Interview with Rebecca McDonald of Walters Management Company
Walters Management Company: Walters Management is a triple-accredited community association management company that helps our property partners achieve the highest standards of administration, fiscal management and maintenance. Walters Management offers a comprehensive range of management services, including: HOA management, financial management, maintenance management, transition guidance, association consulting, rental management, and home escrow.
J. David Rauch: "What are the main changes that you or your company have made in your business due to COVID?"
Rebecca McDonald: "Fortunately, we at Walters were able to adapt easily and quickly; we transitioned our onsite meetings into virtual meetings using GoToMeeting; Boards have been receptive and understanding. Some Boards prefer it to the in-person meetings. I think one of the best was the transition to utilizing a digital signature service which allowed us to send documents to Board members for signature. Previously we had to gather all the documents and take them to the meeting and have the Board sign everything once a month (or less if they met less frequently). We can now take care of those things on regular basis. The Boards seemed to like the ease of program and how quickly things can be processed."
J. David Rauch: "Do you have any advice for vendors on how to make the Community Manager's job easier in this COVID time?"
Rebecca McDonald: "My greatest pet peeve with vendors is not responding and no follow-up. If a manager sends an RFP request; respond to them and let them know that you will be submitting a bid (or not); and then follow up and send them the bid. I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours I waste on a regular basis chasing after a vendor for bid. If you do not want to do the work, fine just say so."
J. David Rauch: "Do you foresee that our industry is headed for any major changes in the future?"
Rebecca McDonald: "California is always pushing legislation that impacts our industry. I do not foresee that changing. The new Election law was a big change and has presented some challenges, especially to smaller Associations without a budget to hire an inspector. I am hoping that as we make our way through the first year of the new legislation, our lawmakers will be inclined to amend the law to make it more practical for all types of communities."
J. David Rauch: "Has COVID permanently changed any of the ways that Walters Management is doing business?"
Rebecca McDonald: "COVID changed the way we do business; while I personally did not mind in-person meetings, I feel like a lot of Board’s will continue to opt to utilize virtual meetings. It does make it way more convenient for them, provides opportunity to members who have wanted to serve, but did not necessarily have the opportunity due to other commitments. It helps the manager as well. After a long day at the office, it allows them to conduct the meetings either from the office or at home. New relationships are more difficult to form having virtual meetings. I had a Board member that was appointed in March 2020 to fill the remainder of a term through November and I never got to meet him in person; all our meetings were virtual. It is definitely a challenge to develop those professional relationships when you are just a box on a screen each month."
J. David Rauch: "What do you like doing in your spare time?"
Rebecca McDonald: "I enjoy walking; a neighbor and I regularly walk along the coast. Recently my family has gotten back into camping. My husband and I used to camp often when our kids were young but then being busy with work, school and kids’ sports caused us to stop. Now that our kids are grown, we have begun camping again; it’s such a fun thing to do as a family. Since COVID we have had several camping reservations cancelled. So, we have decided to update our backpacking gear to prepare to camp outside of campgrounds. I also enjoy reading and binge-watching TV; I’m a super fan of UFC fights and I enjoy a good glass of whiskey."