Interview with Kelly Bunnell of Bentley Community Management
Bentley Community Management: Bentley focuses attention on community needs instead of the ‘one size fits all’ management model. By re-inventing the way management is done we have developed a smarter management approach that allows for more of the Association’s funds to go back into the community. Bentley has been able to reduce common complaints, resolve long-standing issues, and keep management fees controllable. The Bentley Team believes managed communities should feel that someone is partnering with them in the care of their community and residents.
J. David Rauch: "What makes you smile when you get up in the morning?"
Kelly Bunnell: "Looking forward to interacting with my residents and communities. I know that the Bentley Team has made a positive, measurable difference in several communities in our short time in the industry, which was the intent for starting the company (to be different). There are also entertaining interactions that you just cannot make up – like, 'How can the bank mail you my assessment check when I am out of checks?'; 'The Eucalyptus trees are poisoning all the squirrels and needs to be cut down'; 'Why do I have to sweep when we have a gardener?'. Little interactions like these make the days more interesting as we get to know the residents and help them understand Community Life."
J. David Rauch: "What are the main changes that you or your company have made in your business due to Covid?"
Kelly Bunnell: "No changes were made operationally. The uniqueness of our internal infrastructure was tested during all the changes that Covid brought to our communities and industry. Bentley’s performance was exactly how we thought it would be –unaffected in our ability to service our communities to the level we were prior to Covid. We are not physically on the properties as much to interact with our residents (no meetings), but we have been just as available to them for their concerns and needs."
J. David Rauch: "Do you have any advice for vendors on how to make the community managers job easier in this Covid time?"
Kelly Bunnell: "We do not see the job of the vendor to make ‘our’ job easier – as we are in partnership with the vendor to service the community. We know that lots of things change on a ‘day to day’ basis regarding what the latest Covid-19 mandate or relaxing of restrictions could be. Just keeping communications open if there is a change on the vendor’s service availability so we know how to communicate response times to our residents. We appreciate all the vendors we work with and see them as an extended part of our team in taking care of our communities."
J. David Rauch: "What part of your job causes you the most pain?"
Kelly Bunnell: "Taking over management of an association that has been financially or procedurally misused by its previous management company. Having been a Board member previously, I know how easy it is for a management company to just ‘take over’ and not allow the Board to “be the Board” over their affairs (especially the finances). I have been fortunate enough to win the contracts on several communities that did not even have a months-worth of operating funds in their reserve account – let alone have a stable operating account. These are the types of accounts where we can really ‘shine’ in helping the Board get their financial footing again. But it is still hard seeing how previous management companies can leave them ‘high and dry’."
J. David Rauch: "What do you like doing in your spare time; hobbies? "
Kelly Bunnell: "I do not have a lot of spare time as we have been in a growth mode during the pandemic, but I do enjoy my being with my husband Ken, our fur babies and traveling."