James Williams ’20 Property Manager at B.E Property Management – I would first like to thank Wabash College for the numerous opportunities placed upon me to excel and grow as a person. Being a member of the 2016 WLAIP program allowed me to choose a fully paid internship for the 2017 summer of my choice. An extraordinary opportunity, I pondered where I should partake my internship at. Being from South Bend, IN I had made networking connection that lead me to secure a potion as a Property Manager over Irish Crossings of Notre Dame through B.E. Property Management.

When asked if I was interested in this position, I felt that it did not fit my personality, and was unsure of what skills I would be able to build. However, after speaking and meeting with Lisa Brunner, the owner of B.E. Property management, she quickly reassured that I would learn many new skills and this opportunity challenge me and help me grow as an individual.

In the first weeks of my summer internship, I found out Mrs. Brunner was correct in every way possible. After being given the agenda for the week, I thought the next few days would be simple. However, it was not until performing these activities as well as managing 2 crews that I knew that this was going to be much more difficult than I had thought. The most difficult thing I faced was trying to manage two crews comprised of many people with different attitudes and personalities. Managing, teaching, and learning side-by-side with these individuals really helped develop my patience as well as my communication and team building-skills. Being the youngest property manager is most definitely difficult, but with developing my leadership skills at Wabash prior to this experience definitely had an impact on my work, as I feel that I could accomplish that of what older managers do.

My favorite skill that I have encountered thus far would have to be the mastering of a zero-turn Mower. The zero-turn mower is our main mower equipped with a grass striping kit to make the lines in the grass defined and noticeable. By my second week of cutting grass, I was encouraged to cut the grass more often due to my fine lining of the grass.

One thing I have learned thus far, is that it is important to remember people’s preferences when managing their landscape. For example, many older residents like longer grass around four inches long, where younger residents prefer their grass to be around two inches. Typically, we like to meet them right in the middle and keep the grass at 3 inches in order to meet the preferences of both demographics, while keeping the grass looking even. Another thing I have learned is to get to know the people you work with. One of my crew workers prefers to be called by a different name, and by doing this we have been able to develop a relationship and we feel more comfortable with each other. Keeping people’s preferences in mind is important so they know you care about them.

One thing that has really opened my eyes during this internship is seeing peoples burning desire to work. Some of my crew members are faced with difficult situations, such as having no ride to work, or no one to watch their kid, but somehow can always show up on time and be willing to work hard. Seeing their smiling faces even in times of adversity really made me appreciate them and encouraged me to be the best I could be.

I have really enjoyed my time as a property manager because it has given me an opportunity to tackle many different tasks. I have done irrigation systems, lawn care, resident care, and billing/filing. I never had thought being a property manager at Notre Dame would teach me such a diverse set of skills, which have encouraged me to be a better leader, manager, and person.

Again, I would like to thank Wabash College, IU Health, and B.E. Property for this great opportunity to learn, grow, and excel as a person. Thank you!