Every day, resident manager Peter Grech runs a building systems check, makes himself available for the residents to ask questions or let him know if there are any problems, and holds brief meetings with his handymen and other staff members. Once this is done, he makes his necessary phone calls and then visits apartments that are under construction to make sure they are compliant with the local laws. He also holds weekly meetings and is responsible for numerous reports and paperwork.
In the past, the responsibilities of a super or resident manager could have been described as ‘it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.” Grech gets his hands dirty from time to time, but nothing compared to the way a super’s job used to be when he started in this industry. Think back to how supers were portrayed just several decades ago on television or in movies. They were the guys with the huge crowded key ring who were greased up and dirty from the repairs they made. They didn’t really have authority to do more than basic repairs. Times have changed.
“The super’s job has evolved from the ‘doing’ to the ‘overseeing,’” says Grech, resident manager of 310 East 46th Street, which is comprised of 350 apartments. He is responsible for overseeing 12 staff members. “In the past, the supers were working supers, but everything has moved more towards administration. Gone are the days of the old janitor, tool pouch and key ring. Today, a resident manager only has three keys—one to the office, a master key for the apartments and a key to his own apartment.”
James Brennan has been in the industry since he was a young boy of 17. Sixteen years later, he’s a resident manager with Douglas Elliman at a Fifth Avenue residential building. Born into the industry, his father, uncles and other family members all have had long resident manager careers. “My favorite part of what I do is that I’m not in a cubicle all day,” he says. “It’s never dull or boring and it keeps you on your toes.”
Kyle Bragg, secretary treasurer, director of residential divisions with the 32BJ Training Fund, has been with the union for 31years and has seen many changes. “Some of those changes have been dramatic, some not so dramatic,” he says. “For the good of the industry and the environment, green technology is one of the better changes we’ve seen over the years. The industry is using more environmentally-friendly energy sources. When I started, we were burning with No. 6 oil and it emitted a lot of bad fumes. They’ve gotten away from that and are using clean gas now.”