What It’s Like to Leave…
Blog Posting # 642 @ 11 June 2021: EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’
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INTRODUCTION: In case you haven’t yet heard, I’m easing towards retirement come the end of year 2021. I’m already semi-retired, having sold off our last land lease community to our daughter and her business partner; and now they handle the publication of our 30+ year newsletter, a dozen resource documents, and books. Bottom line, so to speak? The final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration combined event is scheduled for 12 August 2021 at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. Invitations will soon be in the mail, but since this somewhat unusual event is open to all my friends and associates in manufactured housing and owning/operating land lease communities, visit www.educatemhc.com for details and registration information. It appears the 12 August event will be the first face-to-face interpersonal networking and educational event for our industry and realty asset class in 1 ½ years! Program? Soon to be announced, but has 100% to do with the most significant and positive emerging trend affecting all of us today! Even if I wasn’t hosting this event, along with Susan McCarty, MHM, and Erin Smith, MHM, I’d make it a high priority to attend.
What It’s Like to Leave…
‘The way I see it, I’m giving up a good thing – my business career, to pursue something even better – opportunities to write what I’ve wanted to for years, and relax while I’m doing so.’ GFA
Five times I’ve left jobs during the past 40 plus years, but this time has been different.
When rotating out of Vietnam, headed home to the land of the ‘big PX’ (i.e. post exchange or mall stores), I said ‘Good-bye’ to no one. While I was company commander, with responsibility for more than 100 Marines, they were all assigned out as helicopter support teams, to USMC ‘grunt’ (i.e. infantry) units scattered throughout I-Corps (i.e. northernmost Vietnam along the DMZ to the north and Ho Chi Minh trail and Laos to the west). I simply packed my gear, climbed aboard a transport chopper, and headed for Da Nang; then, by plane, to Okinawa and on home.
My first civilian job was with Ridge Homes, a division of Evans Products, in Conshohocken, PA. When I left in 1972 to relocate to Franklin, IN., to open a new pre-fab plant, my lumber yard truck loading crew hosted an after-work going-away party for me in the tool room. When asked to make a few parting remarks, I commented on how I was pleased to have been their boss for a year, with no disciplinary issues or worse. It was then I learned, the only other veteran on the crew had spread a tale about me being handy with a knife (i.e. we all carried big jack knives, for cutting ropes when loading flatbed trailers) – having seen me stab and kill an enemy combatant in Vietnam. (Not true) No wonder they didn’t want to cross me! But we parted in good rapport!
A year later, when the early 1970s Arab oil crisis closed the new plant, I started to work for Davidson Industries in Southport, IN., as head of the wall panel, truss, and mill shops. Learned a lot about factory-built housing there, but could not get along with my superior, who viewed me as competing for his COO job. So I left on less than congenial terms. He died a couple years later
Then worked two years as general manager of Tuchman Cleaners in Indianapolis. Soon realized this family firm held limited opportunity for me in the future, so I resigned, to begin work as a property manager trainee at Turtle Creek Management. That’s where I learned the (then) ‘mobile home park’ business. And when that firm sold its’ four communities I went with the acquiring firm for a brief period of time. Why brief? Well, that’s another story in itself; suffice it to say here, GEF Communities ‘bought a pig in a poke’ (i.e. ‘something bought without knowledge of its’ true value’), thanks to erroneous financial due diligence on the buyer’s part.
I was fired, and ten years later, GEF’s owner murdered a dozen attorneys and clients in downtown San Francisco before committing suicide. For full tale, read SWAN SONG or email GFA7156@aol.com and request a copy of ‘An Error to Die For’. Be sure, though, to include a postal mailing address for the reprint. And the book is available via www.educatemhc.com
That was my last job, ending mid-1979. By early 1980, Carolyn and I had founded GFA Management, Inc., and were managing – as she was wont to say: “Anything that didn’t move!” Now, that’s a novel but accurate definition of real estate property management. And it’s from ‘this job’ that I’m retiring, 40 years later. Carolyn too.
What’s it like to leave? Mixed feelings for sure. I don’t miss the daily and weekly pressures of problem-solving at our properties, or those owned by others. But I do miss, already – and in part due to the pandemic, the camaraderie of businessmen and women in manufactured housing and land lease communities. Hopefully the final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration on 12 August 2021 will assuage those sentiments somewhat. Will I see you there? Again, if interested, visit www.educatemhc.com for information and to register.
Has there been Life Lessons Learned, on this latter job, during the past 40 plus years? Yes, for sure! Property management is a great way to ease into ownership of income-producing properties! Investment realty, when bought and managed ‘right’ is a stable and profitable business venture. Management consulting, however, is not as easy as many folk think. I’ve yet to meet the retiree who successfully (and profitably) engaged in the practice for even a year. Me? I long ago committed my ‘lessons learned’ to the final chapter in the Chapbook of Business & Management Wisdom; it’s titled: ‘Scintillatingly Salient-but-Salacious Secrets that Might Lead to Management Consulting Success on the National Level – but don’t count on it!’ This book too is available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com or email me for details.
And did I mention, Carolyn and I now care for, two days a week, our month old and newest great grandchild, Emerson Junia Meek? Another ‘benie’ of retirement! Does her middle name intrigue you? Then pick up a Bible and read Romans 16:7 to learn about the first female apostle.
Don’t forget! Let’s enjoy a good and educational time together on 12 August in Nashville, TN!
George Allen, CPM, MHM