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EastGroup Team Talks TOBY’s

“One of the biggest myths about entering your building(s) for TOBY’s is that it is very time consuming.”
Megan Tucciarelli, Property Manager, EastGroup Properties, Inc.


Having won the BOMA Orlando 2018 TOBY Award in the Industrial Category for Horizon Commerce Park, A1 Orange asked EastGroup’s Megan Tucciarelli and her property management team to talk about their experiences so far in the TOBY process. Getting 8 buildings on their property TOBY-ready seems like a big job, but they had fun and strongly encourage others — especially industrial managers — to enter the process next year!

1. Why did you decide to enter the 2018 TOBY Awards? How long did it take to get your property “TOBY-ready”?

I love the TOBY program and I have been looking forward to entering Horizon Commerce Park for a few years now. Since the buildings are relatively new, I had to wait until they met all criteria – 2018 was the year! I like to think that my buildings are always “TOBY-ready.” We gave our vendor partners plenty of time to put their “finishing touches” on the buildings before the inspection and it probably took us a week or two to get our presentation together.

2. People often think that entering the TOBY Awards is very time consuming – what did you get back for the extra effort?

Honestly, I think that is one of the biggest myths about entering your building(s) for TOBY. It really does not take that much extra time or effort – you most likely already have these practices in place. It takes a little time to gather the materials and prepare for the inspection, but the satisfaction of winning a TOBY makes the entire process worth it.

3. What does winning a TOBY Award mean to you and your team?

Winning the TOBY was a huge accomplishment for our team. It was also a great way to highlight our amazing BOMA vendor partners and all of their hard work that goes into maintaining the buildings. We could not have done this without them.

4. Based on your experiences, would you recommend that other property managers and engineers make the time investment to participate in their local TOBY Awards? If so, why?

1000% yes! I specifically want to encourage other industrial managers to enter their buildings. It is such a fun process and you learn so much. It is also a great opportunity to go over your practices/procedures/manuals and find areas that can be expanded or improved upon.

5. How are you preparing for the Savannah BOMA Southern Region TOBY Awards Competition in March?

Writing, writing, and more writing — because there is no site visit and everything must be communicated on the written application. My writing skills are a little rusty, as I have not written like this since college. It has been a tedious, but fun process. I am so grateful to all of the past Southern Region TOBY winners, as they have all so eager to help. We have a great network in BOMA Orlando!

6. Did you share this news with your tenants? How? Did they share the excitement? Will you include your TOBY win in marketing materials to tenants?

We notified our tenants at Horizon via an email after we won locally, they were all so excited for us!  We also had a few tenants volunteer to write a “letter of recognition,” that we included in our Southern Region write-up. Our TOBY win has been included in several marketing presentations so far. Fingers crossed we can add a BOMA Southern Region TOBY to our resume!

New Foundry Team Takes on Gateway Center & TOBY Awards

“If you’ve going to manage a property, why not follow the comprehensive guidelines available in the TOBY judging criteria? It’s a win for your team — whether you win a TOBY or not!” Alana Guinard, Foundry Commercial, Real Estate Manager

The Foundry Commercial property management team, led by Alana Guinard, won the BOMA Orlando TOBY Award in the 100,000 – 249,000 sq. ft. category. A1 Orange asked Alana to share Foundry’s TOBY preparation experience to encourage other property managers to enter the TOBY Awards in the future.

1. Why did you decide to enter the 2018 TOBY Awards?

When the engineers and I came together in 2017 as a new team at the Gateway Center, there were many things that we wanted to achieve operationally. We used the 2018 TOBY competition to give us focus and a deadline.

2. So you used the TOBY entry criteria as a checklist to organize your “plan of attack” operationally?

Yes! While the property was well maintained, as a new team, we wanted to review and update all policies and procedures in place. From day one at the Gateway Center, we began preparing the property by updating emergency and security procedures, engaging in energy efficient projects and coordinating tenant events – just to name a few. Entering Gateway Center in the TOBY competition challenged each member of the team.

3, What does winning a TOBY Award mean to you and your team?

Winning the TOBY Award was a great achievement for our team and vendors. It highlighted the Gateway Center as a Class A building — with an operations team that follows industry-best practices. Our vendor partners were recognized for their hard work and dedication to quality service.

4. Based on your experiences, would you recommend that other property managers and engineers make the time investment to participate in their local TOBY Awards? If so, why?

The time invested in TOBY preparation is valuable because the judging criteria actually serve as guidelines on what is expected in a well-maintained building. Everything that is done to prepare can only improve the operations of the building. I would highly recommend all property managers to enter their buildings. Even if you do not win, you will benefit greatly from the preparation and feedback from the judges.

5, How are you preparing for the Savannah BOMA Southern Region TOBY Awards Competition in March?

Southern Region is an online written submission. The judges for the Southern Region do not physically tour our building, so it important that we use our words to paint the picture. We are fortunate that BOMA Orlando has several past international winners who have volunteered to mentor us through the process.

Best of luck to Alana and the Gateway Center team as they prepare for the BOMA Southern Region TOBY judging process! A1 Orange is proud to be part of your amazing team.

Is BOMA 360 Designation in Your 2019 Plans?

As a BOMA 360 Ambassador and sponsor, A1 Orange agrees to serve as a resource on BOMA 360 to both current and prospective designees – promoting the program to our business partners and the industry.

You are probably aware that BOMA 360 is a commercial real estate designation developed by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and recognizes all-around excellence in building operations and management. The program benchmarks building performance in six key areas: operations and management; security and safety; training and education; energy; environment and sustainability; and tenant relations.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, nearly 1,900 BOMA 360 designations have been awarded. Currently there are 40 BOMA 360 certified buildings in Florida — and 27 of them are in A1 Orange’s business territory, from Tampa Bay, Orlando to Northeast Florida and in-between. As a BOMA 360 Ambassador, we are committed to promoting this program and providing services and programs to help more buildings earn this designation.

BOMA 360 buildings provide tremendous value to their tenants, instilling satisfaction and confidence by ensuring exceptional management, cost-effective operation and best-in-class service. In addition to well-deserved industry recognition, buildings that achieve the BOMA 360 designation also enjoy:

  • Measurable savings and operational efficiencies
  • Higher tenant satisfaction scores and retention rates
  • Higher rental rates than similar buildings without the designation
  • Full details on the BOMA 360 Performance Program can be found online here.

A1 Orange provides support and programs in meeting several of these requirements – to help keep or raise your building to BOMA 360 quality. We try to highlight our BOMA 360 services and programs on our website, in newsletters an emails with our BOMA 360 TIP logo at right. These include:

  • Products used for regular window cleaning and pressure cleaning are green
  • Upon request, A1 Orange can use certified green products like Green Seal
  • Opportunity to participate in OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week program, August 12-18, 2019
  • A1’s OSHA 1910 Compliance Program re: roof anchorage
  • Proactive maintenance planning for your property
  • Support BOMA educational programs, TOBY Awards and events – financially and as volunteers

For a FREE estimate, send a request or call us at (800) 874-6207