My name is Jesse Hamilton, and I am one of the Darren E. Lee scholarship recipients. When I heard about the scholarship via AAGO’s website I was thrilled to learn about this opportunity to acquire more knowledge and progress within the apartment industry. I have been part of the apartment industry since 2011 and have taken the following courses at AAGO: EPA, R410A, CPO, HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing courses. In addition, I have also acquired my WDO through NACHI. I sought my CAMT to put me ahead of the game because I am always striving for education to better myself and to educate others. So when I was chosen as the Darren E. Lee Scholarship recipient, I was honored. My long-term goal is to attain a Regional Manager position and I am confident that my CAMT experience will play a role in my ability to achieve this role."
The CAMT program took roughly five months to complete and we averaged one class each month. Course topics includes: Indoor/Outdoor Maintenance, Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, and Appliance Repair. From these courses I gained cost effectiveness and preventative maintenance skills. I also received hands on experience in each course, which included maintenance retention, OSHA, and team building. In addition, the relationships you build in the CAMT program are invaluable. Once you get ten technicians together who are mostly supervisors and regionals, you will discover you have a lot to learn from one another. Throughout the course of the CAMT program, we had intuitive debates and hours of discussions on how to become a better “you” within the apartment industry and for that I am thankful. In the grand scheme of things, we all learned from one another and now we can take that knowledge back to our properties to train others on our team.
I am thankful to have grown up in the apartment industry. My mother, Valerie is an Assistant Property Manager with AGPM, and she has served with the several different property management groups since I was a toddler. My Step father, Vincent White, has been a Property Maintenance Supervisor just as long. I learned from their example and understood at a young age this career takes hard work and dedication. My Father was a home builder and now works with Disney as a Journeyman with his own business on the side. I was lucky to learn from members of my family before entering the workforce as a young adult. In addition to learning from my family members, I gained my sense of hard work from years of working on a fifty-four-acre exotic animal farm. For thirteen years, I worked starting at 6:00 a.m. or after school to build barns, decks, and storm cellars. I also enjoyed working the tractor and cutting trees with my Grandmother who taught me what it means to have an excellent work ethic and how to climb trees with a tractor. Over the course of my life, I’ve been blessed with a lot of great teachers that taught me the value of doing quality work. Now, when I arrive to any apartment home (vacant or occupied), I treat the customer as if they were a member of my own family. I make sure they are happy and satisfied with their home. For example, some of our tenants are not aware of basic features in an apartment home simply because they are not familiar with how to use the equipment. I take extra care to show the resident where the extinguisher is, how to use a
thermostat, what to do if they have a leaking toilet and so on. This is the level of customer service our residents deserve and small steps like this can set your property apart from the competition.
When I’m not working, I’m learning. Right now, I am reading The Complete Book of Home Inspection by Norman Becker, P.E. This book has provided me with a great deal of knowledge and a new way to think about my job as a Maintenance Professional. In addition to reading, I regularly study appliances to learn more about this aspect of the business. I’ve always had a desire to find ways to repair broken refrigerators, washers, dryers, microwaves, and other appliances. The way I look at it is, most everything can be fixed and sometimes this minor fix can be more cost effective. When I ask technicians or even supervisors, “Why are you trashing those microwaves?” I usually discover that after the appliance stopped functioning properly, it was immediately discarded as trash. In these instances, I like to ask questions like, “Did you check the diode?” because without the diode, the voltage cannot be sent to the capacitor and the magnetron, which is where the heat comes from. Using this approach, I have been able to correct appliance issues countless times and reuse more than 50% of the appliances that were in the “trash area.” This practice saves my company a significant amount of money in one of the most
expensive categories in our budget.
Jesse Hamilton, CAMT
Darren E. Lee Scholarship Recipient
Pine Harbour Apartments