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Solutions for Labor Shortages in Multifamily


Unlocking Success
Lessons from the Top
Creating Career Paths
Unveiling Hidden Gems

Adrian and Joseph speak with Mike Mulloy. Mike discusses the importance of career pathing in multifamily for better retention.

[Adrian] (0:22 - 0:39) Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of Multifamily X podcasts, Masters of Maintenance. Today we have two premieres. First of all, I want to welcome Joseph Knack as co-host of mine.

Welcome to the show, Joseph.

[Joseph] (0:40 - 0:46) Thank you, Adrian. It's an honor to be here and excited to have the other premier guest alongside me.

[Adrian] (0:47 - 0:58) And next, I want to introduce our guest for today, which is Mike Mulloy. Mike is Vice President of Facilities Management with NRP. Welcome to the show, Mike.

Thank you.

[Mike] (0:58 - 0:59) I appreciate it.

[Adrian] (0:59 - 1:08) Thank you for having me. I'm going to kick off the podcast today by asking Mike. Mike, please walk us through your background in property management.

[Mike] (1:09 - 8:35) I probably have more of a less traditional path than, you know, I've listened to your show before and and, you know, listened to some of your other tasks too. You know, I started as a groundskeeper and then were promoted up through the ranks. And, you know, my path is a little bit different.

First, I should start that like my background in, you know, I was exposed to the trade, you know, as a young kid. My father owned a plumbing company as I grew up, you know, as a child. And so I was exposed to, you know, the trade work from a young age.

And so, as I, you know, I was always going to work with my dad like on weekends or summer break. And through college, I worked, you know, worked for his company. So, I developed an understanding of, you know, working with my dad who worked with plumbing and mechanical to develop those skills throughout my life.

But, you know, I went to college, never thinking, never really understanding the property management industry. After college, I, my first job was working in real estate brokerage. I've always worked in real estate in some capacity.

But I've had, you know, a number of different roles. And they've all been very valuable and taught me, you know, they've helped shape who I am, and they feel the experience that I use today, I've developed along that path. So first, I worked in real estate brokerage.

So selling, leasing, both residential and commercial properties, you know, that was, I think, very valuable, because, that started as a position based role. So it helped develop, you know, you, you feel what you eat, essentially, right. So it really taught me how to be, you know, to work through adversity to help be persistent.

And you really have to develop a sense of customer service as well, to be very resourceful. And really, I mean, you know, the harder you work, the more experience, you are, essentially, it pays off, the phone rings more, that was very, you know, that was very valuable. But I had my first role in real estate.

After that, I actually went to work for a bank managing their, their portfolio property sales. So I work largely with contractors and real estate brokers, as we sold off or manage their portfolio of real estate. And that was, you know, I, I really understood more, you know, I don't need to develop a lot of the financial aspect of it and the only cost for financial operations side of it.

I learned what, what I didn't like about, about that, too. And it's really more of a desk job. So what I really like is kind of the act of being out in the field and visiting properties and working with the people who work at the properties and meeting the properties.

And then also, you know, managing them and ensuring that they perform. So that's really like how I, how I became interested in kind of the property management side. I left the bank, I was, you know, I was working at this bank, wealthy job, but I was miserable.

And I was newly married. I had a new father, my first child has just been born. And I think, you know, a week off, and I went back to work and I came home and told my wife, I just, I'm not in this.

Thankfully, she supported me. And I left that job, you know, really started, I had a lot of contacts in the real estate business. And so I went into, I started a contracting business that service those properties.

So I went back to the bank that, you know, the loan services that I went back to own property. I approached them and said, Hey, I want to take care of properties that you own, get a contract to serve. So that was a very, like, that was a great experience, really, both on the contracting side and understanding, really, really developed skills of how we maintain properties.

But, you know, also being a business owner and managing employees. And that was a great experience. But that is, that's really demanding in terms of managing owning a business managed management business being a new father.

