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C.I.A Services, Inc.
Systems. Structure. Stewards.
35 Years Of Excellence
Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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January 2020
eNews Monthly
Year in Review
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2019 is now behind us and it was another busy year at C.I.A. Services. Great management flows from a foundation of doing all the small things well. Our dedicated staff members kept up with the thousands of daily details associated with managing communities. Here are a few statistics from the past year.

  • Our maintenance coordinators issued and tracked 5,309 work orders and projects for our communities. That is an average of 21 per workday. A work order can be anything from having a sign fabricated & installed to developing specifications & soliciting bids for a contract to having a new roof installed on a clubhouse. Each work order includes a large amount of communication with contractors in advance as well as follow-up. That is an impressive amount of work.
  • Home improvement coordinators processed 8,491 home improvement and new construction requests for our communities. That is an average of 34 per workday. Many requests entail multiple communications with the homeowner to ensure that the request is complete before passing on to the committee for a decision. Each request finishes with a letter to the homeowner documenting the decision. That number includes 4,626 online submissions (54%) through our online home improvement application system that was released in 2014. This high usage tells us the online system is as awesome as we wanted it to be!
  • Our accounting department processed, verified and paid 71,907 invoices for vendors in our communities. That is an average of 288 per workday. It takes great organizational skills to coordinate that many bills, obtain reviews and approvals, meet the due dates and keep the vendors happy. All that while keeping impeccable records that CPA auditors love to see.
  • Our customer service staff helped 2,033 owners set up payment plans for their delinquent assessments. Throughout the year, our accounting staff monitored each payment plan and issued 1,142 follow-up letters to owners.
  • Our community managers, administrative assistants, and inspectors tracked and resolved 100,004 deed restriction violations by issuing 106,743 letters. Our deed restriction management efforts continued to be successful with 89% of all violations getting resolved before a certified letter was needed.
  • In December alone, our accounting and administrative staff received and deposited $14,629,860 in assessments in 22,694 individual payments.
  • We received 158,388 incoming phone calls in 2019! This averages out to about 633 per day!

All of these little details and small things equal up to great management. We pride ourselves in providing excellent service at every level. We look forward to another successful year in 2020, and much growth in the new decade!

Volunteer Spotlight
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Westover Forest Board of Directors
by Tori Irwin

If you get a chance to go to Westover Forest in San Antonio, you may be lucky enough to meet the fantastic Board of Directors.  Each of their Board volunteers goes above and beyond the standard role of a Board member.  Whether it’s decorating the community for the Holidays or hosting a National Day Out Celebration, each member gives the community their all.

A shining example of the Board’s hard work was October 2019’s National Day Out. In an attempt to make the event more available to families and folks who work during the week, they set up a major celebration on a Saturday.  Each member took action, whether it was Linda Serdar and her husband manning the food stations, Nieves Arredondo making sure that the kids had fun activities like face painting and prizes, or Chad Stovell setting up games and manning the bounce house.  Ruben Martinez and Nieves kept an eye on the funds, making sure to keep everything in budget and to bring in donations.

And then there is the splendid force of nature that is Carolyn Hunt. You can find her guiding landscapers, painting the front gates, directing traffic if the gates go down, and spearheading maintenance projects like she was born into it.  She is protective of the community and not afraid to do what it takes to keep the place clean and safe.  She keeps the group laughing through any struggle and she and Linda make sure that volunteers are fed and well cared for.  These volunteers are certainly a blessing to Westover Forest.

Pictured (left to right): Ruben Martinez, Nieves Arredondo, Chad Stovell

Not Pictured: Carolyn Hunt, Linda Serdar

C.I.A. Services Cares
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Holiday Giving
by Lindsay Scholfield

This past holiday season saw another year where multiple Humble office employees donated valuable items that several local charities needed.  Employees donated resources for BEAR Houston, Breaking the Chains Outreach Ministries, and Special Pals Shelter.  Each of the three charities we worked withhold special places in our hearts. 

BEAR Houston is a unique charity recommended to us by our HIR Coordinator, Jessica Soto.  Jessica previously worked with BEAR Resources during her time with CPS.  “BEAR…BE A Resource for CPS Kids is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them within Harris County.”  Our employees donated many boxes full of items BEAR needed, including toiletries, towels, and more (top photo).

