For some last Saturday, Jan. 7 passed like any other, but for the dozens of individuals who work for Cadden Community Management (CCM), that day marked an impressive milestone as the company celebrated its 30th year in business.
Originally named Cadden Parfrey Services after current president and CEO F. Michael Cadden – a Navy veteran – and founding partner Scott Parfrey, the business got its current name after Cadden bought out his partner after the turn of the century. Originally managing just two homeowners associations in the Tucson region back in 1987, CCM now manages more than 220 associations across Tucson, Green Valley and Sierra Vista – which represent more than 40,000 individual lots.
At the frontline of the decades-long service to the Tucson community are the company’s portfolio managers, who in simple terms work with homeowners associations to make sure rules and policies are followed by residents, collect and handle association-related financials for each household and make sure all other functions are carried out.
“Our perception is that we protect the value of the homes in the neighborhood,” Cadden said. “We provide a service to the home owners association and the people living there by protecting their investments. … It is an interesting business in that you need to know something about a lot of things, but you don’t really need to be an expert in anything.”
Maintaining files and records, assisting is the budgetary process, facilitating research, performing office work, coordinating contract work and handling invoices are just some of the various tasks a manager may perform for an association, and each is a vital if a community is to find success.
While CCM expends a majority of its efforts working with home owners associations, that was not always the case over the company’s long history. In the early days, Cadden said that much of business was comprised of working with the development community; handling budgets and other development paperwork for the state department of real estate. Over time, and especially as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the company moved more towards handling homeowners associations as developers left the region.
While the company still works with the reemerging development community, marketing and sales director Mike Poletta said much of the effort at CCM now goes into making the life of board members much easier.
“There are self-managed communities,” Poletta said. “So say that you live in a community that has been designated as an HOA and it’s small – maybe 30 homes – and they can manage it themselves. When you start getting into a community of 75, 100 homes it becomes a lot of work because it is designated as a business and the homeowners who volunteer to be on the board, they’re responsible for following the rules laid out in the CC&R’s. When it becomes too much to manage, that’s when they hire a company like ours.”
CCM is responsible for more than recommendations and financial paperwork, according to chief financial officer Susan Rodriguez, who said that she spends time working with board members and treasurers to foster a better understanding of the many fact sheets involved in running a corporation. That improved understanding plays a role in everything going on in a community, Rodriguez said. Many of the smaller problems an association may have to deal with like lack of maintenance or cleaning of a community asset often boils down to a financial problem, which can create a self perpetuating cycle of trouble.
With a management company, those problems can be quickly identified and handled by the board.
“Every homeowner’s association is its own separate corporation, they’re all nonprofit corporations,” Rodriguez said. “What we are responsible for doing is assisting with budgeting for the association so that they can determine what those assessments needs to be to so that they can maintain the association, maintain their assets – those sorts of things. We collect money from homeowners, we keep ledgers for everyone and we also pay all of their bills, with the direction from the board we are set up to handle their receivables and their payable and provide them with a monthly financial statement, balance sheet, profit and loss statement so that they can better make the decisions that they need to make regarding the financial strength and health of their association.”
Once a company handling two associations, CCM has grown exponentially since its founding and more than three times in size since Cadden bought out his former partner in 2001. Now managing between $20 and $25 million in assets a month, Cadden attributes the company’s success and ability to adapt over the years to hiring “good people,” and always setting a goal to grow at a reasonable, sustainable rate.
“It’s about hiring the right people, good people, and then retaining them,” he said.
Rodriguez agreed, saying that by hiring good people and taking care of their employees, they will in turn take good care of their associations and other clients. Aside from benefits packages and salary structure, Rodriguez said that CCM shows its employees love with holiday parties, a day off every month, trips to baseball games, the zoo and more.
“I think that from an employee perspective ... Mike Cadden has done a fantastic job in foster a family atmosphere; everybody cares about everybody and we all have each other’s back,” she said. “There is always someone who is willing to help out.”