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C.I.A Services, Inc.
Systems. Structure. Stewards.
Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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Archived Newsletters

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions, and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.

September 2019
eNews Monthly
Anniversary Celebration
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35th Anniversary

You might be hearing some whoops and hollers coming from our offices this month as September marks our company’s 35th anniversary!  We are both proud and happy to be celebrating this benchmark of success.

It all started in the summer of 1984.  Four community volunteers were at their neighborhood pool and the idea of a new kind of management company was born.  They thought it could be done better.  Better by achieving results.   Better by managing instead of simply administering.  Better by being on the leading edge of technology.  And better by being cost-effective. 

On September 29, 1984, C.I.A. Services was created with the vision to provide guidance, support, and resources that make a positive impact on communities and the families that live in them.  They thought it could be done better – and they were right! 

Those four community volunteers were Ralph Troiano, Tina Jameson, Tony Victorino, and Cynthia Wood.  They were the first team at C.I.A. Services.  The team has continued to grow and today we have more than 100 employees.  All of our employees have worked very hard to get here and are very proud to be part of a company that on a daily basis supports the success of our communities and each other.

To mark the special occasion, employees and guests were invited on a 4-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico.  We had about 150 employees, friends and family join us for this magical weekend.  There was food, dancing, singing, fun, sun and more!  Everyone was invited to join the stockholders meeting held onboard and enjoy a special anniversary presentation. A great time was had by all.

We are very pleased to be moving into our 35th year of business and extend our sincere appreciation to all of our communities for being a part of our success.

"Nothing Happens Unless First a Dream"  ~ Carl Sandberg

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Times Have Changed

Over 35 years, a lot can change. C.I.A. Services has developed rapidly and witnessed a lot of changes and growth. Reflect with us!

C.I.A. Services was originally ran in a spare bedroom with barely 100 sq ft of space. Since then, we’ve expanded into 4 separate office locations and numerous onsite community offices. We began with only our 4 original founders, and now we have over 100 dedicated employees who make C.I.A. Services amazing.

In the past 35 years, there have been immeasurable amounts of technological innovations. In the beginning, C.I.A. Services used one original IBM PC with less than 1 megabyte of storage, all on floppy discs. Today, we are moving to a cloud-based virtual network with multiple servers and over 100 computers. Our software began as a generic accounting package, whereas today we have our own customized software, RedDog, developed by our President, Ralph Troiano. We’ve increasingly switched from boxes and boxes of paperwork to digital imaging of our important documents.

C.I.A. Services has developed so much in just these 35 years, and we are excited to see what the future holds.

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In Great Company

We are not alone in celebrating 35 this year!  We are in some great company.  Check out just a few of the things that debuted alongside C.I.A. Services.  

  • Transformers – these popular action figures rolled out Generation One which consisted of 29 figures, including the most famous of them all: Megatron.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the comic book went on sale this year and has gone on to inspire cartoons, movies, books, and more.
  • Tetris – first version released June 6, 1984 and some of us are still playing!
  • The Mac debuted on January 24, 1984 and Apple has gone on to be a huge success!
  • The MTV Video Music Awards premiered with Cyndi Lauper winning Best Female Video for Girls Just Want to Have Fun!
  • The popular software package The Print Shop allowed computer users to create cards and banners on their dot matrix printers.
  • Dell, known at the time as PC’s Unlimited began selling customizable PCs.
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1984 Was Such a Great Year

As we celebrate our anniversary, it is only natural to look back.  Here are some fun facts.  

  • The Los Angeles Raiders won Superbowl XVIII.
  • The Cosby Show debuted and was the 3rd top-rated TV show of the year; the 1st was Dynasty.
  • Album of the Year was Thriller by Michael Jackson
  • Prince’s When Doves Cry was #1 on Billboard’s Year-End Chart, followed by What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner.
  • The top 5 grossing movies of 1984 include: Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Karate Kid.
  • Wendy’s "Where’s the Beef?" and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s "I’ll be back" from The Terminator became very common quotes.
  • Cost of a first-class postage stamp was only 20 cents, today they’re almost triple that at 55 cents.
  • Cost of 1 gallon of milk was $1.10; today’s price is about $3.50.
  • Average household income was $21,600 compared to $63,688 as of January 2019.
  • Average new home price was $84,700.  Today’s average of $368,600 is over four times 1984’s rate!
Volunteer Spotlight
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Damon Ankenman of Westfield Glen
by Kristin Batts

Volunteerism is such a selfless act. It requires those select few to fulfill responsibilities for the best interest of others, and/or for the greater good. This is why I have selected Damon Ankenman with Westfield Glen Property Owners Association for September’s Volunteer Spotlight.

