bit, you know, getting people outside of their comfort zone a little bit and trying to realize those things.

But once we did it at Widener, before we started that program, maintenance tech was the highest turnover position in the company, followed shortly, you know, followed by maintenance supervisor. Once we started the you know, after about two years of doing this program, maintenance tech was then the second highest retained position in the company, right behind maintenance supervisor. So when you get that type of consistency on the properties, then you're able to boost the efficiency.

So that is what I learned in, you know, my first, you know, actual probably a couple of years of implementing that program. And now we're going to build on it even further, you know, in its next iteration, which is, you know, this is the thing is we partnered with a lot of vocational schools in different areas. And I went and I would talk to classes before they would come in.

And we actually at Widener, we had like an internship program because we would go to like HVAC schools. And to tell you the truth, sometimes these people get into these schools and they think it's going to be awesome. And then they decide, man, I just don't want to do just HVAC.

But I'm already here. I might as well finish out. What I did is I combined, hey, we have an apprenticeship program.

We're going to pay X amount of dollars for X amount of hours. Usually it was a 20 hour a week because they're still finishing up their school. Right.

But what we did to satisfy their school's credentials or rules, the school said that they need to work on HVAC 50 percent of the time. Great. Guess who got to do all the preventative maintenance for the HVAC?

Cleaning the coils, changing the filters, checking, you know, checking the temperatures and pressures. Yeah. And it was a good way for them to learn.

But then the other half of the time that they were there, they were in make readies, they saw our business. And then at the end, if we you know, they gave us opportunity. I say it was a an extended test drive.

It was a test drive for both parties. You know, if we thought that they'd be good for us and they were very interested in coming in, we made them an offer and they started out as a maintenance tech and go on up from there. That is a little bit of a difference.

I think we look at we look for people from different backgrounds. And then also, too, we put the right people in the program. So I found out early on that if somebody comes to you, they have seven years of maintenance tech experience.

This is not the program for them because they already have preconceived notions that they know how to do certain things. And even if somebody tells them how to do it differently or another style of doing it, they're not going to adjust. They're not you know, they don't want to adjust or adapt.

But when you bring somebody in and they understand that their job from the beginning is learning how to do this, then that is a much easier transition or some. It's a much easier road for them and for the mentors. The program was very heavy on promoting from within taking those, you know, groundskeepers, reporters and putting them into this program because, you know, they start helping out and make readies here and there.

And they start doing some light maintenance here and there. And once again, it's the natural progression. And my goal and this is what I would tell all of my is still what I tell my mentors and my people that I bring in.

You know, I remember what my career was like the first six months in. And if we can make them so much better their first six months in, then that is our goal. You know, to answer the questions before they need to ask them, because once again, we don't always have the confidence to ask.

And depending on what kind of situation you're in, you may ask a question in the way that you were treated may determine if you're going to ask another question or are you just going to be a parts changer for a while?

[Joelis] (22:20 - 23:03) Well, Chad, it seems that you really have a space that people are heard. They're appreciated. And I really have to commend you and congratulate you for that.

Now I do want to switch gears a little bit because I also want to hear about your company because I think this all ties in together. So if you can tell me and I want to make sure I get this right, it's prop ops. Is that correct?

Yes. Yes. What's the name of your company?

Prop ups. Okay. So now prop ups.

From what I hear it focuses on bringing a higher standard of training to property management through a maintenance perspective. What motivated you to establish prop ups and what unique insights or methodologies does it offer to our industry professionals?

[Chad] (23:03 - 27:10) As a lot of things, sometimes it's blind luck that you get into a certain space or a certain niche. I was lucky enough to have a regional manager who in Kansas city, where I'm originally from, she was actually the president of the AACC. Her name was Lenora Carpenter.

And I was, you know, a maintenance tech slash maintenance manager. I kind of went with her to a couple of different companies, you know, so there was that familiarity there, but Lenora always made us go to these apartment association in Kansas city things. And I'm like, Oh, I gotta go to this thing.

I gotta go to that thing. But then when I started really paying attention I saw that it was beneficial and I could take some things that maybe were not necessarily meant to be in the maintenance space and apply them to the maintenance space. So that was starting to be exciting for me.

It just so happens, back in the day when I went through it, the NAEI had their AIT program, their advanced instructor trainer program. And I saw it was in Kansas city that year. And so I asked Debbie, the executive of AACC, she's still there.

