Any experienced community manager knows the challenges that come with making necessary repairs following a disaster. Finding proper funding, ensuring proactive communication with residents and board members, and handling insurance claims can be extremely difficult. Disaster recovery efforts can become even more complicated in an increasingly challenging insurance market.  

Brian Pelkie, CMCA, AMS, had barely begun settling in to his new job when disaster struck in September 2022. Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida. Valencia on the Gulf (pictured above), a condominium community nestled on the normally picturesque beach in Venice, Fla., was among the many neighborhoods that got hammered by the Category 4 storm. The community’s flat roofs took the brunt of the damage. More than 45 units suffered severe flooding and required substantial repairs.  

Pelkie’s skills helped the community recover. “It took us forever to get an insurance settlement,” he says. “We finally had to get a public appraiser to come in and help us.”  

The community was able to replace its roofs thanks to a good settlement. Without that, the community could’ve struggled to recover. At the time, it didn’t have reserve funding. “(Roof repair costs) would have been coming out of homeowners’ pockets for the next 10 years,” says Pelkie.  Valencia on the Gulf was honored earlier this year as the CAI South Gulf Coast Chapter Community of the Year. Pelkie was recognized as manager of the year, with nominations citing his disaster recovery efforts.

Although Pelkie is a relative newcomer to community management, he has worked customer service jobs for 40 years, starting at a grocery store and transitioning to his own business in data and telephone installation. Upon moving to Florida a decade ago, a neighbor suggested he and his wife consider a career in community management. The couple completed some training and became state licensed. In Brian’s first year at a different community, he was nominated manager of the year.  

Under Pelkie’s leadership, Valencia on the Gulf is now building its structural integrity reserve funding in accordance with Florida law. As Valencia continues to face new hurdles, community members can rest assured they have a manager who can guide them to success. 

  • Hazel Siff

    Hazel Siff is associate editor at CAI. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara's communication department and worked as a student journalist at both UC Santa Barbara and Santa Monica College. Hazel has worked in print media, on multiple podcasts, and on a YouTube show. Originally from Western Massachusetts, she has spent the last several years living in Southern California.

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