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Recently, our Associate Property Manager, Mike Arnold, celebrated his one-year anniversary at Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate. We are thrilled to have him on the team and thought the occasion would be a great opportunity to spotlight his work for the company.

Mike’s schedule is a busy one. Each day, he works hard to professionally manage and maintain many of the properties within Crunkleton’s property management portfolio. This week, we sat down with him to discuss his favorite parts of the job, what his greatest takeaways are from his first year, and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.

Tell us about your educational background.

After graduating from Bob Jones High School in Madison, I ended up going to a couple of different universities in pursuit of my degree. I started at Calhoun Community College in Huntsville and later transferred to Shelton State in Tuscaloosa. For three years I lived and studied there before moving back home and finishing my bachelor’s in business management at Athens State University, with a minor in project management.

A career in property management was not on my radar at the time because I hadn’t been introduced to it. However, I’ve always had an interest in real estate and development. There’s something exciting about bringing your ideas to life and watching a city grow. There’s a lot of reward in being part of projects that help improve the community. My property management position has allowed me to work with a lot of excellent people in the Huntsville/Madison area. I’ve also been able to witness the building of several high-profile developments in the city.

How did you hear about the position at Crunkleton?

I went to high school with Shelby Smith who is another property manager here at Crunkleton. I was lucky enough to come into the business for a week of shadowing and I fell in love with it. I could see myself being good at property management and also enjoying it. The industry fits my interests and goals—it has been a great experience.

In your own words, what is property management?

Good question. I am the liaison between the landlords/building owners, vendors, and tenants. I act as a middleman who makes sure that properties and their tenants are always taken care of. It’s my responsibility to ensure that all parties involved have what they need to protect and enhance their investments.

At Crunkleton, we cover both the physical and financial management of properties. I work with a lot of vendors to make sure all maintenance and services are handled in a timely and cost-effective manner. There are a lot of vendors that we work with who we know fit particular properties and jobs. To sum it up, property management is being on-call to make sure a property is always running smoothly, issues are immediately handled, tenants are taken care of, and investments are secured.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Honestly, I enjoy the inspections of our properties. Being able to thoroughly investigate a site, make maintenance notes, and come up with solutions to be proactive rather than reactive is fun. I like challenges, so doing what I can to prevent issues before they arise is one of my favorite parts of the job. The part property managers play is an important one.

What are some of the greatest challenges you face?

With several properties under our care, it’s inevitable that I’ll have several requests come to me at once. I have to be able to delegate tasks and determine where the need is greatest. If it’s a safety issue or emergency situation, I address those first. But you have to be able to logically think through an ever-growing task list. And you have to tackle them aggressively.

Obviously, this is a job where I am required to learn something new every day. There are many facets of a property that you have to be on top of. Whether it’s HVAC, electrical, landscaping—you have to have a working knowledge of it all and be able to anticipate needs. But learning more is a challenge that I welcome. A lot of research goes into this position.

Mike enjoying a coffee at Honest Coffee Roasters. The shop is located at The Garage at Clinton Row, a property he manages.

What are some major properties that you are managing?

I have properties in South Huntsville, Downtown, Madison, and even one in Fort Payne. One of the most well-known sites is the Garage at Clinton Row in Downtown Huntsville where Honest Coffee Roasters, Caley Paige Home & Gifts, Elitaire Boutique, Roosevelt & Co., and the Self-Serve Drinkery are located.

Redstone Ridge Shopping Center on South Parkway is another one of mine. It’s where Chuck Wagon BBQ is located, among other retail tenants. I’m the main property manager at Legacy Marketplace in Jones Valley and Alabama Crossing Shopping Center in Fort Payne.

Williamsburg Plaza is one of my properties near Madison. It’s on Highway 72 and Nance Road where Bank Independent, Aspen Dental, and Club Pilates are located.

What are the benefits of having a property manager?

Upkeep of a property takes a lot of time and many landlords don’t have the ability to dedicate all of their time to maintenance, tenant inquiries, physical maintenance, and financial management. Hiring a property manager frees building owners to live their own lives while having a dedicated, reliable team member who takes care of everything day-to-day.

We also have a wide portfolio of vendors who we work with to ensure that clients are getting the most cost-effective services. All of our vendors are licensed and insured, which is collected before any project begins. We work as an advocate for the landlords and tenants so they can rest easy when issues arise.

At Crunkleton, we try our best to make everything personable. We genuinely want to help people be successful and grow. I’ve learned so much from my co-workers, and I can tell you that they are very dedicated to going above and beyond.

For someone interested in becoming a property manager, what skills do you think they need to have?

Communication skills are number one. You have to be confident and ready for anything. I would say you need to have a deep interest in the development and growth of an area. That’s what drew me into the business—the excitement, the buzz.

The city is growing and it’s very exciting to be a part of. You get to see real change in the city. I plan to learn more about the development side of the industry.

What are your interests outside of the office?

Football. Baseball. I’m about to get into fitness and wellness. Other than that, I have a very close family and we spend a lot of time together. I’m really lucky to have them around. In the summer, I play in an adult male fast-pitch baseball league with my uncle. My grandfather manages the team and I love my time with them.

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