And so, you know, I eventually had an opportunity with a local or regional property management company that, you know, I went to work for this company, and I really developed an interest in property management, real estate, but it was kind of, it was a difficult business to break into. So I found this company, and I went to work for them as the director of maintenance. And I think I had like 14 properties that I was essentially responsible for, but very much involved in, in, you know, I was still involved in working at those properties and still turning the wrenches.

It wasn't, it wasn't exactly a regional major position. It was, it was very much involved in the day to day operations at those sites, but it was a large portfolio. So it wasn't like I was on track.

So that was a regional type property or company, all the properties where they were in the Cleveland, Ohio area. But that was like, that was a tough career decision, because I knew that there was an opportunity that that would grow into something more. But at the time, it was a pretty significant change.

I'm glad that I have the foresight to say that it would be something better, but it was a tough decision to kind of take a step back. I think we, you know, we can talk about more, but sometimes you got to look for the right opportunity. You can't be focused on what the title is today, what the pay is today.

You have to recognize like, hey, this is an opportunity, and I have to go and learn time and with the idea of knowing that they can grow into something. That was I was with that company for a couple of years, and it's a really valuable experience. And then I saw actually a position with the NRP group who was a site level position, like it was like a maintenance tech.

And I applied for knowing that again, it would probably be a bigger company or opportunity that national company and time and our group was, you know, was, you know, they're experienced very significant growth, but they were really making a blast in terms of growing their portfolio. So I applied to the tech position and the resume, my resume ended up on this gentleman's desk, who at the time was like a regional vice president. Today he's the president of the property management company, and I knew him outside of work.

So he recognized my name, he called me like, Hey, listen, I'd love to hire you. I don't think this position is right for you. Like, I think you're overqualified for this position.

Stay tuned. I'd love to stay in touch. And we stayed in touch for like 10 months or a year.

I became available. Prior to that, I've been with this company for nine years. You know, I think after a year or two, I was promoted to the vice president of facilities.

I've been in that role since. And that has been my background. So it's not like I'm, you know, the ground level, working my way up.

I had a roundabout way.

[Joseph] (8:35 - 9:04) But that is impressive, and quite the persevering path, to be honest, I Yeah, congratulations. And it seems like there's no clear linear path when it comes to multifamily maintenance profession. So what's your take on career pathing in the multifamily maintenance industry?

And how can organizations define and nurture career progression for their teams to retain great talent that they've invested into?

[Mike] (9:04 - 12:00) I think career pathing is necessary. I think, you know, I thought we were talking about often really defining what it is, it's setting clear expectations on what, you know, what your role is today, and chart each of those different roles, what those opportunities are, what that role involves, so that it's clear to the associates, they know, they know what's ahead of them and what they need to be doing to be ready. Because I think that there's first, first of all, I think that there's a lot of people who say, Hey, listen, I've been here the longest, I need a guy to connect the line for the promotion.

That's not necessarily true. You have to be clear. You have to be clear to them on why, right?

And that doesn't need to be such a difficult conversation. It should be, it should be a, you know, it should be a clear and honest conversation and say, Hey, listen, here's what we look for in that position. Are you doing those things?

Are you here's what here's what's expected in your position. And we have created these job profiles for every role in the department starting with orders from people all the way up to regional agent manager or director of facilities and outlining exactly, you know, what, what's involved in that job role. Not only the job description, but in more detail, here's what you're usually doing.

So when some, you know, when you're talking with associates, and giving that feedback, here's where you are today, you know, are you doing all these things? Are you you know, and it gives them kind of like a litmus test for them to look at and be like, Hey, let me be honest with myself, I'm doing all these things. And if I'm not, then maybe I'm not ready.

And it gives them the opportunity to kind of dig in and develop those skills. You know, and if you're in a role, so you're in a tech position, you desire to be a supervisor, you can look at it. Okay, what are the things that we need to do?

And there's an opportunity for me to develop those skills. And, and it, it just gives, you know, it creates a clear path for them to see. And it just makes that it makes it more attainable.

And it's a clearer picture of what was necessary. So that, you know, when you post a position, and someone wants to pay, I'd like to, I'd like to apply, and they may be a very good actor, supervisor, whatever role they're in now, it makes that conversation easier on why they're not right candidate. Most of the time, you can say, okay, here's what we need.