And I said, Debbie, can I do this? She said, Oh no, I'm sorry. You can't.

I was like, well why? And she's like, you know, this has been booked for six months. And you know, she told me about the whole thing.

And I was like, Oh, okay. I just went a few weeks later. I got a call from Debbie.

It says, Chad, I don't believe this. This never happens. Somebody had to cancel and I talked to NAA and they said that you could go for free.

So I called Lenore and of course her being, you know, the president at that time, she was just the right at the former president, I believe she was all for it. She let me go to the training, you know, went through the training with Rich George and Doug Chasik and Sue Weston. It was an experience I'd never had.

And I did, you know, I did well, you know, at least that's what I was told. I didn't know if I was doing well or not, but that's what I was told. And part of that training, if you, you know, some of you, you know, you've been through it.

A number of people have been through it. They ask you to give back to your local association, right? So I put together a preventative maintenance class.

I told Debbie, I was like, Debbie, I'll do two classes for you. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. So, you know, you can split it up.

It was cold and volunteer basis. Debbie was through my class in the, in the morning and about, you know, a third of the way through, she got up and she left. I was like, Oh man, is this going bad?

Or, you know, I don't know. I was very insecure at the time. And when I got done, you know, I went into Debbie's office and she sat down and she told me, she's like, Chad, this is what you need to do.

I've seen other people do this. And I, and you're on, you're probably on their level or at least at the very least on the level of some people that I know that they've made this their career. And she goes, you need to get your own website.

You need to start marketing. And yeah, I started out as doing little regional things. And then it kind of just through and, you know, even though I don't market myself heavily, you know, there's, I've got some associations that they call me pretty regularly.

I submit only a handful of things a year because I don't train, you know, I don't go every week or every, you know, for NAA, I presented the NAA five out of the last six years, you know, so I do that. And I always go. And when I decided to make this part of what I do, I remember being the guy in the class who was looking up at someone telling me how to do my job.

They had never done my job and it wasn't realistic. And it wasn't, you know, so once again, a lot of us, if we're put in that situation, we'll tune out, you know, sharing your experience and people knowing that, Hey, I, I, you know, I have done that. I have shoveled snow.

I have emptied out doggy pot stations. You know, I've done those things and I understand those things. It's very easy.

I found that it was much easier to connect with that audience by having done those things and had those experiences myself and then trying to help them build on how can they be better? How can they gain skills? How can they be more efficient in what they do day to day?

That's what my philosophy is. It's what my, my, uh, it's how I build my programs. I think about the people who the content is being delivered to and how can they absorb it and use it.

[Voiceover] (27:10 - 27:14) And now a word from Sean Landsberg, co-founder AppWork.

[Adrian] (27:14 - 27:27) Most product companies are built this way. We're hiring people. They could write code.

We're hiring people that are selling the product. What the end user is nowhere in this picture. How's AppWork different than the scenario just described?

[Sean] (27:28 - 27:59) 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 were a little bit different than I always like to look at us as we're almost like a community of people.

Us, AppWork and all of our clients, we leverage everybody's feedback, collective feedback, help make app work, um, the incredible product that it already is and to help continue improving it. Um, so we're constantly innovating and we're, we're all of our innovation. All of our pipeline really comes from the feedback and the ideas that our clients are giving us.

[Adrian] (28:00 - 29:45) I do want to go back to the mentoring program. This is something that for me, it's one of the most powerful things that I've heard in the recent years. I always said that blanket training is not effective.

Like, you know, making a training program and push it down the throat of everybody in a department, in a maintenance department is like highly inefficient. It's not working. And then I got, you know, a lot of counter arguments and people saying, well, you know, I guess at the end of the day is like the convenient thing, right?

It's just checking a box and everybody kind of goes with the small, right? And nobody really wants to take the time and see, okay, we think that this is what our employees should know. But are we really taking the time to ask them?

Like what would they like to do? It appears like, you know, it's exactly what you did. So first of all, I wanted to hear, like, was this something that came from you?

Was it like, you know, company culture when you got there, you basically were just a part of it. Right. And secondly, in your personal opinion, right?

In professional opinion, like how much more effort or how much better is it like doing personalized training, like listening to what your trainees and mentees wanted to learn versus just telling them, like, this is what you got to do, right? Giving them a curriculum and just say, okay, this is what we're going to teach you. Like, what's the benefit of it?

