Bill Morris in Building Operations on February 16, 2023
Frank Gonzalez and Edin Bojic first met at Aviation High School in Queens, and they’ve been resident managers in big New York City buildings for well over half a century combined. For the past year, they’ve been making their wealth of knowledge available to everyone — fellow resident managers, co-op and condo boards, property managers and other real estate professionals — through a popular weekly podcast called “Building Talk.” It’s posted on YouTube at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and on Spotify at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. Back episodes are available here.
“We’re trying to raise the image of the resident manager,” says Bojic, 58, a native of Montenegro (part of the former Yugoslavia) who goes by Bo. “We want to get rid of the old image of the super as a guy with a ring of 100 keys who lives in the basement.”
“Keeping up with the changes in the technology that come out every year requires that we’re always learning,” Gonzalez adds by way of explaining the podcast’s educational slant.
Gonzalez is now resident manager at a 625-unit condo and rental building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, while Bojic runs a 600-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. On the podcast they’ve offered advice to colleagues on everything from interviewing job candidates to resolving conflicts with residents and board members ; they’ve interviewed fellow resident managers and numerous vendors; and their conversations have ranged over landscaping, fire prevention, pest extermination, security systems, leak detection and improving a building’s energy efficiency.
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Frank and Bo are an echo of Click and Clack from the popular NPR radio show, “Car Talk.” Like their predecessors, Frank and Bo mix avuncular banter with their hard-won insights, an appealing mix that caught the eye of Bobby Hodge, the resident manager at the Bay Club Condominium in Bayside, Queens. He tuned in to “Building Talk” one day when the guest was Jerry Kestenbaum, founder of BuildingLink. Kestenbaum was touting his spinoff company, Aware Buildings, which produces sensors that can detect leaks and alert staff before major damage occurs. Hodge was intrigued because Bay Club, with its large indoor swimming pool, 44 laundry rooms, water storage tanks and domestic hot water tank, has abundant potential for leaks. Hodge got in touch with Aware Buildings, which helped him install some test sensors. The very next day, one of them alerted him to a leak in an overhead pipe that ran to the domestic hot water tank. After the faulty pipe was quickly repaired, the condo board ordered 84 sensors, which Hodge has installed in potential trouble spots.
Much as co-op and condo board members bemoan their mushrooming work loads, Frank and Bo say resident managers are besieged by the city’s endless onslaught of new laws and regulations. “New York City is reactive, not proactive,” Bo says. “If there’s an accident where someone gets hurt, I know there’s going to be a new local law. There are new laws every year, and the resident manager has to interpret what’s going to work best for his building.”
The biggest change in the profession in recent years? “You have to be a psychotherapist, a psychologist and the customer service department,” Frank says with a laugh. “But mainly it’s the changing technology. Now everyone’s more energy conscious and they want to be more energy efficient. Technology changes every single day.”
Bo agrees: “Technology, definitely. There’s so much information that you’re constantly asking, is everything sealed properly? Is everything working properly?”
Is “Building Talk” working properly?
“This is the first podcast of its kind in New York City,” Bo says. “And yes, we’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”
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Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.