Here's where you are today. Let's get you there. I think career path is very, very, very important, especially today, where we focus on retaining the people we have is so important to every organization, and how you do this very important ways to retain those and develop them, develop them.

[Adrian] (12:01 - 12:50) Speaking of unconventional career path, right, right. Going from the banking industry coming into multifamily, not following, I guess, the one that, you know, most of us in executive work, you're previously myself in executive role, have followed by starting from the bottom working our way up. But I'm sure that this unique experience that you had, and each one of our experiences are unique in different ways.

What are the best lessons that you have learned that you would like to share with others that are looking up to you and are saying, one day I want to be like Mike, I want to become a VP of facilities. What are some great lessons that you will learn throughout your career along the way in multifamily that you like to share with us?

[Mike] (12:50 - 15:29) Being honest and recognizing that like, I don't know everything. No matter what your role is, or your title is, like, there's always an opportunity to learn and be open to learning. If you if you spent your entire career starting at the groundskeeper level, and you've worked for all these years at a property, you develop a ton of skills that I don't have, right.

So I don't pretend to know as much of the technical aspect of everybody else. But there's things that I know that others don't. So like, I can I know that.

So like, I'm open. And I don't tend to know everything. I put my role is like, I'm always learning, I can learn something from a maintenance tech, maintenance supervisor, and they can learn something from me.

And, you know, I think there's a lot of people in this industry where it's almost like they're too proud to recognize that they have something to learn. There's a lot of people like, hey, I've been doing this for 20 years, I know, I've seen it all. And they don't want to, I don't know, rats, or proud or whatever, that whatever that's holding them back, we don't want to admit that they've got something to learn.

Right. And I think that the most important thing is that we're perpetually, there's more perpetual learners, there's always something more to learn. And, you know, see something for a different lens.

So I mean, the CEO, the founder and CEO of our company says that all the time, that's how I approach it. And that's my biggest piece of advice is to always be, you know, open to learn something. You know, if I go to a property, I may call someone, you know, if I go to Austin, Texas, I may call someone from another property, maybe with a maintenance supervisor, for example, I'll say, hey, listen, I'm going to be in town, and I'm going to go out, why don't you come with me, maybe take them off their property, just take them somewhere else.

So get them out of the out of the normal environment, and say, come walk property with me and look at things the way I see them. So let's talk about it. But at the same time, I'm asking him questions like, hey, which thing is this?

And get their feedback. I'll come away from that getting perspective and like realizing things that don't occur to me, right? So realizing challenges are different ways to approach things.

It's a learning experience for both of us. And I think that is the most valuable piece of advice that I can share. Like you've got to be open to learning and willing to extend yourself, ask questions, listen, it works for me.

And I think it's valuable piece of advice. You know, I've kind of learned in this role.

[Joseph] (15:29 - 15:49) Impressive. That is a developed way of thinking, I believe is always be learning and someone could always teach us something in every interaction that we have today. It's kind of like a mentor mentee type of situation is that big for your organization and for you personally?

[Mike] (15:50 - 18:26) Absolutely. Again, we talk about mentors, mentees all the time. I think I refer to our CEO and founder a lot.

He talks about that often. He's been a mentor to me. But I think one one piece that he says that I think is really important when you talk about it doesn't have to be this real formal relationship or formal arrangement where you say, hey, you be my mentor, you be my mentor.

I'm the mentee. I think it's a two way street all the time. So if you approach it that way, you know, because my title is vice president, I can be mentored by a supervisor, right?

I mean, I'm still learning from them. They're learning from me. It is a mentor mentee relationship, but it doesn't have to be defined as that.

So like we were both learning from each other going back in my career, like there was a lot of people that I mentored me that I didn't, we didn't call them mentor mentee relationship. At that point in my life, when I was working at the bank, and I knew that I wanted something different, I didn't know where to go. What do I want to do?

How do I get there? I reached out or through other connections, I met a million different people for coffee, and I would just go talk to them. And they're like, well, what can I do for you?

