The Inception Story...
In 2002, Shirley Feldmann founded Association Advocates, Inc. after her experiences owning two new construction condos and realizing that there are few places to turn to for personalized consultation. This is especially true for smaller associations who may not be able to obtain cost-effective and efficient management and often become a small fish in a big pond.
And, as a board member who was instrumental in successfully holding both developers accountable for unresolved construction and financial issues without litigation, she realized that most first-time homeowners are uncertain of the developer’s obligations and how to create start-up association protocols.
While serving for three years on the condo board of a prominent 80-unit loft building in Chicago, and three years on committees prior to that, Shirley acted as the on-site property manager spending approx. 10-20hrs./week due to the frustrations of an unresponsive management company. This led to the research for and replacement with a new management company utilizing her leadership to oversee the management search, transition and training of the new property manager.
Shirley’s tenacity and perseverance guided the board in the adoption of improved procedures for security, management, maintenance, administrative, financial and operations. She was involved in negotiating contracts and operating agreements with the developer for punch list resolutions, construction issues with the commercial parcels in the building, cable television bulk services, board training, budget analysis, reserve study, liaison to community organizations and political representatives and she even planned social events so the association could maintain camaraderie and a community atmosphere. Her thoroughness benefited all owners resulting in decreased owner complaints and increased property values.
Through the encouragement of many property vendors and as a self-employed TV/Radio producer for over 15 years providing exceptional project management services Shirley brings her unparalleled detail-oriented, organizational and budgeting abilities to an industry needing proactive vs. reactive solutions.
Since 2002, AAI has helped more than 50 association clientsranging in size from 3 to 700 units (including the building mentioned above), management companies and developerswith board training, developer turnover, start-up association procedures, new management searches/transitions, rules and regulations guidance, self-management and special projects.
Shirley has also provided short-term, on-site property management consultation for buildings from 100 to 200 units to fill in for the on-site property manager during medical or vacation leave and/or to assist with special projects or a management transition. In addition, she has been a seminar speaker and writer for the property management and real estate industry, and has been quoted in the Chicago Tribune and Condo Lifestyles on association-related issues.