ACM News and Accomplishments
The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland has selected ACM President and CEO Theresa McCoy as a member of its prestigious board.
Following interviews and candidate selection, the board unanimously approved eight new members, including President and CEO McCoy at its annual meeting in September.
McCoy says she sought this opportunity to highlight her commitment to provide the highest-level of service and support to ACM’s customers, vendors and partners.
“As the new owner of ACM, I am committed to integrity, service and supporting the homeowner associations that we manage,” McCoy says. “I want our customers to know that I am a loyal ally who will listen to their needs and concerns. Being on the board is one way to show this commitment.”
Board members are voluntary representatives from the Greater Maryland community of Accredited Businesses. They are committed to upholding the core values of BBB, operating in accordance with BBB’s Code of Business Practices. Board members serve one three-year term and are eligible to renew for a second term.
McCoy says she is honored to serve on the board.
“I hold the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland in the highest regard and am looking forward to working with such a talented group of individuals.”
McCoy adds that she will serve on the finance and compliance committees and has already proposed a mentorship program between experienced and novice business owners to promote success in today’s changing economic times.
Read more about the Better Business Bureau.
ACM Completes Fidelity Bond Review for All Communities
Protecting your property against possible fraudulent acts by staff, board members or others might not be the most pleasant task, but it could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars if the unthinkable happens.
That’s why ACM took the proactive step to conduct a review of its communities to ensure they each had adequate protection in the form of a fidelity bond. Fidelity bond coverage is a form of insurance protection that covers losses that an association could incur from a dishonest or fraudulent act carried out by a board member or an employee.
Having adequate fidelity insurance in place:
Charlene Pindell, vice president of community operations for ACM’s greater Baltimore division, says fidelity coverage should cover an association’s assets, its employees and its managing agent.
“We believe that it is important to take a proactive approach to ensure that our clients’ assets are fully protected and that they are aware of the coverage that they currently have as well as any changes needed to prevent deficiencies,” says Pindell.
Sheri Courtock, senior portfolio manager, led in the development of the tool used to collect and organize the information ACM needed to conduct the review process. Courtock explains that the process required extensive research by its team to determine the levels of each property's bank accounts, reserves, money markets and quarterly/monthly dues revenues. However, she noted it was well worth the effort.
“By taking the extra steps to review each of our client’s current coverage and asset levels, and discussing any shortfalls with the board of directors, we were able to make sure that every client obtained appropriate levels of coverage required by Maryland law,” says Courtock.
The fidelity coverage review is just one of the many services offered by ACM to help its clients meet their legal obligations and preserve their assets.
McCoy: Staff, Leadership Will Find Success During Crisis
M&T 3Q Business Owner's Outlook Panel
President and CEO Theresa McCoy discussed the challenges and unexpected opportunities of the pandemic on businesses during a recent virtual webinar sponsored by M&T Bank.
McCoy was one of five local business leaders who participated in M&T’s 3Q Business Owners Outlook panel discussion that looked at how businesses are reacting to the most important economic and social issues facing the country. During the webinar, McCoy shared her thoughts on the pandemic’s impact on businesses and how she believes it will be a test of leadership.
“The best leaders will rise to the top and help their businesses to position themselves to not only survive but thrive under the new normal,” she said. “A year from now, we are going to be talking about our successes and how we came out better and stronger.”
She added that employees will play a key role in this success. “The crème will come to the top, and these are the staff members who will help their employers think about how to pivot and listen to the changing demands of their clients. They will help identify new streams of income so that businesses are offering new services that weren’t in demand a year ago.”
Read more about the business owners outlook in this report and watch the videos of Theresa and the other featured speakers.
ACM is Growing and Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You
ACM has welcomed 20 new communities so far this year. CEO and President Theresa McCoy says ACM is excited to welcome these communities to the ACM family and is committed to providing the outstanding quality and care for these new properties that its more than 200 other properties expect from ACM.
ACM has signed its first community in Washington, D.C. In addition, ACM is now licensed in Virginia to operate as a management company, which means it will be able to sign up new communities throughout the commonwealth.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our new client referral program. Navigate to https://www.communitymanagers.net/referrals.html and enter your community name and contact. If your referral signs up with us, ACM will send you a $500 gift card.