I don't know right now. But like, it just helps me to talk to them and just get different perspectives on things. I would talk to them and tell them what was interesting to me, you know, what I didn't like about my first job, and they would maybe anything, they would just connect me with someone else.

And there was a bunch of those different interactions, which now looking back, those were they were mentoring, right? Like I didn't know it then I didn't come away with, you know, my gosh, this guy really taught me those types of interactions, like they happen every day. It doesn't need to be fine as a mentor.

Hey, this is my mentor, but you have to be open and kind of put yourself out there. I didn't even have anything that people were asking for direction of stuff. But I was willing to just go talk to somebody.

And there were so many people. I mean, people, I don't know how I got some of these meetings, but people that were in three significant important roles that met me for coffee, and they were just, it didn't mean not one of them led to a job, you know, like a new job, but it helped me understand kind of where I wanted to go. And when it got time to like, hey, I have to take a pay cut, take this job, those types of conversations helped me give me like the confidence to feel good that I was making the right decision.

Mentoring is it happens all the time. You don't even quite know. It's so important in career growth.

[Voiceover] (18:26 - 18:30) And now a word from Sean Landsberg, co founder, AppWork.

[Adrian] (18:30 - 18:48) Tell me a little bit about data integrity. How does AppWork rank in data integrity? We all know that you know what you put in comes out, right?

So if the information that you put in is not accurate, it's not representing the reality, whatever comes out as data is really not accurate. So how do you fare in data integrity?

[Sean] (18:49 - 19:35) It's not just about the information that you put in. The information that comes out is only as good as the information that you put in. But it's also the fact that someone actually has to manually input a lot of that data.

So for us, there's two things. Number one is, you know, just about all the data that we're collecting. It's it happens to the normal course of using our product, right?

So no one's actually going in and manually adding information that we're then using and recording analytics or anything like that. So all the data that we're presenting is is that is actually not done manually. So it takes out just one last thing that people have to do.

It makes using the product a lot easier. But it also removes that whole component where people can influence the data. So everything, even take something as simple as, you know, technicians callback, that's a metric that comes directly from the residents, where there's no way anybody, especially the technician can influence that.

Same thing with the ratings.

[Adrian] (19:36 - 20:13) Mike, we've touched on career paths previously. I like to go over a very hot topic. And this is a topic that I think we will be discussing for the remaining of our careers.

And this is labor shortages in main us in multifamily maintenance. How do we as an industry alleviate this pain? How do we overcome this challenge?

We're part of it? How do we make things better? And then if you have some specifics of, you know, things that you are implementing, you're doing at NRP, I would like for you to share that with the audience.

[Mike] (20:13 - 24:31) It's one of the biggest challenges facing our industry. I think a lot of people are like, oh, there's a quick fix. It's gonna take a long time.

And it's not like you solve it. I think you work through it. And, you know, I think there's a lot of things that need to happen to really resolve it.

But I, you know, first and foremost, I think the biggest thing that we can do today is make sure that we treat our current associates well, right. And when I say that, it's not just pay them more than someone else pay them, but like really treat them well. And, you know, we talked about career path, what that involves is allowing work life balance, you know, showing them what opportunity exists within our organization and in the industry, providing them training and the opportunity to grow, showing recognition and appreciation for them.

So number one is, I think, first, take care of the people we have, rather than how do we still get the people that we don't have, I think, first priority is take people that, that, you know, elected to work for your organization. Right. So that's how you, because we have this industry and there's, there's a shortage of the people who can do that, do this job.

And if all they do is just hop around some company that doesn't help us solve the problem, and we're all competing with people. So I think that one, if we can help people stay put and really grow, then that's a key piece to solving this problem. Secondly, I think, you know, we need to get new blood into the industry, right?

So people need to understand that you can make a really good living in this business. You know, I was of the age where like, you know, I grew up, like I said, my father owned a plumbing business. I was honestly growing up like, oh, everybody just goes to college so that they can get a real, you know, a really real job.

