Case Studies

Justin Bauch – Leisure World 

Navigating modernization in a retirement oasis 

Modernizing active adult communities is of utmost importance as it ensures that these communities remain relevant and appealing to residents’ changing preferences and expectations. With advancements in technology, the shifting demographics of the aging population and a desire for more active and social lifestyles, it is crucial to adapt and upgrade these communities to meet these demands.  

Justin Bauch | Director of Facilities | Leisure World 

Justin Bauch | Director of Facilities | Leisure World

Residents can enjoy a vibrant and engaging lifestyle by incorporating modern amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, and social gathering spaces. Additionally, modernization efforts can include implementing smart home technology, health and wellness programs, and convenient services to enhance residents’ quality of life. By embracing modernization, active adult communities can create an environment that fosters social connection, promotes health and wellness, and meets the evolving needs of its residents, ensuring these communities remain desirable and enjoyable places to live. 

Working to improve residents’ lives is all part of the job for Justin Bauch, the director of facilities for Leisure World in Mesa, Arizona. There, Bauch strikes the intricate balance of maintaining and modernizing a city within a city, catering specifically to the 55-and-older community.  

Situated on 1,000 acres about 30 miles from downtown Phoenix, Leisure World offers various amenities, including two private golf courses, 16 pickleball courts, 150,000 square feet of recreation buildings, and more. With 143 employees at full capacity, the community houses around 2,664 homes, accommodating approximately 6,000 residents. Bauch’s role involves managing in-house housekeeping and facilities, ensuring the seamless functioning of the entire infrastructure. 

“I take pride in maintaining the heartbeat of our vibrant community. From robust infrastructure to state-of-the-art amenities, we focus on ensuring a thriving and seamless environment for our residents to enjoy their golden years,” Bauch says. 

Overseeing transformation 

Having assumed his role about two and a half years ago, Bauch oversaw the significant challenge of upgrading an infrastructure nearly half a century old. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Leisure World this past year, Bauch initiated ambitious projects, including replacing plumbing and electrical systems, resurfacing 26 miles of road, and reconstructing 52 miles of sidewalks. The scale of the undertaking is enormous, with a budget of millions allocated for yearly drainage, roofing, painting, and various other projects. Balancing these demands requires meticulous planning, and Bauch appreciates the work his team puts in to complete these projects. 

Justin Bauch | Director of Facilities | Leisure World 

“I have a fantastic team with years of experience working at LW. They understand the community and what it needs to run,” Bauch says. “I also have fantastic vendors that I consider part of my team. Frank Civil Engineering is my go-to on my roads, sidewalks and drainage.  

Modernization efforts extend beyond mere infrastructure updates. Bauch spearheads initiatives to revamp the visual appeal of Leisure World. From changing the color scheme of roofing tiles to remodeling interior spaces like the computer room and creating dedicated spaces for activities like quilting, the focus is on creating a modern, attractive environment.  

Technological upgrades, including Wi-Fi accessibility across the facility, cater to the changing needs of the residents, ensuring connectivity and convenience. Bauch emphasizes the importance of adapting to contemporary preferences, making Leisure World more appealing to potential residents. 

Managing change 

One of the significant challenges Bauch faces is managing change in a retirement community. Residents, often set in their ways, might initially resist modernization efforts. Bauch’s strategy involves transparent communication and community engagement. Through regular attendance at board meetings, contributions to newsletters, and direct engagement with residents, Bauch keeps the community informed about ongoing and future projects. His ultimate goal is to ensure Leisure World remains a vibrant and viable community for the next 50 years, accommodating the changing needs of residents and attracting new generations. 

Justin Bauch | Director of Facilities | Leisure World 

Resident expectations have evolved in the past few years, with a recent focus on getting the best value for their HOA fees. Bauch emphasizes the importance of maintaining the community’s beauty and functionality while finding cost-effective solutions. Leisure World’s unique selling points include private golf courses, an in-house security team, a fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, recreational buildings, and a dedicated newspaper. Bauch acknowledges the competitive nature of recruiting staff due to salary considerations but prides himself on fostering a family atmosphere within his team, contributing to staff retention. 

Looking ahead to 2024, Bauch highlights the phase one reconstruction of Leisure World’s main road, LW Boulevard, and a $750,000 sidewalk repair project. Community engagement remains a priority, with regular updates through board meetings, district meetings, and newsletters. Bauch’s commitment to transparency and proactive communication ensures that residents are not only informed about ongoing projects but also understand the long-term vision for Leisure World. 

“Managing change in a retirement community is a delicate task. Transparent communication and community engagement are essential to inform residents about ongoing projects. The goal is to ensure Leisure World remains vibrant, accommodating evolving needs while respecting the community’s traditions,” Bauch says. 

Determined dedication 

Bauch’s journey has been marked by the delicate dance of balancing work and life—a challenge he openly acknowledges. With a robust work ethic and a career rooted in facilities management, Bauch recognizes the constant attention it demands. However, he has navigated this challenge with determination, finding solace and support in the companionship of his wife. 

Bauch’s professional life has been diverse. He earned a business degree from Colorado Technical University and spent over 11 years in the U.S. Army as a sargent, including a deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His extensive experience spans various sectors, from government healthcare to retail banking and multi-family housing. 

Justin Bauch | Director of Facilities | Leisure World  

This rich background has uniquely positioned him for his current role, where he applies a wealth of knowledge and skills garnered throughout his multifaceted career. He joined Leisure World in April 2021.  

“Despite the inherent challenges, I’ve found ways to enjoy precious family time, and it’s the unwavering support from my wife that keeps me grounded. From my military service to other diverse roles, each experience has shaped my journey,” Bauch says. 


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