I have witnessed Damon manage the cohesiveness of the entire Board by committing to tasks outside the normal obligations of a board member. What is more impressive is his attentiveness to the continued upkeep of the community; Mr. Ankenman will walk the neighborhood picking up trash and monitoring the operation of Westfield Glen’s irrigation system.

He is the first to inform C.I.A. Services of any operational disruptions in the community and is willing to be hands-on with vendors to ensure resolution. He truly goes above and beyond to ensure his community is taken great care of!

We all have the ability to be a volunteer, but it takes an extremely dedicated person to be a star and deserving of spotlight recognition. Congratulations and thank you Damon!

Accomplishments
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Managers Receive International Designation

Kim Cowart and Valerie Lehr, Community Managers at our Humble Office, recently joined the elite group of community association managers who have earned the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM®) designation from Community Associations Institute (CAI). Mrs. Cowart and Mrs. Lehr are now a part of an international community of managers who have earned the highest level of professional recognition in the community association field.

Kim Cowart has been with C.I.A. Services since December 2013, and Valerie Lehr recently celebrated her 7 year anniversary with us. Both have immense experience in the industry and have managed multiple communities around Houston.

CAI is a national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. Over 50 million Americans live in the nation’s estimated 250,000 association-governed communities.

To apply for the PCAM designation, managers must have five years of community association management experience and completed more than 100 hours of course work. Upon approval of a PCAM application, the manager must participate in a case study of a real community association and compile a thesis style paper about their experience in that community while addressing certain questions posed by their instructor. This process takes about one month to complete. In addition, PCAM designees must fulfill continuing education and service requirements and adhere to a code of ethics. Both ladies will be recognized next spring at the CAI National Conference for their wonderful accomplishments.

Kim and Valerie join 3 other community managers at C.I.A. Services that have earned this remarkable accomplishment, and we are proud to add them to our growing list. Congratulations to them both!

Living Our Core Values
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What Passion Means to Me

Our company holds high regard for our core values. We refer to our core values as "SPECIAL," as each letter of that word represents a particular core value. As you may know, C.I.A. Services’ seven core values are:

  • Stewardship
  • Passion
  • Empathy
  • Community
  • Integrity
  • Awesomeness
  • Loyalty

In this edition and the upcoming editions of the eNews, we’d like to present our core values in a new way. We asked our employees to submit short articles about what a core value of their choice means to them, in both their personal and C.I.A. Services lives.

This month, we’re featuring the second letter of SPECIAL: Passion.

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Follow Your Passion and Success Will Follow You
by Kim Moore

What is Passion?  

Passion is about caring.  Passion is going above and beyond, doing more; not because you have to but because you want to.  It is what drives us to succeed and pursue excellence.

This month marks the 35th Anniversary of C.I.A. Services, Inc.  As we celebrate this amazing milestone, I cannot help but reflect on the “Passion” our Company has put forth in helping our community associations be successful over these years.  

I think you will agree, our passion shines through in the way we manage the communities that are entrusted to our care.  The four founders of our Company (Ralph Troiano, Tina Jameson, Tony Victorino, and Cynthia Wood) realized in 1984, in a community on the East side of Houston, that we could manage communities and do it better. We’ve strived since then to excel at everything we do!  

Our Company has always been an innovator and leader in the industry; well ahead of its time. Here are a few of the ways I feel we have stood out over 35 years:  

1. We provided online voting for elections well before the Texas Property Code required it.  This allows owners who want to participate in the election process to do so, regardless of their ability to attend the meeting in person.

2. Our Super Budget is light years ahead of anything else being done in the industry and truly helps our associations plan for those long term replacements and capital improvements in their community.  We are so passionate about helping our community leaders navigate the sometimes complicated path of preparing the budget each year that we held live seminars twice a year to teach board members the process.  Since then we progressed and taped a live, online seminar on everything concerning the Super Budget process and you can find that and many other important topics on our YouTube channel. 