I mean, there was a stigma to going to work, school, to work in trades or working in a business like this, that I think is kind of going away. I think there's more people that are open to the opportunity to, but you don't have to sit behind the desk and teach the stuff. There is a lot of opportunity in this business to be happy, to have work-life balance, to make good money.

And I think that we need, as an industry, we need to continue to promote that and get in front of those, you know, get in front of people today that are in high school and college or community college or whatever, and let them know what opportunities exist. You know, there's career fairs all the time in colleges from corporate jobs, and everybody's just going around saying, hey, where can I go work? And those exist today, too, for property management.

But I think that that is a major opportunity for us to get in front of young people, say, hey, there's a really good career out there that's available. And when they make that decision to enter this business, obviously, training them and preparing them is important. But those are the things that we're trying to do now, we're talking about now, you know, as we retain people, we have to be able to show up their course to promotion.

That's how you solve it, I think. I mean, I know that kind of a, but my focus is that are within our organization to really take care of the people we have, and focus on developing our associates. I think that there's a lot of, you know, there's companies out there that say, okay, we just have to pay more to get people we have to track other ways.

We have to, you know, push people away from other companies. And that's a race I don't want to run. Because it's just a temporary solution.

And all we do is keep paying people more for the same job. And I think that people will be more committed to your organization. If you take the guy who's, you know, a quarter today or a day, really develop and invest as much as much as him, as he's invested in you, there's a more committed relationship and more, it's just a, you know, a better solution to the problem that that's where my focus is.

But at the same time, we have jobs that we're trying to fill. And you know, you have to play both sides. But I think the true solution, how we overcome an industry, we have to recruit people at a young age to enter the business, and we have to develop them from the ground up.

[Joseph] (24:31 - 25:13) It's a big problem, actually. And one of the reasons how Adrian and I connected was I have this crazy idea to support that this big problems on a small scale, and there'll be more to that later to come in future podcasts. My question to you is we know maintenance is not a sexy industry, but the maintenance technicians on site, they are the unsung heroes of the property that they work at.

So how do you like what tactics or strategies do you think we could use to attract new generations to just get exposed to multifamily? Because like you said, there's so many opportunities that you could take within multifamily, like getting exposed to it is the first step.

[Mike] (25:14 - 27:16) First of all, I think what Adrian is doing here with this podcast is like, is great, right? Because that's where I think younger people are seeing these things and seeing this type of business promoted, and they can listen to people talk about it. You know, it's one thing that promoted through the partner associations and all that.

If you hear honest conversations of people who live and work in this industry, and how they've been successful is I think impactful. I would pay attention to it as a young person. I pay attention to it now.

I watch podcasts and I try and learn from people. So I think that is a way for you to do this type of stuff. You know, also, again, going back to that mentor mentee relationship, I mean, think about people, you know, I've got friends and family who are in college or who owe me to college.

And, you know, I know what I didn't even know. A lot of them don't either. And so they're like, so what do you do?

Obviously, multifamily, there is a huge growth across the country. I mean, there's more and more apartment starts, you know, in the last few years than there ever was their friends when they graduate college, they're moving into apartments. And, you know, so I think there's more awareness of how big this industry is that is becoming more aware, those types of things naturally or organically happen.

But what I think is another opportunity is really going, you know, I've tried to partner with trade schools and stuff like that, but almost even reaching them earlier, because a lot of the kids that are in trade schools, are people who went to college figured out it wasn't for them, and then ended up in a trade school. And I think that, you know, you could, you could reach people that are in high school and just say, hey, this is an opportunity. You know, I remember, like, they used to come in and train the group, the military in high school, right?

So it's kind of the same thing, like, hey, here's another opportunity, maybe you're different, if you're not interested in college, here's another opportunity or another if you care about it, you promote it.

[Adrian] (27:16 - 27:41) That's how I approach it. A little bit like one hot topic, one hot word in multifamily, and specifically multifamily maintenance, right? It's centralization.

I want to talk about the pros and cons of centralization. And I want to ask you, or in black, do you think that this is a real thing? Or is just a buzzword when it comes to multifamily maintenance?