Breaking the Chains Outreach Ministries is another amazing charity that was recommended to us by Administrative Assistant MJ Gonzalez.  MJ has worked with this wonderful organization for some time now and is very impassioned by their cause.  “The purpose of this outreach is to reach out to the homeless, our Veterans in the VA Hospital, first responder and those who are too sick to go to church… Some feel unloved or that nobody cares about them while others struggle with some type of addiction or depression. Whatever their circumstances are, they all need to know that someone does care about them and that they are never alone.”  Multiple donations were received that helped out this organization in a tremendous way (middle photo).

The third organization that the North office partnered with, Special Pals, is one that holds a special place in nearly every animal-lovers heart.  Community Manager Kim Cowart recommended this organization, being one of the office’s biggest animal lovers.  “[Special Pals] mission is to make a measurable and sustainable difference in the Greater Houston pet population by offering affordable pet care services, rescuing and rehabilitating homeless companion animals, finding forever homes, and providing education about responsible pet ownership.”  It’s easy to understand why so many employees contributed to this wonderful organization (bottom photo)!

Every year is SPECIAL to us, but this year was an extra special way to contribute during our 35th anniversary.  We’re already looking forward to Noble November in 2020, and we can’t wait to see what organizations all of our offices will choose to support!

Growing Stronger
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Community Association Banc
by Ralph A. Troiano, President

For more than ten years, C.I.A. Services has used Mutual of Omaha Bank’s community association banking division as the primary banking partner for our clients.  Community Association Banc was created two decades ago to address the unique financial needs of community associations. It was able to grow its technology and resources as part of the Mutual of Omaha family.  As of January 1st, the operation has moved from Mutual of Omaha Bank to CIT Group.

Mutual of Omaha has been around 110 years and built a solid reputation and respected name primarily in the insurance industry.  The CIT Group’s heritage goes back 111 years as a quiet financial services company. Note that CIT Group and CIT Bank are not related to the more familiar Citibank.

The same great team and leadership for the community association banking division have moved to CIT Bank so there will be no change to current operations. With the strength and resources at CIT, there will continue to be advancements in technology and solutions for associations.

We have been very pleased with our relationship with everyone at Mutual of Omaha Bank and the benefits and specialized services they provided to our clients. We look forward to that continued relationship under a different name and solid backing.

Fun Times
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Hockey Night 2020

Each year, we invite our community volunteers, employees, families, and friends to join us for Hockey Night with the San Antonio Rampage. We spend a fun-filled evening watching a great sport.  

The 2020 Hockey Night will be on Saturday, March 21st when the Rampage will take on the Manitoba Moose at the AT&T Center. Hockey is a cool, fun, and fast-paced game. If you’ve never seen hockey in person, you are in for a treat!

Click below to see photos of the fun from the last ten years.

2019    2018    2017    2016    2015    2014    2013    2012    2011    2010

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 sixth letter of SPECIAL: Awesomeness

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Filling Community Events with Awesomeness
by Lindsay Scholfield

One of the core values of C.I.A. Services is AWESOMENESS (Excellence).  The definition of this word is so small compared to the size of its worth, however, this bold word so accurately describes what many C.I.A. Services employees strive to be on a daily basis.  We all hope to be as Awesome as possible every day, in hopes that being Awesome will create a lasting impact for someone.

Many communities that C.I.A. Services manages host special events for their residents; some of our communities have robust calendars that host multiple events each month.  Planning events for a community is not quite the same as planning events for a private client, a convention center, or an arena.  It’s a very niche market that requires an insurmountable amount of patience, creativity, careful planning, time spent working with the Board of Directors, and a plethora of volunteers. 

My daily job function is to plan for and execute events within one of our larger, master-planned communities.  So, in other words, my job is all about being Awesome.  I couldn’t be Awesome without some of my amazing co-workers, though. I have many times reached out to my co-workers who also work with communities that host events to pick their brains and find out what works, what doesn’t, and to brainstorm new ideas.  A few of them have reached out to me for the same reason.  Being Awesome means we are happy to share with each other because we want to make sure that the events we deliver to our residents are nothing less than Awesome!  It’s also comforting to know that I work with such Awesome people; they are so kind and supportive, and I am thankful to call them all my, “work family.”