And is it like really a lot more work to do like personalized than just go with the regular, you know, standard, ping for everybody's standard training. I'm super curious about your take on those.

[Joelis] (29:46 - 29:58) I also want to add this because I think your question is amazing, but how do you also keep up to date with all of this? So how do you keep everyone engaged? I I'm on the same boat as Adrian.

I want to know.

[Chad] (29:59 - 34:58) All right. So the answer to all that is yes. And that's the thing.

It's no, I, so I, I, I knew, you know, in a lot of my classes, because sometimes some of the classes I've done over the years, it's not just for maintenance, it's for office or regional people that manage maintenance people, right? So I'm in class maintenance is from Mars offices from Venus. And I talked about how we communicate differently and what we need to really get our job done.

I ask that question all the time. Do you ask your people what they would be interested in doing? We're not, and this is human nature.

It's not just maintenance that I've come to find out. Everybody is not very willing to speak up and say, this is what I am not good at. This is what I don't know how to do.

You know, if you know your people and you know their skills, you build on it. The thing is, is I'm from the mentor program, right? So my maintenance mentors, once I had enough of them in certain areas, I had people who were seemingly specialists in some things, right?

So they would take, you know, if they had say, say they had two maintenance mentees in the area. Well, what we would do is we'd also take, because once we got that program up and started, and I did not really anticipate this, there was a backlash from the people that we already had. There's like, well, you're doing this for all these people, but you're not doing this for all of us.

And I was like, Oh wow. You know, people are really starting to be interested in this, right? So how do I bridge that gap?

So what we did was once again, knowing what your people know, what, knowing what they don't and putting them in a position, like if you have a, say a maintenance supervisor and he's an HVC ace, you know, he's changing his own condensers and evaporators and you know, is Eric, you know, he's doing it all and does it proficiently and does very well. Why would you send that person to an all day intermediate HVC class? They're not going to get anything out of it.

They're not going to be engaged, but there's sometimes that for lack of a better word, negativity, it will spread to the people who really do need to go to that and learn and be like, this class is BS. Well, yes, for you it is, but for them, it's not. So don't let them have that opportunity to do that.

Like, you know, put them into an advanced class or put them into something else. But what we found out is as, um, you know, especially when we got into the say appliance repair, because that's where a lot of us struggle. Well, I found that, you know, Hey, we had in some areas we had a space where we had a small training center, other places we'd have a very large property.

It had a lot of storage space where we would, you know, utilize like an extra garage or something. I always knew that it's not a good idea to put 30 people in a room and show them one refrigerator. You know, it doesn't make sense, but if you can put say three, four or five people in a very intimate setting, and take that appliance apart and talk about each part, this is what this is.

This is what this does. When this, when this falters, you can expect us to do this or not do this, or this, this is what it's going to do. While you are training your mentees in, you know, on refrigerators or dishwashers or whatever else, you're also bringing in some of your current staff.

And as soon as they go through it, they see it because they already have some familiarity with it because they've been working in maintenance for quite some time. But man, they didn't know that, you know, this is what a float switch actually does, or this is what a defrost timer actually does. You know, yeah, we have, you know, we are starting to have to make that change.

You know, we're changing where the dishwashers now have motherboards instead of timers, you know, but you have to evolve a little bit. But the cool thing about this is the philosophy is much the same. What does it do?

What does it not do in these situations and things like that? And then taking it a step further while you're doing all this, you have some properties that are neat. A downtown property in Los Angeles is much different than a garden style community in San Diego.

Right. So sometimes you even need to do specific training at those properties or those types of properties. And you just have to, you know, the biggest thing is being able to make the time to do it and doing it in an efficient manner.

So I found that once we started that program and you know, we, we, it was solely focused on the mentors and the mentees, but then we found a way to wrap in our current staff and make it beneficial for them. And you know, that was the thing is back in the day, you know, you just had to know, Oh, this person already went through this before, but now we've got, you know, with, uh, with technology and a lot of cool stuff that we have, we now have, you know, digital checklists that if they attend a certain type of class, you can check it off and you know, you don't make the mistake of sending them there twice or, you know, or, or, or those types of things.

And, um, you know, so that is something also that I learned along the way as, as this type of program has really taken shape and evolved.