[Mike] (27:41 - 30:02) Me personally, I think it's more of a buzzword. I'm often we've we've been talking about the idea of centralization for a long time. And that's what way I interpret it is, you know, creating efficiencies within your operation.

I think the way that it's being referred to today is like, we are going to centralize it, we're going to try and create efficiencies. So if we've got three properties that would be staffed with four maintenance guys, each, there's 12 guys, we centralize it, somehow we're going to reduce that 10 people because we can be more efficient, right? So yes, in theory, that would be great.

But does that really work? And I can't see in any way, despite all the technology and innovation that we are seeing, how you can reduce maintenance, like I haven't seen a way where you can reduce the headcount maintenance. In most cases, I think we need more, right?

Like we always use that one body per 100 units. And I think that that is an obsolete way of looking at it is the unit sizes have gotten bigger, unit counts got bigger unit sizes, numbers that got bigger, household sizes got larger. So if your conversation is, oh, we're going to centralize it, be more efficient.

And that way, we can, we don't have to pay. There's that process. I don't believe that at all.

I think that it's become a hot topic because the number of deals need to continue, right? So new deals that are underwritten, that current economic time, that will become a little bit more difficult. So people say, Hey, listen, we can centralize our maintenance operation.

And we can maybe reduce payroll by that. And therefore, it's going to cost less of that deal, all of a sudden pencil, and become, you know, can be underwritten when it couldn't be before. And I think they're just lying to themselves, right?

I think it's a, I think it's just a way for them to justify trying to make it work. I just, if I'm being honest, I don't see how centralization really works from a maintenance perspective. Now, I do agree that there's ways to be more efficient, you can, you can centralize, I mean, you can, you can create efficiencies.

But at the end of the day, those properties still need those maintenance associates.

[Joseph] (30:02 - 30:20) And I don't see it as a way of reducing, you know, I think, do you think it's too early to tell if it'll actually work? Because it's only been, you know, a couple of years now that it's been thrown around, technology solutions have come to help out with that particular strategy.

[Mike] (30:20 - 31:24) Again, I'm always learning. I want more information. But the way that when I look at our portfolio, when I look at, believe me, we've got a huge concentration of products, it's going to work anywhere, it'll work there.

I find more success when someone has a sense of ownership to their property. You know, so if you're saying, okay, we're going to centralize it, you're going to not be responsible for these different places. I just think that you lose touch and lose accountability.

And there's so many factors that disrupt the ability to centralize. So in theory, if everything works, as it should, great, you know, in multifamily, that doesn't happen. So when I when I think of centralization of maintenance, I'm thinking of the efficiency of shrinking the number of associates to cover more, or, you know, we're going to bring it, we're going to centralize business out of this location, cover this area, spread it out.

And yeah, that I just, I haven't seen how it works.

[Adrian] (31:25 - 32:49) So maybe it is. Mike, you did mention a different, I guess, your definition of centralization, and it's around efficiencies, right? So I do want to bring a couple of ways in which some companies, right, that I'm in contact with, that I know, have been working towards increased efficiency.

One of the ways in which they do it is by implementing keyless locks. So it eliminates this back and forth to and from the office. And it just removes the clutter from the office of like a long line of vendors waiting for a key, or waiting to return their key to get their IDs back.

So this is what you know, that does and obviously, that translates into putting time into the technician's day. And another way of in which I guess, you could be made more efficient is by installing, like very reliable leak sensors throughout the property and all the water sources to notify management when the smallest leak happens before it becomes a flood, before it turns into more. Are you aware of those solutions out there in a marketplace?

And what is your company doing along those lines, like specific to those solutions, or maybe something similar to those solutions that you'd like to share with us?

[Speaker 6] (32:49 - 32:49) Sure.

[Mike] (32:50 - 35:37) We have utilized keyless locks, for sure, at several properties. Mixed reviews, some lovely, some, you know, depending on the, you know, what version you have, or which product you have, you know, it's not performed better than others. I mean, I think keyless locks is a good thing, right?

I mean, I definitely recognize the saving in time and efficiency it creates in terms of access for vendors. You know, there's other challenges it creates, you know, people, batteries go dead, or software needs updated or something, you know, but at the end of the day, I'm a fan of it. One thing I say about NRP is we have two different product types that we've developed.