3. The computer software (RedDog) that we use to manage Associations is by far the best software in the industry and just keeps getting better over the years.  It is customized in-house by our software developer, Ralph Troiano, and is refined multiple times per year solely on feedback from our employees and unique community needs.  If laws change and require a new approach in the way we operate, we don’t have to wait on a commercial software developer to provide an update, we are able to make the change quickly and efficiently.

4. The online Home Improvement Application process is a wonderful way that homeowners can submit their improvement requests for review electronically to reduce their wait time to begin their projects.  Ours is not just an online, fill-in-the-blank form.  Rather, the application asks questions specific to an owner’s specific project which helps ensure the required information is submitted the first time.

5. Our wonderful, user-friendly website, where we provide pages for each Association we manage, is a great way for communities to share much-needed information and tools to their residents for FREE. At a glance, residents can find out news and events of the community, read a community document, pay their assessments online, report a streetlight is out, contact management to report a problem, or find out information on utility providers in the area.

6. Our team concept of managing communities has been in place since the beginning.  Each community is assigned at a minimum: a Community Manager, Maintenance Coordinator, Assistant, Compliance Inspector, and multiple other in-office support staff to handle the day to day operations.  We have proven that this management model is extremely beneficial to ensuring we handle all aspects of management with excellence.  

I would be remiss if I did not mention how passionate C.I.A. Services has always been about the success of its employees as well.  I am one of many proven examples that our Company wants every employee to succeed and go as far as their heart’s desire.  I came to the Company in the Summer of 1998 as an Administrative Assistant.  I quickly rose to the position of Community Manager and then on to the Branch Manager of our Southwest Houston Office.  I then took on the role of Executive Vice President to help lead the Company into the future with my fellow Board Members and it has truly been a blessing.  I continue to learn and grow and know that the Company wants me and every other employee to soar to incredible heights.  

Another mechanism our Company developed to further the success of our employees is the “Employee Stock Owner Program” whereby every employee, upon their 5th year of employment, becomes a stockholder/partial owner of the Company.  Our philosophy has always been that of leaving a lasting legacy in the industry, not creating a company to sell off one day in the future.  To date, I am proud to say we have 43 employee stockholders!  This number represents approximately 42% of our total number of employees.  

I cannot wait to see what the next 35 years hold for us because I know it will be amazing!

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Defining Passion
by Holly Manuszak

The Merriam Webster definition of passion is: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

To me, Passion is the main catalyst for success. To stay passionate is to stay motivated to learn and evolve as an employee and company. To be passionate about your work is to care on a deep level about the job you are doing.

Passion is more than doing what is asked or expected, it is going above and beyond. Passion is not necessarily knowing the answers, but asking questions to better yourself and to be able to better serve others. Passion is helping a coworker because they are a part of your team and if they succeed, you succeed. Passion is caring about the quality of your work as it is a reflection of your work ethic.

Passion is contagious, and when you surround yourself with a team of passionate and motivated individuals you will achieve your goals.

Community of the Month
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We are proud of every one of our communities, so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • September - Cedar Springs Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn
  • August - Magnolia Heights Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Valerie Flinn
  • July - Ashcreek Homeowners Association - North Office - Kristin Taylor
  • June - Aliana Commercial Association - Southwest Houston Office - Deniece Reyes
  • May - Cinco Ranch Southwest Community Council - Humble Office - Kimberly Cowart
  • April - Lake McQueeney Las Brisas Homeowners Association - San Antonio Office - Summer Smith

To see the full story on these communities and to see all of the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our site.

Community Anniversaries
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Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in September.

  • Valley Lodge Property Owners Association — 26 years
  • Westfield Glen Property Owners Association — 19 years
  • Eldridge Park Village Community Association — 17 years
  • Woodforest North II Homeowners Association — 17 years
  • Clear Lake City Boulevard Association — 14 years
  • Fairway Place Homeowners Association — 12 years
  • New Forest Homeowners Association — 12 years
  • Westfield Forest Homeowners Association — 12 years
  • Lakeridge Homeowners Association — 7 years
  • Treasure Island Homeowners Association — 7 years
  • Rancho Verde Community Association — 5 years
  • Aliana Commercial Owners Association — 5 years
  • The Wilderness Oaks Owners Association — 2 years

Our goal has always been to create a positive, long term relationship with all of our client communities. We are very proud to be managing all of these communities.