[Joelis] (34:58 - 35:13) I hear a lot about changes. What are some key changes you've observed in service operations within the multifamily industry in 2023 compared to previous years? And are there any emerging trends that you think we should be looking at?

[Chad] (35:14 - 39:52) Or that we should be aware of, you know, we as maintenance technicians and maintenance people, we have to acknowledge that the world around us is evolving, right? So we're currently also in the middle of, I am, um, distributing iPads, cellular iPads to everybody. We're taking some of the iPads that we had that were just wifi.

And what we're doing is we're bringing those in reconditioning them and then we're actually distributing them back out to our borders, because some of the stuff that they are now doing is not as crucial for them to be beyond, you know, have their live data as they go. But if they're doing their, their checklist or they're doing those things, they can download those things. They now have a device to where they can get their own emails.

They can go through their own classes because as we know, um, and what has been happening in our industry up to now, maintenance got on the computer when no one else was there, if they didn't have a computer in their shop. So we were always at the mercy of having to come in early or stay late or do it on lunch or just when someone else wasn't there. And by giving people that kind of tool, we make it more accessible for them, which is a big deal, but something that we're really evolving, you know, a few years ago, going from, you know, our 22, once that got done in the HVAC industry, you know, Hey, we, we had to know what 14 a was.

We had to know what 407 C was. We had to, you know, figure out these items. And, you know, one of the things that I did also do at a previous company is we had so many properties in Arizona and Texas and, you know, all of those types of places where you live and die by HVAC.

We actually set up a program. I found a company that built a refrigerant recycler, and we were able to clean our own refrigerant because of that in that setting. And this is the knowledge you got to gain from EPA and OSHA and other places.

Since all of our properties were owned by the same individual, we can take refrigerant out of units, clean it, put it in recycle bottles and reintroduce it because they were all owned by the same person. So what we did is we started looking at our smaller properties that the units were aged. We were having a lot of problems.

I employed, you know, several individuals, you know, say three, four individuals in the Arizona area. And what we did was we took all of the R22 units off of the smaller property, say 60 units, 80 units, changed them all over to 14A, but we took all that refrigerant and we saved it and we cleaned it and we redistributed it. And every day that it was going up by the pound, we had our own supply.

Like we literally had huge tanks full of clean refrigerant. That's amazing Chad. Yeah.

The investment in that was probably $70,000. But the return. Yeah.

We saved double that the first year. And you know, so those are the things that you, you know, you keep your eyes up on and you have to do the research. But the thing is, is taking something like that and explaining it.

And guess what? There were some people, the same rules applied. You know, we had our people who were very good in the area with HVAC.

Those were the people who applied to be on that regional HVAC team. I'm very pro promoting from within, even though now I have a group of people who are HVAC techs and they're doing that, you know, they're doing the replacements and the, even like the large changeovers, right. They still have that multifamily maintenance core that they know they need to wipe their feet.

They know they need to clean up after themselves. They know how to interact with residents, what to say, what not to say. And it just makes that experience, I believe, smoother by training and promoting from within, even when you're, it's almost like going in reverse, right?

From where we started, we'll take somebody who has a skill. We give them a bunch of skills, build them up. And then if they're wanting the opportunity, they go back into more of a specialized type.

If you look around and there's no air conditioners to fix or something like that, they can always go to a property and jump in a make ready and help complete one of those out in a day or things like that. So once again, they're utilizing people for their skills, but you're also doing it in a way where they want to do those jobs. And they understand that, you know, if there's no ACs to do, you're not just going to sit around and do nothing.

You know, it's all, and most people want to help. You know, they want, you know, when you get those people that they want to help and they want to contribute, utilize them the best way you can.

[Adrian] (39:53 - 40:32) To me, this conversation so far has been inspiring to say the least. I do want to ask you to share with us some of the best lessons that you learn along the way. What are some best takeaways from your career?

What are some things that somebody out there that wants to, you know, they're looking up to you or to worry at, right? They want to become a leader, an executive in an industry or domain inside. What are some things that they should know that otherwise they would have to learn the hard way, right?

So let's, let's help them in a process and let's have you share some of the great lessons, you know, all the best lessons that you learn along the way.

[Chad] (40:32 - 48:05) Well, I will tell you that I talk very differently now than I did when I was 24 or 23, right? You know, I always said what, exactly what was on my mind, whether it was right or not, I was not always the best employee. And I understand that.