We have our high-end market rate luxury product. And then we have, we develop a lot of light tech properties, tax credit properties, and we have electronic locks as well. You know, we've done different products with both product types.

So it's not like, oh, only one property did electronic locks and the other doesn't. We utilize them. It's something that we really have gone more to in recent years.

In terms of the leak sensors, I think those are super valuable. It just comes to a point where there's a barrier of entry to that. Our company, we develop, build, and manage all of our products.

So we are not a third-party developer. We're a third-party manager. We are vertically integrated, develop, build, manage our own stuff.

We own all of our products. When I go and I look at, hey, yeah, I love this. I love this.

I love this. It would make my job as a manager much easier. But there is a cost-benefit analysis.

I mean, you know, I'm looking up in our P group, I have to look and see like, hey, yeah, but that really, that really drives up the cost of construction, right? So like, there's a lot of things that I want that I look at would make our property manager's job easier or better save them time. But does it make sense looking at the whole picture?

And that is kind of the problem with some of those those automatic leak sensors. You know, does it does it pay off? That's something that I'd like to see develop more.

I'm hopeful that we get that price down a little bit. I'd certainly be open to that. And I think there's an opportunity there for sure.

And it's not even the like the massive flood that it's going to prevent. It's going to be that that toilet just runs and cost adds up way more than that one massive flood that you have, you know, so if I could get those leak sensors that, you know, sense the flow of water that's unusual or constant and shuts off that fixture or shuts off the water supply, that would be really right now.

[Adrian] (35:38 - 35:56) Mike, in terms of prop tech, that's been designed for maintenance, specifically, what are some products that you know, you sell there to stand out for you that really help improving the maintenance process that makes make our maintenance technicians lives easier.

[Mike] (35:56 - 40:28) You know, we use an inspection software, our maintenance associates all that I've had, you know, that's something that I'm pretty passionate about. I think that in an adjustment that's a learning curve for a lot of people, a lot of maintenance associates, and sometimes my parents don't want to carry that with me, which is something else that I need to do, you know, trying to change that mindset to, to really show the why and how valuable that is. And, you know, I started at a time when we had paper inspection documents, we went through and you had a different paper doc for every unit that you went into, and you did and then you filed away somewhere and you never looked at it again.

One of the things that we've rolled out is that inspection software is so helpful, you can document things right then and there, they're stored in the cloud, you can always go back and refer to them, you can really track completion and compliance across a large portfolio rather easily. So that is, you know, I think there's a number of different inspection platforms out there, and mobile maintenance devices that maintenance teams use, but I think that is one that we've done, that I'm very passionate about, and I think it's extremely valuable. I know there's a lot of people who still haven't gone down that road yet, but that is very important.

There's a lot yet to come in terms of AI, and I think what, you know, what, what that will be for maintenance, I'm kind of excited about it. You know, one thing that I've, I've always been very interested in is kind of the virtual reality needs its training, which I think is very cool. We didn't do it, we haven't done it, but I think it's, I think it's a very interesting way to learn.

People today play video games and are doing that thing and gamifying, I think that's an interesting way to learn maintenance. So I think there's a lot of cool things out there. I approach prop tech, though, very cautiously.

So when I was new in the business, I was like, oh, this is, you know, I was, I would go to these trade shows and learn about all the different new features that are out there. And I come back with a list of things, oh, we need to do this, we need to do this. And we've seen this whole industry created in our industry, right?

So what's the new, the new product? What's the latest and greatest? And, you know, I come to realize, like, what's involved in successfully rolling out a new piece of prop tech is very, very, there's a lot involved.

There's a lot of resources with training, you know, training the use of the technology and implementing it, and how does it work with our existing platforms, and all of those things. And by the time you might get it implemented, it's there's something new, right? So I approach it very cautiously.

And at the end of the day, I mean, we really go slow with how we implement new technology, we do very regular beta tests, we really look at it, is it going to work, we don't want to roll something up, never mind, scrap it, we want to be very, very sure on what we what we roll out. And, you know, in today's day and age, like those products change so quickly. So by the time that we actually go through our process, there's probably something new.