ACM Team Spotlight
Building Dream Teams that Deliver
ACM is building dream teams across its organization and taking its customer service to enviable new levels.
ACM adopted a new team approach in late 2018 that brings together staff who have complementary backgrounds and skills with the goal to deliver excellent, quality service to its clients. And based on results to date, that is exactly what the new approach has delivered. Since the launch of the new concept, ACM has provided faster customer service; formed stronger relationships with board and community members; and is on track to reduce manager turnover and preserve continuity.
Overall, ACM has four community management teams in place. Each team is comprised of a team lead; several community portfolio managers; an accounting analyst; assistant manager/administrator; and a facility manager.
ACM is different from other community management companies.
We have a specialized team that collaborates across the organization. Facility and Project Management Services serves as the liaison for property related needs and requests, to include contract negotiations for special projects, record keeping of all maintenance schedules, reserve studies and most importantly property safety inspections.
With this approach, ACM communities receive a team of individuals who are experts in their respective fields instead of one community manager expected to be a jack of all trades.
Lilibeth Maqui is a portfolio accounting analyst on ACM’s Financial Reporting Team, which also includes an accounting analyst; administrative support; a community manager and a team lead. Maqui says the team has 40 to 50 clients and that it services both full-service contracts and administrative/accounting contracts.
“The impact that the new team structure has had on my work is a quicker response and efficient communication of information that is necessary for the completion of each task,” Maqui says. “The fact that I know who on my team has the expertise to address certain areas of concern and that I can go directly to that person makes my tasks easier to manage.”
She adds that specialization, effective communication and an understanding of the common goal are key to the success of ACM’s team approach model.
“Knowing why we are doing what we are doing makes the how of doing any uncomfortable task comfortably productive,” she says. “And this sense of being productive immensely contributes to every employee’s healthy well-being.”
ACM, which is one of the few community management companies using this team approach model, is challenging the industry to use this model based on its success.
Team Lead Chris Carden agrees with Maqui.
“We can bounce ideas and problems off of each other and use our collective experiences to bring about solutions,” Carden says “We have used this in all areas—from solving problems for our homeowners or board members to addressing complex community projects.”
Zandria Tolentino, contract specialist, administrative and accounting, says the new team concept allows for efficient communications.
“We’re able to be a fairly close-knit group, despite not being able to physically be in close proximity,” she says. “We have weekly meetings to catch up with each other on a professional level as well as a personal check-in. We really do help each other out, and I feel as though we are really like a mini family.”
Rhoda Mancuso, senior community manager, stated “I think each person on our team has a different strength that allows us to bounce things off of each other effectively.”
She added, “when a team member needs to be out unexpectedly, we all pitch in and do everything we can to make sure things run smoothly so the client doesn't suffer.”
ACM Moves from Union Bank to CIT
ACM is pleased to announce its partnership with Community Association Banking, a division of CIT. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, ACM will cease banking with Union Bank. A rolling migration transferring each ACM property to CAB is currently in progress and expected to take a few months. ACM will notify each community accordingly.
ACM staff will coordinate with vendors regarding any undeposited checks and provide timely notification to owners on recurring electronic payments with Union Bank. Clients will still be able to access ACM’s secure payment link via its online portal at www.acmhome.com.
President and CEO Theresa McCoy says all association accounts currently held in Union Bank will be migrated to CAB and reported in financial statements as usual. She says the switch from Union Bank to CAB is designed to enhance the online payment experience and financial reporting efficiency community members.
CAB offers best-in-banking services that are customized to fit the needs of community associations. She notes that the bank offers numerous benefits for ACM clients, including:
Another benefit of CIT beyond traditional banking services, however, is its understanding of ACM, its operations and properties. Theresa says CIT’s Noni Roan, vice president, regional account executive, and Matt Driscoll, director, regional sales manager, have done an amazing job helping ACM through the complicated process of switching banks and its many community association accounts.
Roan, who has known McCoy for several years, has also worked with several ACM communities and brings that knowledge and experience to the partnership.
“Banking is one of the most important relationships a company has as it touches every aspect of a business, and in ACM’s case, every single homeowner,” Roan says. “We want to be a trusted adviser for Theresa and ACM. We are so pleased to welcome ACM and its 200-plus homeowners.”