And I kind of, nowadays, everybody takes personality tests and all of those things, right? And one of my negatives, believe it or not, is I am too trusting. But the thing is, is that I understand that I wasn't always the best employee and it took somebody to kind of flip my switch for me to get there.

We can be that for this person. It doesn't always work out that way. But I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt early because, Hey, have I thrown my keys on somebody's desk and walk out?

Absolutely I have in my career because I was that frustrated or I felt like I could get a job like that across the street and I would not have to worry about it. Think about how you interact with people and you interact with different people, different ways. I talk much differently to say asset managers than I do to my team in our shop.

Probably one of the things I learned coming up, and it was kind of really early in the day where I was really feeling I could make that transition from say the property to like a regional position or whatever, is sometimes you have to realize that it's okay to say that you don't know or that you're going to check on it. Because I hate to say this cause it's a bit of a stereotype, but it's just the way that I feel. And some things I've experienced along my way is when a maintenance person says something wrong, they will be held accountable for that for an extended period of time.

Meaning while they were wrong about this, there'll be wrong about the next thing. And you know, you get to the point where you might not be taken seriously. So I would just say, be sure what you're talking about before you actually say it.

The biggest lessons I found is, you know, I had a property in Kansas city. It was down in the Plaza, which is the, you know, the very, you know, it's the high end part of town. Was that another property that was close to there, but not there.

And when I applied to go to the larger property, I was told, Oh no, you can't go. Because when you came to this property, we were very close to losing management on this property. It was for Lincoln property.

And they're like, we can't take the chance of you going somewhere else in this property, slipping back. And I was like, so what you're telling me is I'm being held back because I'm doing such a good job. They hired somebody else.

And I, you know, I met that person and I saw what they were doing. And I suspected that they weren't going to last over there. So what I did is I took that opportunity for those three months.

And I taught my person who was working under me, everything I knew how to do all the scheduling, all of the ordering, all of all of that stuff. And then when it came up again, I applied again. And I was told the same thing.

I was like, look, the last three months, this is what I've been doing. I have been doing the make readies. He has been running the property for this opportunity.

I was like, so I was told, yes, you can go for 60 days. And if this property slips, you go back to where you were. They go back to where they were.

And I just wasn't going to allow that to happen. So I took on this luxury property. It was owned by reef, which is a large fund, right?

The asset manager, I'd been there for less than a week and I transitioned in late December. So I had no input on the next year's budget. I had no idea what it really was.

I just was told that they had not made any lie at that property for the last six years. Essentially we walked that whole property. That guy written me up and down.

Why is this like this? Why is this like this? How come you knew?

So once again, I took that and I focused in, uh, you know, I figured out, Oh, there's a system to this place. These are the things that we need to do. And midway through the next year, he'd been back a couple of times and he'd been okay.

They show up and they show up with a few asset managers. And I guess at the time I think they were probably accountants or something like that. They go into our conference room there, they spread out, they get all their computers and their books and their papers and they print everything out.

They said, we want to tour this property, top to bottom, every storage, every shop, every garage, every, every. So we went out, we toured, we looked and we got back in and everybody just started getting back into their computers and things. And so me being me, a little bit younger me at the time, I was like, excuse me, I'm sorry.

I just need to know before I walk out of here, is there something wrong here? And they're like, well, the asset manager, you know, he was like, well, Chad, yeah, there is something wrong here. They're currently $190,000 over in a while.

And we want to know what's not getting done. And I was like, Oh, well, if you were to ask me that question in the beginning, I'll tell you what's not getting done. You know, I have changed out all the vendors here that we're charging is 20% more than they should be because they'd been here for so long.

They got comfortable and they inflated their prices. I've gone through every single part that we use on this property. And I'm, I ensure that we buy it from the place that where it is the cheapest.

We don't vend out things anymore that used to get done, you know? So I had this long list and they're like, well, that's great. But now we have another problem.

We need to spend this money. Well here, this is the things that you could improve by just doing that. It kind of, I learned like that process of what are, what are asset managers really looking for?

And it helped me kind of broaden my view of how property management actually works. A few months later, you know, the guy came back in town. He used to say the hotel right across the street essentially.

