Monthly Archives: May 2015

Maintenance Mania: Putting Skills to Test

Have you ever wondered how our maintenance team can make repairs so quickly? These guys are serious rock stars, taking care of our building and most importantly, your apartment, whenever we need them.  And when a toilet is leaking or an air conditioner isn’t working, we really need them! One of the ways our guys hone their skills is at Maintenance Mania. It sounds like a rock concert for maintenance teams but the program offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA), is actually an exciting and fun way for our maintenance teams to put their skills to test.

Maintenance Mania ALL

From left to right: Mark Lanouette, Mike Virdell, Paul Hanson, Clay Williams, Bill Holbrook, Richard Hughes and Tyler Patton at Maintenance Mania April, 2015.

Our team recently attended the Maintenance Mania event sponsored by the Washington Multifamily Housing Association (WMFHA). Maintenance Mania is first and foremost a competition of maintenance activities. Our maintenance supervisors, along with maintenance professionals from all over the Puget Sound, participated individually in eight different games focused on challenging their maintenance skills. Each game involves a common maintenance activity—seems easy, right? Except they are judged not only on their execution and completion, but they have to finish the task as fast as possible.  That’s a lot of pressure!

The competitions included a car race where our team members had to build their own race cars with only maintenance supplies prior to the event. The goal was to be as inventive as possible to create the fastest and most ingenious car possible, check out our team member’s cars below.kujf;khvOther competitions included water heater installation, control deadbolt test, flush toilet conversion and faucet installation. Each one is designed to test the competitor’s ability to execute these tasks, and the speed at which each is completed. Now you know how our maintenance team can work so quickly to fix your toilet, faucet or your air conditioner!

Along with learning new skills and honing some old ones, our team had lots of fun participating in this event. They love any excuse to get together, hang out and do what they are so passionate about. They tell us that they learned a lot, they were able to share each other’s tactics, and while it was an individual competition, they helped each other with tips and tricks—because for our guys, it’s always about team work!

People of Pillar Properties: Paul Hanson and Jon Lora

Our team members are the face of Pillar Properties and they come to work every day with the goal of making sure our properties are meeting the needs of everyone who lives there.  It’s not an easy job but we love how they keep smiling and do all they can to make living at our properties quietly awesome.

Even though you may see them on the job, we thought you might like to get a chance to know them better and find out what makes them tick. This month, we’d like to introduce to you two of the superstars from our maintenance team at The Lyric who share an interesting history.

Paul Hanson  Paul 2

Paul joined Pillar Properties six months ago with extensive construction and maintenance experience. He learned about Pillar Properties from his longtime friend and our Senior Maintenance Supervisor, Bill Holbrook. They’ve been friends for over 35 years, and when Bill was looking for someone to take the Maintenance Supervisor position at The Lyric, he didn’t have to look any further. Paul has been enjoying the challenges this new job presents and has brought a lot of experience to The Lyric. His favorite thing is being part of a team, and according to his team “he’s like a dad,” who keeps them going and is there when they need him.

Jon Lora

Jon joined us this past January with an amazing customer service background and an eagerness Jon 3to learn. Jon actually owes his opportunity at The Lyric to a chance meeting with Paul.  Jon was working at a hardware store where Paul bought supplies and he was impressed with Jon’s welcoming smile and willingness to help. When a position at The Lyric opened up, it dawned on Paul that the guy at the hardware store with great customer service skills could be the right person for the job. On the next visit instead of asking for help at the store, Paul asked Jon if he would be interested in working for Pillar Properties.  The rest is history and Jon says he’s grateful that Paul thought of him for his job at The Lyric.  Jon says he has learned a lot since he started five months ago and he is glad a chance meeting with Paul led to his new role.  He says he loves doing hands-on work and being part of The Lyric team.

To get to know Jon and Paul better, we came up with some silly questions for them to ponder:

What was your favorite TV show growing up?

Paul absolutely loved to watch Happy Days while growing up and Jon loved watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  We guess The Fonz and Will Smith are pretty cool role models when you’re growing up.

If you could be any cartoon character which one would you be and why?

Paul didn’t have to think about it twice, he would love to be Bugs Bunny because nobody ever messes with him and he can get away with a lot of things.  Jon said he grew up with comic books and would love to be Superman because he can fly. He also said he would like to be Batman because of his intelligence.

If you could be a mariners player, which position would you play and why?

While Paul didn’t have a favorite player, he said he liked the shortstop position because there is lots of action and you always have to think fast—he liked the challenge of thinking on your feet.

Photo credit: Mariners' Facebook.

Photo credit: Mariners’ Facebook.

Jon said he’d want to be Robison Canó. You may not know this about Jon but he is from the Dominican Republic and he identifies with Canó because he is too.

What’re your favorite pizza toppings?

Both Paul and Jon got very excited about this question because they love pizza, and even joked

Photo credit: Del Monte Europe

Photo credit: Del Monte Europe

about how they might need to order one immediately. Paul likes the classics and said he loves Hawaiian pizza, so his favorite toppings are pineapple and Canadian bacon.

Jon said he absolutely LOVES pizza and would eat it all the time if he could, especially stuffed crust pizza. He isn’t too picky about his toppings, but he normally goes for pepperoni and green peppers. He did clarify he hates mushrooms on his pizza, and doesn’t like to have too many toppings on, only one or two for moderation.

What do you think? Do you agree with them? Would you like to know more? Share your questions for our team members on the comments, and we’ll be sure to ask!

Earning the Opportunity – Senior VP Billy Pettit at AIM 2015


Senior Vice President Billy Pettit (second from left) at AM 2015

The successful lease up at our Stadium Place property in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood was a hot topic at the recent AIM 2015 (Apartment Internet Marketing) conference in Huntington Beach, California.  Apartment owners and managers from across the country attended the conference and our Senior Vice President Billy Pettit was a featured speaker.

DSC_0251Pettit discussed the challenges and opportunities in opening a property with almost 500 apartment units in an area that had not been considered desirable as a residential location.  The property sits next to Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders, and offers stunning views of Puget Sound and downtown.

Pettit discussed the content marketing strategy for Stadium Place that focused on partnering with the neighborhood and becoming a source of information about restaurant, retails and events available in the area.  The campaign built excitement around the growth in the area and helped to establish Stadium Place as a viable residential community.


In addition, Pettit said they were able to be part of the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl run for the Seahawks.  During construction, they hung a big pick up truck that was decked out for the Hawks from the top of the construction crane.  It was visible from the stadium and fans loved it.

12Capitalizing on that success, Pettit told the crowd how he worked with the architects to construct a giant 12 on Stadium Place to show support for the team.  It was seen throughout the area and it quickly became the most photographed building in the city.  The giant 12 showed Stadium Place’s commitment to the fans and generated excitement as prospective residents were drawn to living in the property.

Pettit also discussed the relationship he forged with a local TV station that resulted in live broadcasts from the property on game days throughout the season once the property was opened.  This publicity generated interest in the property and contributed to the quick lease up of the two apartment towers the comprise Stadium Place.


Ultimately Pettit said that the relationships they formed and the continued commitment to the neighborhood have been critical to the success of the property.  He also admits that it never hurts to get a little lucky and that opening the property the same year that the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl provided an excellent opportunity.