Dave Carter admits not much keeps him up at night.
“I sleep very well most nights, so not much keeps me awake,” he says.
“I understand that I can’t do anything about problems when I am trying to sleep.”
That’s not to say Carter, 28, property manager with Moses Tucker Real Estate in Little Rock, AR, doesn’t have work-related worries when he’s lying in bed pondering the day’s events. Who doesn’t? He’s just learned how to divert his stress into more productive thoughts.
“Usually if something pops into my head that I am worried about, I just think about any one of my woodworking or landscaping projects,” he says. “Thinking about my hobbies relaxes me. I then usually just nod off.”
The Moses Tucker property management team oversees 28 facilities totaling nearly 1 million square feet in the greater Little Rock area, including commercial office space, retail, and a few condominium developments. Day-to-day activities include tenant relations, maintaining current service contracts, and supervising the engineering team.
In the past two years, Carter and the management team have restructured the engineering department from one that functioned at a highly inefficient level into a team that works well together, gets the job done right the first time, and does it on or under budget.
The solution? They created the concept of primary building engineers within the Moses Tucker organization.
“We assign an engineer to a building or to multiple buildings. That way, the engineer [gets] a complete knowledge of his square footage, instead of sending out different engineers to the same building,” Carter explains.
He says this new approach has given the engineering team members a sense of ownership over the buildings they oversee.
“They have embraced it and have begun to update systems in the buildings, are taking care of all the paperwork and things associated with that. It has taken a lot of pressure off the office, he says. “They have taken these buildings and have made them their own. It created better efficiency and better buildings. We have had fewer maintenance calls. It has already been fixed, or the maintenance guy knows about it and is already working on it. I’m sure other companies are doing the same thing, but it’s a first here at Moses Tucker, and it’s working for us.”
Carter says he rarely encounters a challenge that gives him a headache. Instead, he looks at it as a way to develop a creative solution.
“Maybe that’s an overly optimistic view. I’m not one of those ‘glass half empty’ guys,” he says. “I’m a non-rebellious, non-conformist. I don’t like to do things the way everyone else does. I like to look at what others do and say I can do it this way and do it better. I might use their idea and tweak it to make it better.”
That’s not to say he won’t accept the sage advice from seasoned facilities pros. Carter has worked in facilities management for only two years and already has found an admirable mentor – Joe Dobbs of Crescent Real Estate Equities in Dallas and BOMA Southwestern Region’s Person of the Year, whom he met this past year at a regional BOMA conference.
Carter was talking with Dobbs and some other long-time industry folks when Dobbs told him something he will never forget.
“If we as the more experienced people in the industry do not take young people like yourself and pour into you what we know and have experienced, we are being derelict in our duties. My goal is to help you be what you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve,” Carter recalls Dobbs saying.
“To have a man of that caliber say that to me humbled me, honored me, and it fired me up,” Carter says.
Robin Suttell, based in Cleveland, is contributing editor at Buildings magazine.