So we, and I'm grateful for our team, you know, we have our vice president of operations really was instrumental in how we kind of pump the brakes on this because it was getting out of control. We have to try this, we have to try this, you know, to truly execute on what we're trying to do is rent, lease apartments, maintain apartments, you got to be focused on that, not just trying to roll off the new technology or new initiative. I approach PropTech very cautiously, I think there's some really cool products, I definitely think you have to be open to innovation, I think maintenance associates need to be open to adopting technology.

So there's a lot of people, you know, in the industry that I've come across who are reluctant to, they don't want to check their email, they don't want to log on to their computer, they say, I'm here, work orders in the office, and I go out to my job, where you live in a day and age, they say those things, and they do those things while they still have a smartphone. So I know they know how to operate technology, you have to be open to technology and innovation, we're going to be left behind. And if you want to want to grow in this industry, you have to adapt.

So I think there's a time and a place for technology. I am just not the guy who's at the trade show every year looking for the latest and greatest.

[Adrian] (40:28 - 40:37) Mike, amazing conversation. Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day today to be here with us. I'd like to get some final thoughts from you.

[Mike] (40:37 - 42:07) We talk about these things, I appreciate the opportunity to be on here, you know, I've listened to a couple other guests, whether people want to admit it or not, we're all in the same business, nobody's doing, we're all fighting the same battle, we're all trying to solve the same problem. And I think I approach it like I approach collaboration and honesty, like I'm not going to sit here and say I know more than anybody else, or our company does it better than anybody else. I think, you know, just as I've shared here, I think we all have a lot to learn, continue to learn, I think the more open we are, the more willing we are to collaborate, the better.

And I think there's a lot of people who are saying, oh, we have our company is proprietary, like we don't care, we don't talk about it, because we don't want to let the secret out. I think that what you're doing this platform or people to talk and share ideas and collaboration, get to know one another and talk about and promote our industry is all good. So I mean, I think I appreciate your time here.

And I think the more we do this, the better. Some of the best and most impactful meetings I've had is with other peers of mine and other companies, just just being hey, being honest, we're fighting the same battles. How are you doing it?

And, you know, just simple takeaways that help us. And, you know, I think the more people that are open to talk and share and share those ideas and participate in these types of things that are not only for their organizations, but for our industry as a whole.

[Adrian] (42:08 - 42:15) Thank you. I appreciate your kind words, Mike. How can our audience get ahold of you if they want to get in touch with you?

Search me on LinkedIn.

[Mike] (42:15 - 42:59) Send me a message. I mean, you email me. I'm happy to share contact information.

You know, whoever watches this or I love that people reached out. I referenced my conversations I had early in my career. Like I still have those today.

So there's a maintenance guy out there. There's a someone, whoever. I'm happy to share my contact information with you if you want to share it in a poster.

However, share it and contact me or reach out to me on LinkedIn, whatever. I encourage people to do that because I think I got a lot of stories to share and, you know, I can provide whatever guidance I can. I'm interested to hear what others think.

[Adrian] (42:59 - 43:03) Joseph, your first podcast as a co-host, what are your thoughts?

[Joseph] (43:03 - 43:37) Ah, great conversation. And I appreciate the authenticity. When you talked about new technologies and evaluating them, it spoke to my heart when you said you have to evaluate the full scope of what's required.

And a lot of partners in our industry, they forget to talk about those hidden costs, like the time and labor to get your team members to adopt it. So that really resonated with me. Everyone listening, Mike said you could reach out to him.

So a wealth of knowledge and don't miss out on that opportunity, guys.

[Adrian] (43:37 - 44:03) Thank you both for being here today. I appreciate it. It was an amazing conversation.

For those of you out there that are watching us today, thank you for watching. Thank you for taking an hour out of your busy day. I'm Adrian Danila, your host.

This is Multifamily X podcast, Masters of Maintenance. This is a podcast powered by our friends from AppWork. We hope to see you back here soon.