Condo Media - April 2018 - 64

Ask a Busy Person
Community association management wasn't your first career. How
did you get there? I started out as
an electrical engineer, building satellites and designing rockets. I always
liked mechanical things, and that
seemed a good fit for me. I learned a
lot about computers doing that work,
and in the early 80s, a friend recruited
me for a data processing position with
a bank that was undertaking a major
computer conversion. They offered a
good salary, which I needed because
I was married, starting a family, and
buying a house. I worked at the bank
and enjoyed it for about seven years,
but then the savings and loan industry
imploded, the bank was closed, and I
was out of a job. My expertise was in
mainframes, but it was a PC world by
then and I'd become a dinosaur. I decided after a couple of nasty interviews
that I'd retire and focus on managing
my own investments and my own property. I'd been acquiring real estate for
several years and subsequently bought
a condominium in a 63-unit high-rise.
I served several terms on its board, and
that piqued my interest in association
management.
What did you enjoy most about that
work? Engineers are detail-oriented; everything has to be just so. And
that's true of condominium management. I enjoyed doing everything the
manager of a small property has
to do-dealing with people,
collecting funds, paying
bills, and repairing
things. I'd run a small
construction company
for a while, and I got to
use those skills, too.
What did you find most frustrating? Dealing with the blunders the
architect and developer had made.
The building I managed sits on the
side of a river and it is five feet below
grade. Every time it rained heavily,
the ground floor units would flood,
and the owners would be all over me,

64

CONDOMEDIA

challenging, and it was fun for me,
but 10 years of it was enough.
What would it surprise people to
know about you? I look like a tough
guy on the surface, but inside, I'm really
a softy.

ANDY COSTA
RETIRED CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION
MANAGER, LONG-TIME CAI-NE VOLUNTEER
asking what I was going to do about
it. The answer was: I couldn't do anything to stop the flooding.
You've served several terms on the
CAI-NE board, chaired the Managers' Roundtable Forum, participated
in several other committees, and you
were selected as manager of the year
in 2008. How did you get involved
in the association and why have you
remained active? After I bought the
condominium unit, I wanted to learn as
much as I could about condominiums.
A friend introduced me to CAI. I attended a few programs, started reading
Condo Media, and I was hooked. The
more I learned, the more interested I
became. I absolutely fell in love with
the whole condominium thing.
What does it take to be a successful
association manager? Very broad
shoulders and very thick skin. You're
dealing with dozens of people with
different problems, who all think their
problem is the most important one.
They don't see the big picture; they only
see their piece of it and they take out
their frustrations on the manager. You
have to be able to take the abuse. That is

What's the best advice you ever got?
It goes back to when I was designing
satellites. I got frustrated with what
I thought was a mindless rule and
mouthed off to the senior physicist in
charge of the project. It almost got me
fired. My direct supervisor took me aside
and told me to put my fist in a pail of
water and then pull it out. "Do you see a
hole where your fist was? No, you don't,"
he said. "And that's how indispensable
you are. There will be no gap in this
operation if you leave it."
What advice would you give managers starting out in the field? I'd tell
them to listen, and I'd put that in capital
letters. You can't solve a problem unless
you understand it from the perspective
of the people affected by it.
What advice would you give incoming
board members? I'd give this advice
not just to board members but to all condominium owners: Join CAI first and
read at least two years of Condo Media
back issues before you buy, so you'll understand what condominium ownership
is all about. Most buyers don't.
Now that you've officially retired from
condominium management, are you
planning yet another career? No.
I have no regrets and no unfinished business. Professionally, I've achieved all I
wanted to achieve. Personally,
my biggest achievement
was having the gastric
bypass surgery that
enabled me to lose
175 pounds. That
absolutely changed
my life-but it didn't
make me a good
dancer.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - April 2018

Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB1
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - 2
Condo Media - April 2018 - 3
Condo Media - April 2018 - 4
Condo Media - April 2018 - 5
Condo Media - April 2018 - 6
Condo Media - April 2018 - 7
Condo Media - April 2018 - 8
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Condo Media - April 2018 - 64
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover4
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