Richard Fernandez is the President of the Aberdeen POA, which includes 26 sub associations consisting of 2,417 units on 1,400 acres in Boynton Beach, Florida. The Aberdeen community has between 4,000 to 5,000 residents and 183 acres of lakes. Originally from New York, Richard came down to South Florida in 1999 after retiring as the Vice President of Information Technology for a company in New York City. Richard and his wife, Lynn have lived in Aberdeen since moving to South Florida 15 years ago.
Richard enjoys playing golf and has been a Red Cross Volunteer for the last seven years where he is a DAT (Disaster Action Team Leader). He has helped local residents affected by fires and has been deployed to help with five national disasters, including Hurricane Sandy.
Richard’s involvement with the Aberdeen POA began when he put together a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) group for the community. From there, he served on the Advisory Board for seven years, Treasurer for one year, Vice President for one year and now as the President, a position he has held for the past three years.
This past week, I sat down with Richard to discuss his experiences working as the President of the Aberdeen POA.
Ashley: Aberdeen has 183 acres of lakes. Have you had any issues with lake erosion? If so, how did you handle this?
Richard: Yes, lake erosion is a major, ongoing problem for the community. We have actually created a lake shoreline committee to establish a plan and implement a solution. The solution has involved getting expert advice from engineers and replacing the shorelines over a seven year period. We have 26 sub associations so we devised a plan where we replace one community’s entire shoreline every season.
Seven years ago, we also installed a reclaimed water system in the lakes. This has saved the association a lot of money and water. Our irrigation systems use about one million gallons per day.
Ashley: Do you have any other committees besides the lake shoreline committee? How do you keep your committees effective?
Richard: Yes, we have 10 committees, which include: Internal Communications, Community Membership, Engineering, Financial & Insurance, Property Enhancement, Security, Lakes, Legal, Advisory Board and the ARB/Architectural Review Board committee. I believe our committees are very effective because we only have 2-3 people on each, one Chairperson and 1-2 members, which speeds up the decision making process. Each committee has a clear purpose and only one item in which they are responsible for. Also, the committee members must be qualified to serve on their designated committee. For example, the architectural review committee is made up of engineers.
Ashley: Do you have any outside resources that you find valuable to your association and to you as the President?
Richard: We are members of COBWRA (Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations) which has been an excellent resource for me and all the communities within Aberdeen. Frequently, COBWRA emails out information pertinent to our community and I share it with our residents. They also have informative monthly meetings, conduct seminars and educational events, which benefit all the residents of Aberdeen. I highly recommend becoming a part of your area’s coalition, if one is available.
Ashley: What advice would you share with other Board Members?
Richard: It is very important to treat your community association as you would any other business. You need to be fiscally responsible and have an organized plan and approach for any special projects that the association must undergo. It is also very important to know your Board Members’ individual strengths and weaknesses so you can run as an efficient team.
The Aberdeen POA has been managed by Lisa Teets of Campbell Property Management for 10 years.
“Richard is such an amazing President. He is fair, listens to what everyone has to say and always makes time for the residents. He has been such a wonderful person to work with. He runs the association like a business and it truly shows,” said Lisa.
“Meet the Director” is an ongoing series where we recognize an outstanding Director from a community association in South Florida.
Serving on the Board of a Community Association is a challenging and often thankless job. There are thousands of dedicated volunteers in South Florida that have stepped up to lead their communities and we hope this series serves as a reminder to us all – to thank those that have invested their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live.
by Ashley Dietz, Marketing Director, Campbell Property Management