As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us.
Lou Gargiulo, CMCA, is the CEO & Founder of Great North Property Management, Inc., serving the New England Region. Lou reflects on how condominium living has changed drastically over the past 25 years. He states, “The associations’ by-laws and rules and regulations have either become outdated and difficult to apply to today’s standards or are so overtly complicated, it’s hard to manage without legal advice.” Lou earned the CMCA credential to help navigate these changes and challenges that he was experiencing in an evolving and growing industry, and feels he is a better manager as a result.
Said Lou, “The CMCA credential recognizes individuals who have successfully demonstrated the core knowledge, skills and abilities required to manage a community association; this is very important when addressing Board members and can elevate a company’s employees from a sea of management companies competing for the same business.”
“Earning the CMCA credential, and taking advantage of the networking opportunities CAI offers, has certainly propelled my career forward,” adds Lou. Over the years, Lou has had the opportunity to meet with, and learn from, numerous subject matter experts on the many facets of community association management while serving on various committees and subcommittees focusing on different aspects of the business. Because of these opportunities, Lou was able to grow his business from 10 associations to over 350 associations operating in four New England states. “Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to provide employment, training, and a great livelihood to countless team members,” said Lou.
One of Lou’s favorite aspects of professional community association management is the constant changes taking place in association living. He embraces change and the consistency of constant change. In fact, one of his favorite quotes from Heraclitus is, “The only constant in life is change.”
Lou goes on to explain, “I always concentrate on what I can control and accept change as a new beginning to a stagnating method of operations, no matter how small the change may be. When faced with a major change I seek out people who can teach me, then I adopt those who I can teach. Once the excitement of change has been embraced, the rest falls into place quickly; people want to be on the right side, so they willingly accept the change and the new set of processes.”
Based on years of experience, Lou offers four key pieces of advice for new or less experienced managers:
- Good organization and communication skills are extremely important as a community association manager – hone those skills.
- Be empathetic. When you’re dealing with a difficult person, know they are likely frustrated with their own issues or problems; it’s not necessarily you. Try to find out what’s happening in their life that’s making them unhappy, sometimes it can be a heartbreaking discovery.