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This September marks 5 years since the opening of our San Antonio Office. Because of this, we have a plethora of communities celebrating their 5th anniversary with us this month.

  • Bandera Landing Townhouse Owners Association
  • Country Commons Owners Association
  • Charro Legacy Trails Cell-4 Homeowners Association
  • Cedar Springs Homeowners Association
  • Crescent Sonterra Property Owners Association
  • Culebra Crossing Homeowners Association
  • Canyon View Association
  • Deer Hollow Homeowners Association
  • Deerfield Homeowners Association
  • El Sendero (San Antonio) Homeowners Association
  • Fieldstone Association
  • Hidden Heights Homeowners Association
  • HSE Homeowners Association
  • Horseshoe Oaks Homeowners Association
  • Magnolia Heights Homeowners Association
  • Northwest Park Homeowners Association
  • The Overlook Homeowners Association
  • Orsinger Lane Homeowners Association
  • The Oak Trail Homeowners Association
  • Pembroke Farms Homeowners Association
  • The San Antonio Pembroke Village Homeowners Association
  • Redland Oaks Homeowners Association
  • Redland Ranch Estates Homeowners Association
  • Retablo Ranch Owners Association
  • Redland Springs Association
  • San Antonio Oak Crest Homeowners Association
  • San Antonio Quail Ridge Homeowners Association
  • Shavano Forest Owners Association
  • Sierra Vista Homeowners Association
  • San Antonio St. James Place Homeowners Association
  • San Antonio Stonecrest at Lookout Canyon Homeowners Association
  • The Summit Mutual Amenities Association
  • Tezel Trails Homeowners Association
  • Twin Creek (San Antonio) Homeowners Association
  • Westover Forest Homeowners Association
  • The Woods at Fair Oaks Homeowners Association
  • Walden Meadows Homeowners Association
  • Westover Valley Homeowners Association

Thank you to all of these wonderful communities!

Seminar Series
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We offer each of our seminars in the form of a recorded webcast on demand for you to watch at any time! If you have missed a seminar, our seminars are available on our YouTube channel. The following seminars are now available:

Just go to our website, www.ciaservices.com, and click on the Resources tab. From there, select our Library and you will see the links to each webcast and other training materials or you can simply click on the links above.

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Associations in Practice Series

Our first video in the Associations in Practice Series covered Super-Budget ConceptsThis is a great introduction (or refresher) to The Super-Budgeting Process webinar offered in our Seminar Series.
 
Our latest addition to the Series is Short Term Rentals. In this video, we offer insight into short-term rental properties. We have an expert panel on board discussing everything from what a short-term rental is, to potential problems and possible solutions.
 
All of our Association in Practice Series videos will be available on our YouTube channel. We will send updates when new material is added. You can also subscribe to our channel for the news on the latest additions.
Employee Corner
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Employee Anniversaries

We love to celebrate special milestones with our employees. In the Employee Corner of each eNews issue, we will list all employees that have reached their one-year anniversary with our company. Additionally, we recognize stockholders on their anniversary month.  C.I.A. Services employees become stockholders after they have been employed for five years.

Ralph Troiano, president of the company, is celebrating 35 years since the creation of C.I.A. Services in 1984. Ralph is an approachable leader that provides expertise within and outside of the company. As the creator of our software, he continues to enhance it regularly, allowing the program to be more efficient and in turn enabling the company to provide outstanding service.  Ralph can frequently be found on the ice playing his favorite game of hockey!

Congratulations to Debra Bearden on her 7th anniversary! Debra is our Team Lead of Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable in our Bandera Office. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her two horses and two dogs and uses her free time to read and travel.

Deirdre Giampietro of our Humble Office is celebrating her one year anniversary this month! Deirdre is originally from Brooklyn, NY but has adapted well to Texas. She is a caring team player willing to help anyone in any way she can. She has 2 children who are active in extra-curricular activities which keeps her busy when not in the office.

Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions, and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.