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Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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October 2019
eNews Monthly
Volunteer Spotlight
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Jim Blackburn of Plantation Lakes
by Linda Morris

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features Jim Blackburn of Plantation Lakes, who is a very active and educated member of the community.
 
Jim Blackburn and his wife, Mary, purchased their lot in Plantation Lakes in 2004, before any roads were installed. They had to go “mudding” just to get to look at the lot. After the developer turned over the Board of Directors and Architectural Review Committee (ARC) responsibilities to the property owners, Jim served on the Board and the ARC for a number of years. After a short sabbatical, he returned and has served on the ARC since 2016.
 
Jim came to realize how important it is to read and understand the governing documents after purchasing lakefront property in another community without reading the Deed Restrictions (DRs). That property was sold, and after reading the DRs, another lot was purchased. He served on the Board and ARC of that community and has been involved in the POAs/HOAs since. Jim was the general contractor of the home he and his wife built on Lake Conroe and was instrumental in the construction of their second home in Willis. After living 12 years in Cypress, Jim & Mary moved into their home in Plantation Lakes, where Jim worked closely with the builder. Building these 3 homes has given Jim a lot of  valuable experience to share with his neighbors as they build new homes. He enjoys sharing information and helping his neighbors make more informed decisions. 
 
Jim is a Vietnam Veteran. He made a living selling auto parts on commission, before working for Arco Chemical/Lyondell for more than 30 years in the Operations Dept. One of Jim’s responsibilities was to teach and lead the industrial firefighting efforts at the chemical plant.  He offered his assistance in 2011 to local firefighters during the tri-county fire. After retiring in 2007 as a Superintendent, Jim was able to spend time building his shop, where he restores old cars, and then the home, where he and Mary now live. Jim and Mary have 4 kids and 6 grandkids and enjoy hosting family gatherings.
 
Please join us in thanking Jim for all that he does!

 

Annual Food Drive
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C.I.A. Services’ San Antonio Office has officially kicked off its Annual Food Drive! Every year on the first Tuesday of October, our office and many of our communities work together to run this initiative until the week before Thanksgiving. This year, our program is running from October 1st to November 19th.

To participate, bring canned/non-perishable food goods (including pet food) to our San Antonio Office, located at 4204 Gardendale, Suite 305, San Antonio TX 78229. We appreciate all donations, but please refer to the flyer for the most-requested items! Each person who donates food at our office will be entered into a drawing on November 19, 2019, to win a $25.00 gift card!

In addition to the food drive, we’re also supporting a fundraiser for those who want to help out but cannot take the time or are not in the vicinity of our office to donate. This year we are sponsoring a pet food drive for DaisyCares; a partner of the San Antonio Food Bank. DaisyCares is an organization created to provide pet food and urgent funds for veterinary care for families with pets who cannot afford it and reduce animal abuse through animal welfare education and awareness. Monetary donations can be made to DaisyCares here.

Finally, if you’d like to make a monetary donation directly to the San Antonio Food Bank, do so here.

We thank you in advance for being a part of our commitment to our community endeavors, as we continue our drive to remain S.P.E.C.I.A.L.!

Living Our Core Values
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Our company holds high regard for our core values. We refer to our core values as "SPECIAL," as each letter of that word represents a particular core value. As you may know, C.I.A. Services’ seven core values are:

  • Stewardship
  • Passion
  • Empathy
  • Community
  • Integrity
  • Awesomeness
  • Loyalty

In this edition and the upcoming editions of the eNews, we’d like to present our core values in a new way. We asked our employees to submit short articles about what a core value of their choice means to them, in both their personal and C.I.A. Services lives.

This month, we’re featuring the third letter of SPECIAL: Empathy.

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We Are All in This Together
by Tori Irwin

Life happens, and the ability to understand what another person is going through is an important part of Community Management.  When someone loses a job or spouse or is simply having a rough time, the last thing they want is a lack of compassion. One of the core values of C.I.A. Services that I identify with is Empathy, and I’ve seen it in action in this company numerous times.
 
San Antonio is home to many military families and government employees. At the tail-end of 2018 and through the start of 2019, the United States Government had a federal shutdown. This meant many of our military families (as well as others who worked for the government directly) were not getting a paycheck. January is also that time of year when those first HOA assessment payments are due. C.I.A. Services was happy to work with the families affected by this shutdown. We set up payment plans and removed late fees for families who called in and explained their situation to us. We listened to countless stories of homeowners who by no fault of their own had found themselves in a rough time, and we helped them make it work in a way that protected both the homeowner and their association. 
 
Empathy is a crucial aspect of how C.I.A. Services does business. We want to partner with the members of a Homeowners Association and make sure they know we are all in this together.
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Choose Empathy
by LeAnn Bruton

A definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.   Some of the synonyms for empathy show us that it isn’t necessary to fully comprehend what the person is feeling.  The synonyms include compassion, sympathy, considerateness, tender-heartedness, kindness, and concern. 

Empathy is a choice and involves awareness, paying attention to more than just our own little bubble.  It is choosing to show kindness to the store clerk who is unfriendly or even rude. It is considering that she is possibly nearing the end of a long and tiring shift that has been full of grumpy, complaining, and rude customers.  Empathy is wishing her a pleasant evening and expressing hope that the rest of her day goes smoothly.   

It is showing understanding to the neighbor who has been ill and offering to help with chores that may have been put on the back burner while he recovers.

Empathy is showing compassion to the person who has recently lost a loved one and not running from her when the tears start because you are uncomfortable with the emotions. 

