George’s Lamentyen Dimension!

George’s Lamentyen Dimension!


“Thank You Jenny Hodge!” When I sat down to bare my business soul with you today, I knew the core message would be about change; change for me, and change for everyone involved in landlease (nee manufactured home) community ownership and management. For me, the following paragraphs are at first, a lament; then change, to a yen (a yearning) for the future. For you? Well, read and decide, if and how you want to be involved in change being planned and effected – as to with and by whom, we’ll soon experience research and dissemination of our asset class statistics, helpful information, even the perennial resources used to successfully run your landlease community business.

“Why Jenny Hodge?” Because she introduced me, a decade ago, to John P. Kotter’s Business Week bestseller, Leading Change. In it are apropos quotes, and an Eight Stage Change Process applicable to what’s occurring in the way we serve the data, information, education, networking, and deal – making needs of landlease community owners/operators nationwide. Just what change are we talking about here? Specifically,

Since 1980, when GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing was founded, we’ve functioned by default, as ‘a small, for – profit, national trade association’ (i.e. ‘No one else would do it!’), providing valuable services: data & information collection & dissemination, professional property management education & certification, as well as superb networking & deal – making opportunities for landlease community owners/operators nationwide, including Canada. Other than helping found the short – lived Industry Steering Committee predecessor to the National Communities Council (now division) of the Manufactured Housing Institute, we’ve had little to do with political and regulatory advocacy relative to our unique, income – producing property type. Now, everything described in the first sentence of this paragraph is undergoing change – due in part, to the drying up of supplemental funding from landlease community portfolio owners, and my desire to eventually retire. But retirement won’t occur before ensuring the above – identified services are funded, reorganized, and progressing as a national, not for profit coalition of landlease community owners/operators of all sizes, as well as interested realty academics, and specialty consultants. Hence the gist of this week’s blog posting about change.

Early in Leading Change, the author describes “Employees in large, older firms (e.g. George Allen & 30 year old GFA Management, Inc.) often have difficulty getting a transformation process started because of the lack of leadership, coupled with arrogance, insularity, and bureaucracy.” P. 29 That’s certainly true of me! I’ve been comfortable as ‘leader of one’ and frankly, unwilling to face change I knew would come; arrogant in the knowledge we were the only firm possessing the bulk of landlease community data and knowledge; insular (remote) tucked away in offices in semi – rural Indiana; and in my experience, often at bureaucratic odds with one or another trade group who didn’t appreciate our firm serving the information, education, networking, and deal – making needs of 500+/- landlease community portfolio owners/operators nationwide, during the past three decades.

How is this anticipated change to occur, and possibly appear, along the way? Well, the author, John P. Kotter identifies eight “…steps to producing successful change, of any magnitude, in organizations.” P.21. They are, with brief personal commentary:

Establishing a sense of urgency. “I can not & will not fund these services alone for long!”

Creating the Guiding Coalition. “That’s where we are today! Want to come aboard?”

Developing a vision and strategy. “Remember how we did this with the ISC in 1993?”

Communicating the change vision. “You’re reading it NOW, with more details to come!”

Empowering broad – based action. “ Yes, we’ll overcome obstacles & take some risks!”

Generating short – term wins. “Ah, that’s the exciting part. So much we can accomplish!”

Consolidating gains & producing more change. “Once this change vehicle is moving….”

Anchoring new approaches in the culture. “Finally, opportunity to improve our image!”

Change doesn’t get any more exciting than what’s being planned for the landlease community real estate asset class! The Good News is, the change has started. To keep abreast of it, read the Allen Letter professional journal each month. To subscribe, reach me via or MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also (417) 346-7156. The Bad News? Can’t think of any – unless change doesn’t take place! At that point, the worst case scenario – for all of us, would occur if I, figuratively speaking, ‘pulled the plug’ and retired. At that point, there simply wouldn’t be any further landlease community operating data & information collection & dissemination, professional property management education & certification, weekly and monthly print and online communication among peers, nor superb interpersonal networking & unique deal – making opportunities, throughout North America, until another entity comes along.