Not long after I came on board with C.I.A. Services, I was tasked with organizing the annual holiday event for the community I worked with at the time.  This community has over 6,000 homes and has a very beautiful and colorful array of residents.  Translation – this community was very culturally diverse and embraced one another in such an Awesome way.  What bothered me was seeing that their previous holiday events only covered Christmas.  This did not seem Awesome to me at all, because I felt like we were turning a blind eye to everyone else within the community.  What about those who celebrate Hanukah?  Or Diwali?  And what about Kwanzaa?  Yule?  Winter Solstice?  Eid Milad un Nabi?  Bodhi Day?  Call me crazy, but in the old Saturday Night Live skit about Hanukah Harry, Harry looked nothing like Kris Kringle. So, how do you make an event Awesome that you felt was previously lacking?  Easy!  You just find a way to incorporate everything.  And I mean, we did it all.  We still had our photos with Santa and Mrs. Clause.  We also had a Henna Artist, multi-cultural holiday crafts that encompassed all the major winter holidays, we played holiday music from the many regions of the world we had represented, we had traditional holiday snacks that were also from all over the world, and most importantly, we tried to decorate our clubhouse in a manner that also gave each holiday a special display.  We had a giant menorah, we had a beautiful kinnara, we had a lovely Yule log, and so much more.  Now, you would think that this may have looked like a hot mess, right?  It wasn’t – it was AWESOME and beautiful!  However, the biggest take away from all of this was that these residents loved and appreciated it.  So many of them were culturally recognized when they were so used to only seeing Christmas items around town.  To have a special piece of their own community dedicated to their beliefs was something Awesome for everyone it touched. 

I see all of the C.I.A. Services Core Values within myself, but Awesomeness is likely my favorite because the very principle of being Awesome is the one I connect with the most.  With everything that I do, I strive to make it Awesome, and nothing less.  I see so much Awesomeness around me with my co-workers and see us all trying to be Awesome for all the residents we assist.  So, what was that definition?  “Awesome – Causing or inducing awe.”  It’s a small definition for such a powerful word. 

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 Associations in Practice Series is an offering of short videos with very specific topics. Super-Budget Concepts is a great introduction (or refresher) to our Super-budget and a nice refresher or opening to the full webinar offered in our Seminar Series. 
 
In our video, Short Term Rentals, 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:

  • January - Heather Ridge Village Homeowners Association - Humble Office - Kaila Gattis
  • December - Plantation Lakes Community Association - Humble Office - Linda Morris
  • November - Summerwood Commercial Property Association - Humble Office - Kim Cowart
  • October - Clear Creek Forest 13 Property Owners Association - Humble Office - Valerie Lehr
  • September - Cedar Springs Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn
  • August - Magnolia Heights Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn

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 January.

  • Hunterwood Village II Association — 34 years
  • Homeowners Association of Timber Forest — 23 years
  • Cumberland Community Association — 12 years
  • Eastpoint Section 4 Homeowners Association — 9 years
  • Subdivision of Spring Crossing Community Association — 8 years
  • Reserve at Clear Lake Community Association — 5 years
  • Hidden Arbor Community Association, Inc. — 4 years
  • Harper Oaks Homeowners Association, Inc. — 4 years
  • BGR Property Owners Association, Inc. — 3 years
  • Katy Pointe Community Association — 2 years
  • Southwinds Residential Association — 1 year

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
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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 first anniversary with our company. Additionally, once employees reach five years, we recognize them each year on their anniversary month.

Charlotte Bulcken has been a staple in our Humble Office for 24 years! She’s known as the "momma" of our office, and commonly brings food to share. Outside of work, Charlotte enjoys going to the theater and traveling, and loves to spend time with her 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren who refer to her as LaLa.

Kimberly Terry is a stockholder and the team leader for our Accounting Office in Bandera, and has been with the company for 7 years. Kimberly always offers great help to organize our company events, such as our Christmas party last month! Outside of work, she enjoys outdoor summer fun like tubing on the river.

Vina Evans is a stockholder celebrating 7 years with the company. She is a member of the customer service team at our Humble office who always ensures that anyone calling in has a pleasant and helpful experience. She has 3 kids – Jason, Larry and Lailah, and Mega the dog that keep her very busy. She spends her spare time watching the kids in their sports.

Happy first anniversary to Holly Manuszak! Holly is an Administrative Assistant who transferred from our San Antonio office into the Humble office this past summer. Outside of the office, Holly is interested in fitness and has even competed in professional competitions. She also enjoys traveling and spending time with her 3 kids.

Congratulations to these wonderful employees!

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.