Message from The Tower Companies’ Jeffrey S. Abramson
In December we gathered our employees for a year-end celebration. It was the most heartwarming experience, in recent years, I can remember. Why? Well, my 94-year-old dad, Albert Abramson, who founded The Tower Companies over 65 years ago, and other family members, were in the audience. Dad listened intently to these dynamic men and women sharing their accomplishments throughout the year to deliver to you, our customers, the healthiest, LEED certified and Energy Star rated commercial and residential properties in the market, and to deliver to us a successful enterprise! gathered our employees for a year-end celebration.
The Tower Team (Team Tower) exhibited humor and candor as they shared personal stories about their colleagues and families, challenges and accomplishments; all beyond what my father could have ever envisioned when he started the company as a young veteran in 1947.
So, we’re launching “Inside Tower,” an online newsletter, brought to you throughout the year, to highlight the wonderful men and women whose dedication help make all of us a success!
I would like to thank Anne Abramson, my brother Ronald’s wife, for suggesting, “Inside Tower,” Gina Beckmann and Linda Schoengold, for organizing a classy and fun end-of-year event, and to all Tower employees, from our family to yours, our sincerest appreciation for your achievements, creativity and commitment.
Finally, to you, our clients, thank you for choosing The Tower Companies for your residential and commercial sustainable property solutions.
With best regards,
Jeffrey S. Abramson
Tower Companies Announces 2011 Transcend Awards
The Transcend Awards have become an exciting and meaningful Tower family tradition. Previous recipients of the Transcend Award include Rory Dechowitz and Ramiro Vergara and we also recognized the outstanding achievements of Ronald Totress, Marvin Atwell, Jared Gigliotti, and Ed Murn.
2011 was another great year with some exceptional achievements by individuals who helped maintain Tower’s commitment to service and excellence. Winners each received a plaque and $500. Congratulations to Tower’s 2011 Transcend Award winners!
Eugenia Gregorio and Marvin Atwell
Special Recognition to The Turnover and I.S. Teams Beth Hasson, Cassandra Drinnon, Brian Abramson, Ed Murn, Jose Amaya, Jonathan Laukhuf, Rodney Atwell, Saujanya Bhattarai, Jake Kamon, Jose Umanzor, Jason Faunteroy, Huy Nguyen, Ramiro Vergara, Raju Luitel, Umesh Upreti and Jerry Freed.
Tower Ranks #16 on EPA 2012 Green Power Partnership 100% Green Power Purchasers List EPA just released their 2012 Green Power Partnership Report, and Tower is ranked number 16 for purchasing 80,500,000 kWh of wind-generated energy credits (RECs), ahead of ING, Port of Portland and Nokia. Green power purchases help reduce the environmental impacts of electricity use and support the development of new renewable generation capacity nationwide. In 2003 and 2006 Tower received EPA Green Power Leadership Award.
And on a personal note…
At the Blairs — Beth Hasson will soon give birth to her first baby in February, Jared Gigliotti got engaged, Raju Luitel married Nisha Dahal, a Blairs associate, Jose Amaya became a father in 2011, and Cassandra Drinnon had her second baby.
At Tower Corporate Offices – Eugenia Gregorio started grad school part-time, Nichelle Hicks got married, Rory Dechowitz’ two oldest children, Brett and Kelly, got married in 2011, Brian Abramson announced he will have his 2nd child in 2012, Ina Goldstein’s daughter got married, Mike & Ana Tyler are expecting and Gina Beckmann’s daughter, Lynn, graduated from college!
And now from our team…
David Borchardt, PE, CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER, LEED AP BD+C
At The Blairs we
Renewed 100 Balconies at House and East
Renovated nearly 200 apartments into Ecopads®
Replaced 36,000 sq ft of carpet and painted 120,000 SF of hallways. To put this into perspective, this is nearly 3 football fields or 2.25 soccer pitches; football fields do not have residents or doors. We probably inconvenienced every resident at the Blairs at least once. This just kept the Blairs staff real busy! And, at 1828 L Street, we renovated the main lobby and storefront, so our Property Managers were also busy with clients.
We achieved 4 more LEED certifications bringing Tower’s total to 11.
We achieved LEED for Existing Buildings (EB) at 1707 L, 1828 L and Blair Towns, which was the first EB Multifamily Platinum in the world! Working with Ellen Lederle, we achieved our first LEED Commercial Interior at 1909 L Street.
For the 3rd year in a row, we earned Energy Star at 1828 L, 1909 K, and Tower 1.
Luann S. Sinclair, GENERAL COUNSEL and LEED® Accredited Professional
We worked on approximately 28 leases covering approximately 224,000 rentable SF: 51,448 rentable SF in 1707 L Street, 38,036 rentable SF in 1828 L Street, 76,307 rentable SF in 1909 K Street, 3,250 SF in Blair Office Building and 54, 155 rentable SF in Tower I.