Matt Driscoll, director, regional sales manager, adds that CIT is excited to have an organization such as ACM as a customer.
“We are extremely excited to have an organization like ACM that is forward-thinking, progressive and trusts CIT with its banking services,” Driscoll says. “From a customer service perspective, we are eager to show the difference between ACM’s previous banking experience with what we have to offer at CIT.”
CIT is already off to a great start as McCoy says the team’s work to migrate ACM accounts has been “invaluable to us. CIT has made me and the ACM staff feel at home already. We know our homeowners are in good hands.”
Learn more about CIT's CIT's community association banking expertise and its awards.
Vendor Profile: Handteq
Can a data-collecting app make inspecting hundreds of properties exciting and fun? Perhaps not, but one powerful, custom-built app is helping ACM staff quickly and more efficiently inspect its more than 200 properties, saving time and money. And that is exciting for ACM and its vendor partner Handteq.
Based in Columbia, Maryland, Handteq (pronounced Hand tech) began providing customized mobile and web applications in 2010. President Aaron Altscher says Handteq works with each customer to determine its needs and uploads its pen-and-paper data (usually in an excel doc) to a customized, digital app marketed under that company’s name. Providing a “white-labeled,” customized app is what distinguishes Handteq’s app from others on the market, Altscher says.
“Other inspection services are not customized, and customers like that it is tailored and that the app runs under their name,” Altscher says. “Also, service is another differentiator. We are very hands on and have 10-years of knowledge. We understand the data behind the expectations.”
ACM was the first customer of this mobile app product, and in fact, was involved in its initial design. Altscher says Handteq initially talked with ACM about a different product that targeted apartment buildings and other multifamily space structures.
“We had had some success with that product, and our COO Kenny Clash showed it to ACM,” says Altscher. “Owner Mel Herzberger said ACM wouldn’t be a customer for that product but told us what he needed for ACM, and we designed the new app.”
And ACM staff have been using the app for nearly eight years. Heather Griffing, vice president of operations, says the mobile app gives ACM’s, community and facility management teams extra eyes and ears on its customers’ properties. “ACM’s goal is to provide the very best in community management and that means using the right tools,” she says. “The efficiency of the app is significant.”
For example, without the app, if ACM wanted to do a pool inspection of all its properties, staff would have to use a pen and paper, dropping the data into an excel spread sheet. With the app, ACM staff no longer use pen and paper in the field; they use their phones.
“By digitizing the process, ACM completes its inspections faster and more efficiently, which translates to better service for our customers,” she says.
Today, with an app that can fit into any scenario doing inspection with pencil, paper and spreadsheet, Handteq offers its customized product to companies working in retail, automotive and real estate. During the past 10 years, the company has branched out and now has local, regional and national companies using its app, including 7-Eleven stores, Foresight and PF Holdings.
Altscher says the three-person team that started Handteq are still together. CTO David Fields, who coded the app and handles other technical aspects; COO Kenny Clash, who handles customer service and day-to-day operations; and Aaron Altscher, who covers both the business and technical side.
“It’s unusual for a startup to last a decade and keep the same team,” says Altscher. “We are very proud of that.”
Local Business Spotlight: The Warthen Team
“Better together” is more than a slogan for ACM. In fact, building mutually beneficial relationships with businesses within its communities is a standard way of business for ACM. One recent partnership that is full of possibilities is with The Warthen Team in Frederick, Maryland.
Earlier this year, ACM secured its first full-service property in Frederick, Maryland. In her endeavor to learn the Frederick market, Theresa McCoy, CEO, discovered The Warthen Team, an experienced real estate firm licensed in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Warthen Team Agent Toni Halpert says having a well-established management company such as ACM servicing the Frederick area is great news for properties in the area.
“We have had quite a few issues with the lack of a reputable, reliable management company that we felt would take care of our referrals the same as we do for our buyers, sellers, renters and investors,” Halpert says. “That’s why we are so pleased to welcome ACM to our community as it has the same goals and commitment to customer service as The Warthen Team. We know ACM will do an outstanding job.”
