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2020 REME Award finalists shine through many facets

By Journal of Property Management staff
<i style="float:left;">Photo: istock.com/FG Trade</i>
Photo: istock.com/FG Trade

IREM’s REME Awards recognize the positive impact individuals and businesses in property management make on the lives of so many. Each finalist has made substantial contributions to our profession, even under today’s less-than-ideal circumstances.

IREM Innovators

Take, for example, the IREM Innovator Award finalist that has solved the bedbug problem. Until now, bedbug remediation was a costly and difficult process. But multifamily real estate company Cortland studied the natural triggers that cause bedbugs to feed—a radiant temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, CO2 production and the expression of human pheromones—and set out to exorcise these demons. Armed with new knowledge on the ways of the bedbug, a device was designed for use in vacant units, before a new resident moves in.

Another example is Villa Charities (VCI) of Toronto, which provides long-term care and independent living for Italian Canadians. Recognizing that seniors are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, VCI implemented initiatives to strengthen tenant wellbeing while staying at home. Their program includes:

  • Socially distant senior physical activity programs
  • Daily resident “check-ins”
  • PPE equipment for all residents
  • Culturally sensitive entertainment
  • Free meals
  • Free technology support

Collectively, these services have helped residents stay healthy and connected to family and friends.

ARM of the Year

Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) Yvonne Flores’s courage was tested when taking on the role of property manager for a building in need of more than simple repairs. The property had been neglected for years, was infested with rodents and roaches, and several units had non-functioning kitchens, no heat and no gas. Over the course of just one month, this finalist transformed these unhealthy living spaces into beautiful, pest-free homes, while the affected residents continued to live on the property.

This next finalist for ARM of the Year, Ariana Dasher, started a nonprofit organization, ProjectPink, during the COVID-19 pandemic to bring resources to young adults affected by breast cancer. She recognized the need for essentials that were hard to source but were monumentally important in a patient’s daily life. Through ProjectPink, she pledged 100 hand sanitizers for chemotherapy patients at the same facility where she received treatment two years ago. With her success, she’s developing plans for ProjectPink to provide more resources to even more cancer patients.

AMO of the Year

RangeWater Real Estate, AMO, has a long-standing commitment to philanthropy and community engagement. The company’s passion for giving back extends well beyond monetary donations, into infusing ethics throughout its business practices with a focus on housing and urban development, and by prioritizing the importance of compliance with Fair Housing guidelines in employee training sessions. RangeWater also encourages staff to volunteer their time with local charitable organizations and makes substantial donations to community service programs that include food banks, back-to-school supply drives, the “Dress for Success” initiative and pandemic-related assistance.

Sustainable building practices motivated finalist Physicians Realty Trust, AMO, to set a three-year goal to reduce energy, emissions and water usage by 10%, while increasing the company’s waste diversion rate by 10% by the end of 2021. Over $3.4 million was allocated to sustainability projects in the first year alone. After one year of reporting, a 2.4% reduction in both energy and emissions was achieved, as well as a 2.6% reduction in water usage. The business also increased its waste diversion rate by over 10%, exceeding its three-year target.

CPM of the Year

Laurie Rushevics, CPM, and president of IREM Columbus, managed the Clean Up Columbus volunteer opportunity after recent civil unrest took its toll on the city. With nearly 60 people in attendance, the event drew support from the city, from BOMA, and even from local media. The City of Columbus’s request for cleaning up more Columbus neighborhoods was accepted by this IREM chapter, and now the program is being shared nationally.

And finally, while working for a small property management company, Vera McPherson, CPM, recognized the professional growth opportunities she could realize by earning the CPM designation. But earning the CPM would not be easy, or cheap. That’s when she found the IREM Foundation, applied for a scholarship and was awarded the funds to pay for all required CPM courses, the MPSA and the CPM exam.

These stories are just a snapshot of what REME Award finalists have accomplished—stories that capture the strength, resiliency and commitment of our members. It goes to show that property managers truly do make a difference in the lives of so many.

Here are the finalists for the 2020 REME awards:

AMO of the Year

  • Ayre and Oxford, AMO
  • Cortland, AMO
  • Physicians Realty Trust, AMO
  • RangeWater Real Estate, AMO
  • Roscoe Property Management, AMO

ARM of the Year

  • Ariana Dasher, ARM
  • Bill Richardson, ARM
  • Brody Sheets, ARM
  • Danielle Kriegsman, ARM
  • Yvonne Flores, ARM

CPM of the Year

  • Jessica Warrior, CPM, RPA
  • John Bowen, CPM
  • Kasara Smith, CPM
  • Laurie Rushevics, CPM
  • Michael DiGiacomo, CPM
  • Vera McPherson, CPM, ARM

IREM Innovator Award

  • Cortland, AMO
  • Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing
  • United Plus Property Management, AMO
  • Villa Charities

Award winners will be announced and recognized at Cheers to your Peers, a virtual awards event on Oct. 5, 2020. To join the event to celebrate all the finalists and our winners, view details on irem.org.

Maggie Callahan

Written by Journal of Property Management staff

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