Chad Moulin – GK Management Co. Inc.
From the time he was working as a groundskeeper at an apartment community fresh out of high school, Chad Moulin knew his roots would be in property management.
A few decades and states away from those beginnings, the senior director of facilities for GK Management Co. Inc., has learned a lot about taking care of residential properties, including the kitchen sink (how to install or fix it).
For about 2 1/2 years, Moulin’s been helping GK transition to its second generation of leadership by transforming its facilities operations. He does not pretend to know it all, but he’s sure about what he does know.
“I had people who never ran a maintenance department telling me how to run a maintenance department,” Moulin says. “So, when I saw other ways of doing things, I started trying it.”
Pulling things together
Based in Culver City, California, and founded more than 60 years ago by Jona Goldrich and Sol Kest, GK has a portfolio of more than 125 residential properties. Most are in the Los Angeles area, but there are 23 properties in the San Francisco area, according to Moulin. The company also has a large portfolio of commercial, industrial and retail properties in 14 other states.
As GK embarks on its next generation of leadership, Moulin’s consolidating how it manages its properties from a maintenance perspective.
In January 2020, he completed merging the company’s construction services department with its facilities department. That, he says, will make it easier to prioritize projects, see how projects are progressing and eliminate redundant work.
“We’re doing things all good businesses should do, but in the multi-family industry, information does not always flow as well,” Moulin says. “I try to make sure everything is transparent as possible. So, I put it all under one umbrella for better communication which helps us focus on what needs to be done.”
Plenty of projects
It’s a hefty workload, too. In a year, Moulin says there may be 850 capital expenditure projects, which doesn’t include another 750 to 1,000 smaller interior projects and about 120 emergency repairs.
To address the service requests and show how workflow is organized, Moulin is rolling out (in phases) iPads using RealPage software created for property management.
It’s a collaborative effort—Moulin worked with GK’s information technology and training teams to add digital service request forms to the program. The tablets can track those service requests and response times, and maintenance staff can take a snapshot of the problem and resolution while getting a tenant to sign off when the work is done.
“For too many of us, it’s not real unless there is an actual service request,” he explains. “This can also help because facilities staff can document any issues they see if they are just visiting a property.”
Besides consolidating workflows, Moulin is creating more capital planning. As part of that, he’s helping to create a buying program for the appliances, materials and equipment needed for renovations, repairs and maintenance.
“If we bundle things, we have buying power,” Moulin says. “We need to leverage that. I want to work with certain types of quality vendors, maybe medium-sized, who are known for good local responsiveness. If we are buying in bulk, they’ll know we’re good customers and it can also help us with response times if we need parts or repairs.”
Making a list
For work his staff can’t do, Moulin also wants a simpler process for GK’s service vendors.
“We’ve started rebidding services every year or two,” he says of compiling lists of companies doing things such as testing fire alarms and sprinklers. Finding statewide vendors won’t always be possible, or needed, so long as the companies on master lists can provide quality comprehensive services within at least a portion of GK’s portfolio areas.
The master list for preferred vendors is another example of collaboration, says Moulin, who worked with GK’s finance and purchasing departments to put it together.
Once those vendors are on the master list, who gets called will be left to the discretion of the community managers.
“I want to have the properties involved in the execution of the projects because they’re already there and doing those things,” Moulin says. “It’s a little bit of a new way here, but it’s going to work. Happy and engaged employees give you better results.”
From an early age, Moulin’s been confident in his own abilities. Originally from Kansas City, his work in maintenance and facilities management brought him west, first to Kirkland, Washington, as the director of maintenance training for Weidner Apartment Homes. From there, he moved a long way south, from the Seattle area to Los Angeles, where in November 2017 he joined GK.
He’s not only worked in facilities management across the country, since 2012 Moulin has presented educational sessions for apartment associations across the U.S., including the National Apartment Association’s Apartmentalize Conference. He’s also a regular presenter for Multifamily Insiders’ Mastering Maintenance webinar series.
Life outside the office in Southern California can keep Moulin almost as busy as his workdays. He’s been married for 20 years, and his 11-year-old daughter is a skilled gymnast. Her meets can take up weekends from January through May, Moulin says, and when they’re done, the family travels.
“We really want our daughter to see the world, so we do take a lot of time for travel,” he says. A memorable recent trip took them to Venice, Florence and Rome on a two-week journey.
Moulin is an avid gamer. Madden Football and Destiny 2 top his list of favorites. The evolution of characters and new content added as the game progresses are why he enjoys Destiny 2. He’s just a flat-out football fan whose favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl in 2020 for the first time in 50 years.
His passion for football is matched, if not surpassed, by his passion for property management.
“I’m a property management maintenance nerd,” Moulin says. “I get excited when we find something new. I get excited when I think about all the things intertwined with doing this job. I get excited knowing that my team is here to support our properties.”
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