Nearly every residential building in the city has one—they’re an integral part of all your building systems, a direct line of communication between your residents, your manager, and your board. They’re on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They know things nobody else knows, and can do things nobody else can do. They’re building supers, and they’re the backbone of the city’s thousands of multi-family buildings—co-ops, condos, and rentals alike.
Building supers here in New York are a breed unto themselves, and as such they have special interests, issues, and needs unlike those of building managers, groundskeepers, or janitorial staff members in other cities. To address this singular population, the Superintendents Technical Association (STA) of New York was founded in 1998.
The STA (formerly The Supers Club of New York) has gone through a number of incarnations over the years, but from the very beginning, the fundamental purpose of the organization is service to its membership. The group’s mission statement says it aims to provide “a society for building maintenance personnel—superintendents, handymen and porters, and others—in which to share expertise, learn about new equipment and maintenance procedures, to encourage each other toward greater professionalism, and to enable [them] to have their own industry organization and publications.”
According to current STA president and professional super Peter Grech, the group also set out to encourage and help groups in other cities to replicate the efforts of the STA. In addition, according to the STA mission statement, the group is committed to expanding its philosophy “to bring dignity and respect to the building maintenance profession…and to help our members learn of the latest processes in use in our profession—especially computers and the Internet.”
According to former STA secretary Dick Koral, “With significant exceptions, multifamily building management invests very little in the education and training of its workforce. Except in the case of some luxury buildings, maintenance personnel are recruited from among the least educated, least-trained sectors of the population, paid the lowest wages possible, and almost no effort is made to educate or train them [after they’re hired.] This policy may be penny-wise, but it’s pound-foolish.”