All of the attributes of empathy contribute to making our world a much more pleasant environment.  When faced with the choice, choose empathy.               

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. 
Be kind. Always."
- Ian Maclaren

Seminar Series
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We offer each of our seminars in the form of a recorded webcast on demand for you to watch at any time! If you have missed a seminar, our seminars are available on our YouTube channel. The following seminars are now available:

Just go to our website, www.ciaservices.com, and click on the Resources tab. From there, select our Library and you will see the links to each webcast and other training materials or you can simply click on the links above.

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Associations in Practice Series

Our first video in the Associations in Practice Series covered Super-Budget ConceptsThis is a great introduction (or refresher) to The Super-Budgeting Process webinar offered in our Seminar Series.
 
Our latest addition to the Series is Short Term Rentals. In this video, we offer insight into short-term rental properties. We have an expert panel on board discussing everything from what a short-term rental is, to potential problems and possible solutions.
 
All of our Association in Practice Series videos will be available on our YouTube channel. We will send updates when new material is added. You can also subscribe to our channel for the news on the latest additions.
Community of the Month
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We are proud of every one of our communities, so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • October - Clear Creek Forest 13 Property Owners Association - North Office - Valerie Lehr
  • September - Cedar Springs Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn
  • August - Magnolia Heights Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn
  • July - Ashcreek Homeowners Association - North Office - Kristin Taylor
  • June - Aliana Commercial Association - Southwest Houston Office - Deniece Reyes
  • May - Cinco Ranch Southwest Community Council - Humble Office - Kimberly Cowart

To see the full story on these communities and to see all of the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our site.

Community Anniversaries
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Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in October.

  • Indian Shores Property Owners Association — 32 years
  • Bowling Green Garden Homes Association — 31 years
  • Ashcreek Homeowners Association — 29 years
  • Kirkmont Section 2 Association — 26 years
  • Traces II Community Improvement Association — 23 years
  • Belleau Wood Civic Club — 18 years
  • Fairway Pointe Community Association — 13 years
  • RVTC Property Owners Association — 7 years
  • Kenswick Trace Homeowners Association — 5 years
  • Willow Park Office Condominiums Homeowners Association — 4 years
  • Heartstone Subdivision Homeowners Association — 4 years
  • Kendall Creek Estates Homeowners Association — 3 years
  • Provincia Villas Homeowners Association — 2 years
  • Willow Lake Village Community Association — 2 years
  • S.A. Remington Heights Homeowners Association — 2 years

Our goal has always been to create a positive, long term relationship with all of our client communities. We are very proud to be managing all of these communities.

Employee Corner

Employee Anniversaries

We love to celebrate special milestones with our employees. In the Employee Corner of each eNews issue, we will list all employees that have reached their one-year anniversary with our company. Additionally, we recognize stockholders on their anniversary month.  C.I.A. Services employees become stockholders after they have been employeed for five years.

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Stockholder Anniversaries

The following stockholders are all celebrating their 14th anniversary with the company this month!

Brenda Ellington is a Community Manager at our Humble office.  When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her dog, Chico and her family that lives close by.  She has an adult son, 2 granddaughters, and a grandson.  The family recently welcomed, Olivia, great-granddaughter.

Melinda Diaz is a Community Specialist at our Humble office.  She is a friendly voice on the phone and a favorite of both callers and coworkers! Melinda and her husband, Daniel, enjoy quiet family time with their daughters Savanna and Denielle.  

Brittany Tate is a Compliance Manager at our Humble office.  She has an amazing work ethic and wears multiple "hats" for the company. Brittany recently purchased her first home which she enjoys with her fur babies, Finn and Ozzy, which, according to her are the greatest cats in the world! 

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We are also celebrating the anniversary of a few more stockholders.

Deniece Reyes, General Manager for the Aliana associations, is celebrating her 8th anniversary.  Deniece works in the Aliana community and manages to keep everything operating smoothly for the community!  When she is not in Aliana, you will usually find her courtside being a basketball mom.  Deniece and her high school sweetheart husband, Angelo, have two boys: Jalen and Julian.

Brandi Brack, San Antonio Office Branch Manager, is celebrating her 6 year company anniversary.  In addition to overseeing the San Antonio branch, Brandi is the community manager for several communities.  She has 3 daughters: Hannah is attending Texas Tech, Neva is in high school and Jayla Rae is in elementary school.  Brandi and her husband, Jason, enjoy boating on the lake.

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New Stockholder Anniversaries

When an employee reaches their 5 year anniversary with the company, they become employee stockholders.  We are celebrating 2 new stockholders this month!

Dannie Gibson, Publications Coordinator from the Humble office is one of the newest stockholders.  Dannie handles all the community mailings, including meeting notices and newsletters.  She is the mom of 4: 2 twin girls Izabella and Serenity, her son Benjamin, and another daughter, Marley.  She and her husband, Brent, make a very sweet family.

Hector Mercado is a member of our Accounting Department and another new stockholder.  Hector works at our Bandera office and is a calming force among many women!  He is very involved with his church and likes to spend time with his wife, Patty, and son, Hector Jr.

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One Year Anniversaries

We also have one one-year anniversary this month!

Patty Tate, Community Specialist from our Humble office is celebrating her first anniversary.  Patty focuses on customer service emails, working with all of our communities.  She is big on family and just celebrated the birth of her 8th grandchild. She also has 2 fur babies, Monster and Goose, who are very spoiled!  

Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions, and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.