ACM President and CEO Theresa McCoy and COO Heather Griffing is eager to collaborate with The Warthen Team’s experience and commitment as it will be invaluable as ACM expands its entry into the Frederick market.
A homeowner’s realtor is typically its first introduction to their community association. Working with knowledgeable professionals who ensure the prospective buyer receives their community documents and other disclosures is paramount to a good community living experience, says McCoy.
“It is such a pleasure working with Toni Halpert, Brittany Reaver and the rest of the staff,” McCoy says. “They made us feel welcome, and we are excited to further our partnership with them.”
Learn more about The Warthen Team and its staff and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
ACM: Board Seminars/Training Schedule
Virtual training seminars
ACM has temporarily discontinued its on-site education training seminars due to the pandemic. However, we plan to begin offering virtual training within the next quarter. Visit our website to sign up to receive alerts on dates and upcoming topics.
Covid-19 Safety Reminder
Face masks. Social distancing. Remote learning. These are part of the new normal. Yet, as we move into the 10th month of the pandemic and navigate the holidays season, many of us remain concerned about next steps and how to deal with the anxiety ongoing pandemic.
There are lots of tips here or you can google COVID-19 and stress, and you’ll find lots of resources. However, the best resources to turn to may be your very own county government.
Legislation enacted during the 2020 session of the Maryland General Assembly increased the amount for which an individual unit owner is responsible for the insurance deductible under the condominium’s master policy. The maximum had been capped at $5,000; under the new law, it is now capped at $10,000.
ACM sent a letter out to the board of all of its associations with this information, advising them to consider this change as they review their Master Condo Policy.
Building Our Network
ACM is expanding—and looking to grow its network of vendors.
Visit our website to learn more about ACM and the value we place on forming strong partnerships with clients, homeowners and vendors alike. If you believe that we can make each other even better, please tell us about yourself by completing this form.
And if you’re interested in promotional opportunities with ACM, visit our vendor page for more information.
We look forward to hearing from you and adding your business to our roster of trusted partners.
How To Win A $500 Gift Card
Find about how you can win a $500 gift card for a successful client referral incentive. Go to our website and enter your community name and contact. If your referral signs up with us, ACM will send you a $500 gift card.
3 Ways The Better Business Bureau Helps Homeowners
Whether you’re preparing for a long-term renovation project or dealing with a real-time plumbing emergency, BBB has homeowners covered. On BBB.org, you can read tips for hiring a trustworthy contractor, finding local professionals and narrowing your search results to only include the most reliable local businesses.
And if you’re ready to sell your house and move to a new location, you can even find a trustworthy realty agency. If you want to get the most value out of the money you spend, visit BBB.org to connect with better businesses.
ACM Cares Holiday Giving!
ACM has made a contribution to Operation Warm, a program of The Rotary Club of Hunt Valley to provide new coats to children in need.
Prince George's County Educators' Association
ACM’s will make a contribution to families in need by way of the Prince George's County Educators' Association to include donating food, toiletries, toys and clothing.
Thomasine Parrott Food Pantry
ACM vice president, Charlene Pindell and family are dedicated community supporters. The Thomasine Parrott Food Pantry, named in honor of her sister, secured a grant from the Maryland Food Bank to provide much needed support to children in need at the Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School located in Baltimore MD. Charlene's family has provided personal time and resources for many years.
In the spirit of the season and in spite of this year’s many challenges:
Reflect, Breathe & Give Thanks
Contributed by Odell Moon, Director of Community Operations, ACM Greater Washington
As we close the door on 2020, let's take a moment to reflect, breathe and give thanks. We are all well aware that 2020 has been a year of personal and professional challenges for everyone as we all have been touched in some way. For example, both our personal and our professional lives have been impacted by living the new normal including social distancing and thriving in Zoom Nation.
With our economy in such a fragile state with layoffs and shutdowns, it's not ironic that our livelihood at ACM has not been drastically affected. This is not a coincidence...this is a reflection of our loyal customers, teamwork and an unwavering desire from leadership to work together and find innovative ways to ensure that no team member is directly affected during these trying times.
So, as you move through hallways and workspaces, please take a moment to Reflect, Breathe and Give Thanks for there are many things to be thankful for that we all take for granted.
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