It's been said that there is strength in numbers and there have long been organizations that strive to strengthen and clarify the roles of owners, residents, and managers in condos and co-ops. One vitally important professional—the superintendent—was the last to organize and gain representation. Today thanks to the work of the New York City Superintendents Technical Association (STA), the ones who keep the buildings running smoothly have a voice.
Work Boots 'n' Club Roots
The organization is quite large boasting a membership of about 150 “supers,” according to current STA president Peter Roach. Each month the non-profit group hosts free meetings where members network, discuss new regulations and share information about technology. Attendance at these meetings is strong and with around 30-35 seats filled each month. Additionally the organization publishes a bi-monthly trade publication called Super! The publication contains articles related to building systems, new technology and frequently discusses issues important to building superintendents such as security, management and training. Thousands of superintendents across the city read . In 2010 the STA launched its new website which contains links to educational videos and resources. The website keeps members up to date on the latest news and industry events. There is an instant feed on the website which keeps members abreast of breaking industry news. Also, the STA is using social media to reach out to it's membership. It has its own Facebook page, is on Twitter and on LinkedIn.
Thanks to the media age we live in all of these outreach tools are effective and beneficial to communicating with the membership. These outreach efforts are just the continuing story of the organization which began almost four decades ago. The story began with Dick Koral, director of the Apartment House Institute (AHI), a continuing education unit of New York City Technical College of the City University of New York. In the late 1970s, Koral, an engineering technician and expert on energy conservation, operation, and maintenance in multifamily dwellings, began teaching a group of supers the basics of running a building. Many supers were recent immigrants and knew very little about boilers or plumbing. Koral knew this was because of a simple lack of experience and education, not a lack of intelligence.
With grant funding from the now-defunct New York State Energy Office, Koral created the Los Supres Supers Technical Association, or STA. The group met each week in Williamsburg and discussed (with the help of a translator) topics chosen by members. The grant ran out a year later, and the group disbanded, but the seed of STA had been planted.
It was several years later, in 1998, that Koral founded the incarnation of the group that thrives today. Originally called The Supers Club, STA has grown steadily over the years with help from dedicated members who knew the concept, as well as the people involved, had great potential.