And he knew that I came in early every day. So he came in early, had a cup of coffee and he's like, Chad, you know what? He goes, I gotta tell you something.

I don't worry about this property anymore. And I was like, why is that? And he goes, you know what?

Because I jog at night or early in the morning and I come by here and I do not see not one light out. And I know if there's not one light out that everything else is getting done, knowing that you have to do it a certain way. And I think that one of the biggest things is you have to treat the people who work for you with respect and in a certain way, but you have to be honest, you know, look, this is what we're being asked to do.

This is how we're going to get there. And not only do you always just tell them how we're going to get there. I've found that most of the time, if I even asked for suggestions or input, I'll get it.

And it's all very similar. It may be said in a few different ways, but the end result is always similar. Once you do that, you make them part of the process and part of the fix and they will be engaged in it.

They will own it. They will contribute to it because they were involved in the actual planning of things through my career, even in my current position. I still, you know, some of the, one of the most awesome things and one of the things that I never thought of came from a housekeeper.

It was her idea. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you're right. I was like, let's try that here.

And that's another thing too. You know, as long as you're trusted with being able to kind of do these things, you do it in a small environment, you prove it out, you see what's what, and then present your results and you either move forward with it or you don't. Just in a way of doing things that, you know, she brought that up and I hadn't really thought of it that way.

But as soon as she said it, in my mind, it just clicked. And I was like, wow, you're right. Once again, I'd taken that and I kind of weave it into from that moment forward, I was always looking at all the positions and how we can make them more efficient.

And not only from my own experiences, but I am lucky enough to have the benefit of other people's experiences along the way. And, and really weave that into what I do going forward.

[Joelis] (48:06 - 48:28) And that's, I think the most inspiring thing. I mean, I agree with Adrian. This conversation has all the hot topics.

You really have given me a lot to think about within my own organization, Chad. So I do have to thank you for that. My last question for you is how do we get in contact with you?

How do we learn more about you, your organization, even at your own property? Where's the team? Where can we get all that info from?

[Chad] (48:30 - 52:55) Well, once again, like I said, I don't do a lot of self promotion, but if you go to, I am part of the executive team here. So that is also another thing over the past six years plus that being involved with a management company at that level, it's not just, you know, while yes, I do a lot with CapEx and inspections and site level maintenance. We also talk about other topics.

I've learned even so much more being in this role. But if you go to and you know, look up you know, the company's history somewhere along the line, there's a tab somewhere for leadership and you go on there. I've got a small bio on there.

I'm also on LinkedIn of course. So Chad Moulin pretty easy to find there. And you know, my, my company prop ops it's at prop ops

You could also go there. And the thing is, is in my prop ops training, right? It's not so much technical training.

What I did is I kind of take topics, like I said, that I found early on, I make them relevant to the maintenance or facilities field. One of my more recent classes is I have a database of over 78,000 apartment homes, over 300 properties. And what I do is I take the information after I, before I implemented my program or my, you know, all, you know, the evolution of maintenance.

Once I implement that, I took an average of the previous three years. You know, I scrubbed all the names. All I can just, I can tell you how large the property was.

I can tell you what type of property it was, what class it was, things like that. Not all the names, not all who owned it, not all, all of that stuff. I, what I do is I take those things and I can show the contrast and I can say, Hey, 365 days after implementation, we saved 17% on this.

We saved 11% on this. Even though we introduced over that timeframe, literally tens of thousands of preventative maintenance work orders. We still reduced our work order load by, you know, over 12%.

I could even take certain types, like it's the test properties, right? We took a property that the HVAC was horrible. We went down there for a week.

We did everything that should have been done, buttoned up everything, checked everything, cleaned everything. And then we saw the difference. And we changed the filter twice a year.

We did. But at the end of that, not only did we have 26% less work orders, which you know, where you used to do four, now you're only doing three, but we were able to do them 50% faster because we were avoiding the catastrophic failures that took extended periods of time. So we were doing three fourths of the work twice as fast because we spent a little bit of time actually doing the preventative maintenance the way we should have.

Those are the type of things that I bring. Um, they're a little bit, you know, a little bit outside the box thinking, but you know, I have a class to talk about, I call it maintenance zen, you know, is how do you build a maintenance culture? How do you build a department?

And it's okay. Some, some, in my experience, I've had companies that have had really great culture and they follow up on it. And it's part of everything that they do.