We entered into new leases with 7 new tenants at 1707 L, 3 new tenants at 1828 L, 4 new tenants at 1909 K and 1 new tenant at Tower I Existing Tenants’ moves, expansions and lease extensions were all documented by lease amendments prepared by the legal group. We also worked on 4 loan transactions to secure financing for Tower’s projects. And, on a daily basis, we review vendor and other third party contracts and answer miscellaneous legal questions as they arise.
Beth Hasson, TURNOVER MANAGER, LEED Green Associate
In 2011, we turned over 566 apartments, 193 of which were renovated into Ecopads®, and completed it within 7 months! The beginning of this year, we were doing what we call the “Ronnie Beth Turns” and I remember when Ed, Brian and Jeffrey came to me and said, “Ya know what…We’ve decided to have you take on all the renovations of the Ecopads® and all I kept thinking was…”Hey guys, I’m pregnant.” But we did it! The team did an amazing job and is ready to do 250 in 2012. We have an awesome team and I can’t thank them enough for everything.
Ed Murn, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, The Blairs Campus Redevelopment
Not sexy but necessary! In 2011, we touched up balcony railings in 52 units at the beginning of the year, painted everyone’s apartment door while we were painting the hallways and installed submeters in the kitchens of every unit.
In 2012, we’ll be painting the doors and hallways of Blair House, Blair Plaza and Blair Towers, install the Verizon FiOS product to Blair House and Blair Plaza, and lastly I will install the submeters to all the units in Blair House and Blair Plaza. That’s over 2,200 jobs in occupied units. That will keep the property managers pretty busy.
At Blair House, I’ll add a clubroom, business center, and outdoor amenity area, renovate the fitness center & lobby while doing more unit renovations in Blair House.
It’s been a great year at The Blairs. I thank the property management for their help and really look forward to what will accomplish together in 2012.
Sam Hilderbrand, ASSOCIATE PROPERTY MANAGER
In February, we subscribed to a safety-training program. This program offers a wide variety of 60 topics, training our Engineers and Maintenance Technicians to use equipment and perform tasks safely, as well as comply with OSHA regulations.
On the commercial properties, we achieved an accident free work place in 2011 and we
anticipate training more staff this year.
We have successfully expanded use of our existing software, found ways to utilize more of Workspeed and with the assistance of the IS Department we are creating new ways to monitor contract expiration dates and reports to better assist in maintaining our records and notifications, within Yardi. Thank you Raju!!!!
We are working with the IS Department, to develop a similar system tracking boiler certificates, elevator certificates, business licenses, underground storage tanks and others.
These systems will replace spreadsheets and calendars and are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient. And as Jeffrey can confirm, just from looking at my workspace, we have made great strides in paper reduction.
Debbie Webb, DIRECTOR OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
We’ve had a busy year of improvements, heavily devoted in Property Management and Engineering to the “back of the house”. Approximately 47 years worth of outdated stock, clutter and abandoned wires and cabling was removed. This helped us to organize, become extremely efficient and develop a stronger sense of team pride in our buildings. It’s so clean that literally, you can eat off the floor of any utility room you enter. It’s always in show condition. We thank our Engineers who worked tirelessly to make this happen and the commitment from our owners to make this happen which was no small feat.
Merri Hardy and Ina Goldstein, ACCOUNTING AND TAX DEPARTMENTS
To prove accountants aren’t always serious and only think about numbers, we prepared a little Q and A game to share our 2011 achievements and fun facts.
Who calculated to discover they save 4,672 pieces of paper a MONTH now that we’ve switched to Yardi? Subodh Dhakal
Who said…after 35 years we finally put vacation and sick time on all employees’ paystubs? Gail O’Donovan
Who expanded the Maharishi Management Grads education to include American activities, such as…going bowling and playing football in the parking lot? Jason Balzer
Lastly…if you add up all the years of dedication given to Tower by the accounting and tax departments, how many years would they represent? Keep in mind, we have the longest working employee, but we also have one of the newest hires as well!
Total = 232 years
Ok…maybe we are always thinking about numbers!!!
Umesh Upreti, INFORMATION SYSTEMS DEPARTMENT
2011 has been great year for us. We have continued to introduce more and more technology into our work, making things digital and in order to reduce paper usage.
We now host our own mail, print and blackberry servers and document locator to secure them and make sure they are operating properly.
Our IT guru, Miro went from a one man IT department to a team of 4. I would like to share one quick IT joke that our professor shared with us when I was in MUM University back in IOWA.
He said, if you want to be secured (in terms of hacking, identity theft, credit card stolen stuff), he suggested to do following things.
1. Never buy a computer.
2. Even if you buy one, never turn it on and
3. Even if you turn it on, never join your computer to the network.
This is so true, but we are living in the age of Google, Facebook and Twitter and the joke doesn’t seem practical. Being an IT professional, our job is to make our network and servers secure from attack and keep them functioning 24×7.
On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for supporting us to make everything we did possible. I would also like to thank Miro for his continuous support and help. I would like to thank Rory, Jeffrey and entire Abramson Family for their encouragement and support.