by David Humphrey / Published June 2015
Fifty-five million Americans live in developments overseen by community associations, and that number is continuing to rise. That’s one in every five homeowners who has the opportunity to have a say about the services and amenities provided within their neighborhood. It also means that 20 percent of all U.S. residents have the potential to get crossways with their HOA, causing conflict within the community, potential lawsuits, and possible negative media attention. A growing trend is seeing community and condominium associations electing to hire a community association management company to provide financial, management, communications, recordkeeping, and administrative services, in addition to advising and preparing the association’s board on potential issues and ways to avoid them.
With seven branches in Florida, more than 650 employees managing 600 community associations, and impacting close to 90,000 families, Associa has experience with countless HOA boards and the ability to train its community managers to handle almost any situation, not to mention plenty of expert advice to support associations on the road to success. David Humphrey is a team member with Associa Gulf Coast, serving southwest and central Florida. He’s been with Associa since 2010, and before that spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry overseeing the management of golf resorts and private clubs.
In January 2015, Humphrey was named chief operating officer for one of Associa’s largest accounts, one that had to be approached much differently than most. Tampa Bay Community Association, Inc., along with Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club, was looking for a company that could manage both its 1,500-home community and its golf and club facilities as well. Managing a community and a golf resort together creates a set of challenges not typically seen in a traditional community management situation. With Humphrey’s background, though, this was the perfect opportunity to utilize his skills and provide exactly what the customer was looking for. “This has opened up a whole new possibility for Associa Gulf Coast, since there are many ‘bundled’ communities like this that would greatly benefit from one management company encompassing the entire scope,” says Humphrey. “My particular expertise is in transitions from developer, and in turning around the fortunes of private clubs and golf courses,” he adds.
Not only did this new venture benefit Associa, but the country club and the community have benefited as well. “We were all new to this, as we had just been turned over from developer control to community control,” says Tampa Bay Community Association, Inc. President Hope Bond. “David and Associa have been great at steering us through the transition. David has a wealth of information and experience and has taken charge of every aspect of managing our HOA and club.” The mutual trust between the association board and the community manager played a key role in this instance, as new challenges were addressed and overcome along the way. “There were many obstacles with the turnover, and Associa has tackled every one head on,” recalls Bond. “For instance, we decided to install a new accounting system at turnover, and Associa has totally taken charge and has made the transition seamless.”
“The relationship has developed very positively,” continues Humphrey. “The membership has been very receptive to the proactive approach I have taken toward many issues. There will be many projects going forward and much to focus on in the coming years.”
David Humphrey, Team Member
Associa Gulf Coast
David Humphrey is a team member with Associa Gulf Coast, serving southwest and central Florida. Associa’s mission is to deliver unsurpassed management and lifestyle services to communities worldwide. It’s been in business for more than 35 years and has adopted the philosophy of meeting the unique needs and visions of clients around the world with customized services and solutions. In the state of Florida, there are seven Associa branches, with more than 650 employees managing 600 community associations and impacting close to 90,000 families. For more information, visit www.associaonline.com.
In the first two months, some changes have already started to take shape. The board has taken note of the improved morale of the service staff, which has resulted in better service and improved quality of food in the dining areas. The underutilized tennis courts were converted to pickleball, which has become popular, and a state-of the-art Wi-Fi system was installed in the clubhouse. The board is optimistic about a proposal for a new management structure and staff realignment more appropriate to its vision. “We have a strong vision for our community. We are making many changes, but change is good,” remarks Bond. “It means we are moving forward. We are excited about the future of our community and hope that Associa will be guiding us for a long time to come.” Adapting to the specialized needs of the Tampa Bay Community Association, Inc. has made the relationship work in this case and is the key to success with any association.
Both the community association and the community management company went into this together, not knowing the untapped potential for success. But a mutual understanding of each other’s roles combined with a common vision to enhance the lives of the community members helped them maximize the results. Bond has advice for other associations looking for direction. “It is very important for a community of any size to hire a great management company, which has the expertise in running the day-to-day operations of a community. A great management company will make sure you are in compliance with state statutes and enforce rules and policies set by the board, which takes the personal aspect of being a board member and having to enforce a rule with your friends and neighbors. Board members don’t have the expertise to run a multi-million dollar business without the help of a good management company like Associa.”