With a parting word of sincere appreciation to Jenny Hodge, for bringing Leading Change to my attention a decade ago, here’s the final paragraph from Kotter’s book:

“…people who are making an effort to embrace the future are a happier lot than those who are clinging to the past. That is not to say that learning how to become a part of the twenty – first – century enterprise is easy. But people who are attempting to grow, to become more comfortable with change, to develop leadership skills – these men and women are typically driven by a sense that they are doing what is right for themselves, their families, and their organizations. That sense of purpose spurs them on and inspires them during rough periods.” P.186. With that said, it is indeed the time for us, as landlease community owners/operators, to embrace the future, and do what is right for our business interests going forward!

By now you likely understand my taking poetic license with ‘George’s lament for the present, and yen for the future’; combining those words into a ‘lamentyen dimension’ for the months, even years ahead. So, will you and your landlease community(ies) be part of this unfolding change process?

“And finally, just who is Jenny Hodge?” Most manufactured housing industry folk fondly recall her from the years she spent on the corporate staff of American Modern Insurance. Well today, she’s vice president of marketing for American Integrity Insurance Group in Tampa, FL. Many of us got to visit with her this Spring at MHI’s annual Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas, NV.


As you know, we have a busy Summer ahead. I missed attending FEMA’s Small Footprint HUD Temporary Housing Unit (THU) Industry Day on June 7th, because, frankly, GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, couldn’t spare the $1,000.00 it would have taken for the flight, airport parking, hotel room, transportation, and meals in downtown Washington, DC. As a sad result, the 50,000 landlease community asset class was not represented by an owner/operator (That I’ve heard about to date), in a meeting where we could easily have made knowledge of vacant rental homesites known (per MHI’s CAS Program), for use in the time of need for emergency housing resources. A missed opportunity indeed; and, one more reason, why the change described in part I of this week’s blog is both necessary and progressing. Understand about 50 participants attended FEMA’s Small Footprint HUD Temporary Housing Unit (THU) Industry Day.

Try not to miss the Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) class scheduled for 20 July in Horseshead, New York, hosted by the NYHA. This one day ($250.00) professional property management training and certification class (program) has already designated nearly 1,000 MHMs, during the past ten years, who now own and operate landlease communities throughout North America. To register, phone Nancy Geer @ (518) 867-3242. What do you get, besides practical property management training by a CPM® member of the Institute of Real Estate Management® and landlease community owner? Copy of Landlease Community Management, monograph of contemporary manufactured housing industry readings, and a gold MHM pin and MHM certificate. If you own or manage one or more landlease communities, you owe it to yourself to attend and become certified!

Then there’s 1 August 2011. About 400 MHIndustry & RVIndustry aficionados will gather late afternoon that day, for a reception, followed by a Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, at the beautiful RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Museum & Library facility in Elkhart, IN. Several MHIndustry folk will be inducted this year, from manufacturing and landlease community segments of the MHBusiness. By the way, a golf tournament is also scheduled earlier the same afternoon. Want to attend? Phone (800) 378-8694 or (574) 293-2344 for information. And if you’re a landlease community owner/operator and want to participate in one or both private networking opportunities after the induction ceremony, phone Dennis Ohnstad @ (217) 493-0083 or via

And finally, there’s the Triple Anniversary Networking Roundtable, 14 – 16 September 2011, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa on the western edge of San Antonio, TX. For a trifold brochure listing the nearly two dozen exciting topics and terrific presenters scheduled, phone the above – referenced MHIndustry HOTLINE or (317) 346-7156 and request it. This year, we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Manufactured Housing Institute, 20th anniversary of the International Networking Roundtable, and 15th anniversary of MHI’s National Communities Council division. Also contemplating one or more Community Series Homes to be on display during the networking roundtable venue. Plan to attend!


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published