I have some companies whose culture is a plaque on the wall and they never talk about it, but it doesn't mean you can't have your own maintenance culture in your own department. And what do you center that on? What are your goals and you don't stray from that.

And most everybody's goal is to be safe, right? So you can never make a decision that's going to put somebody in danger to save money because that's counter to what you want to accomplish. Um, and you have to make those decisions time and time again.

And you have to be very, another thing that I have found, and I'm sure this is true for most, uh, most people, but especially in maintenance, once you can establish a way of doing things and a methodology, and you can consistently keep that standard, you tweak it along the way. But if you're blowing up what you're doing every three months, it's very hard for people to become efficient at their jobs because they're constantly having to learn a new way of doing this or a new order of doing this or a new philosophy of why we do this. That's why we keep it very simple.

Safe, functional, clean, timely in that order.

[Adrian] (52:55 - 53:09) Chad, I'm sure we could go on for at least an hour, at least one more hour, but I also, you know, want to be very mindful of your, you know, of your schedule today. Any final thoughts about the conversation we had today?

[Chad] (53:09 - 54:54) I appreciate you even having this type of, uh, you know, this type of platform, you know, it's something that's new. It's something that people have done in the past, but it's, um, you know, it's a little bit different talking, you know, just about maintenance and just about, you know, some of these things. And I think that, you know, being able to present experiences and to present even new ideas, you know, my hope is that somebody sees this and they don't do it exactly like I did it, but it sparks an idea for them to do it better, whatever their position is, or people who are maybe not in the maintenance field that hear this and they think, Oh, I can help our maintenance teams go further by implementing this or looking into this or even asking the simple question that maybe they didn't think about before. Like I said, in the beginning, I do appreciate being asked to be here and kind of share, you know, my knowledge and my experiences. And then, you know, one of the things that I realized it took me a little while to realize it, my experiences are based off of other people's experiences, right?

Some people showed me how to do things the very right way. And some people showed me how to do things the very wrong way. And once I learned, wow, that person had me doing this, this way, and I could have died, like literally.

Wow. You know, and, and once again, so those are the things that I take and I just try to ensure that we put people in better positions sooner in the maintenance industry or multifamily, you know, once again, you know, being able to be here, talk to, talk to both of you, being able to share this in this way, I hope that it has a positive effect on at least somebody.

[Joelis] (54:54 - 55:01) Oh, trust me, you sparked an idea or two for me. So you definitely accomplished that mission. It's been an honor to have you here.

[Adrian] (55:01 - 56:02) It's been truly amazing chat in my mind, right? The top of mind, right? For me is how can I get him back in here for a second episode?

I got so much more to ask you so many more questions that we didn't even scratch the surface during the conversation. So I truly hope that we could, you know, you could find a time for us to return to multifamily X to master of maintenance and continue this conversation because it's a conversation like I've never had before. Like really, I'm just completely blown away by, you know, your forthcomingness and also the ideas that I've been like, preaching for years and I never really find a person yet to align with my thinking and my vision as great as you did today during the conversation.

So I'm very grateful for you taking the time to be with us today. I do want to turn it to all journalists and journalists. Any final thoughts about the conversation today?

[Joelis] (56:02 - 57:11) I mean, it really gave me a good sense of understanding of where I need to encourage and enforce different types of trainings within my own department, within my own organization, even within the apartment association, which I belong to and so heavily I'm involved with. We have a great maintenance program and we're trying to expand that. And I thought, I think you brought some great things to the table.

Chad actually took some notes down and do not be surprised if I reached out because much like Adrian say, the conversation is there and I think the need has shifted and people are more aware of how important maintenance is, how things are changing and how we have to make them a part of the conversation. I still, I think sometimes, you know, we always think of the forefront how we have to take care of our regionals, our community managers, but it's very seldom that we think about those maintenance personnel that really work so hard and strive for the rest of us to look so good. So this conversation was enlightening.

Like I said, I will be reaching out to you personally and Adrian, it's always a pleasure to speak to you. I, anytime you need me back, you give me a call and I'll be more than happy to co-host with you anytime.

[Adrian] (57:11 - 57:23) Everybody. Thank you so much for watching us today. This is Multifamily X Podcasts Masters of Maintenance.

I'm your host, Adrian Danila. I hope to see you back here soon. Have a great day, everybody.