Would you get tips on community association management from a high school drop out? What if the tips came from Bart Park, the 51-year-old Chairman of CCMC, a unique firm that manages some of the nation’s most talked-about master-planned communities? No difference: Park, who never finished secondary school, overturns your stereotypes of a corporate Chairman and wants to upend every preconceived notion you have about homeowners associations.
“I hate the stereotypical homeowners association,” Bart confesses. “I find them hidebound, dogmatic, draconian, and all about the rules – classic property management. Rather, community management is about understanding people.” Bart says. “People are nice. And the more you can get them connected to each other and their neighborhood, the better your communities and the more property values go up. At CCMC, we practice community association management.”
So he advises HOAs to stop nitpicking about covenant violations and focus on creating ways for people to bond with their neighbors. CCMC does this by organizing daddy-daughter dances, family movie nights, neighborhood clubs, 5K runs, community service projects and sports leagues. “The tangential benefit is that you don’t have to enforce the rules because people do it on their own,” Bart adds.
From Chlorine to Corporate Chieftain
Bart, who calls himself a “straight shooter,” dropped out of high school to work first as a lifeguard then an auto mechanic. He entered the industry as pool manager, then moved up to covenant enforcer; then community manager. He worked under mentors such as CCMC founder Ed Boudreau and David Gibbons, former Community Associations Institute (CAI) educator of the year. Today, his 600-employee company boasts a client roster that includes Celebration in Orlando, Florida; Las Vegas’ Mountain’s Edge; and Dallas’ Craig Ranch and Heartland.
The Golden Rule
His basic management philosophy is: treat others as you’d like to be treated. But what happens when others want to zap a resident for too-tall weeds, or a boat in the drive way? Isn’t conflict inevitable? First, take the time to educate homeowners, Bart says, because most don’t know they’ve done something wrong. Second, help them find the solution – be it through a 5 percent-off coupon from the closest boat storage, or a tip on where to get help. And never, ever send out a covenant violation letter on a Wednesday, so it lands in the homeowners mailbox on Friday at 5:03 pm. That gives the recipient all weekend to stew over it, and call you Monday morning in a fury. Although conflict may occur, our goal is to help every homeowner find a positive solution to every issue.”
“Many people perceive this business as a paper business. It’s not,” Bart concludes. “It’s a people business. When you treat people the way they want to be treated, it just works.”