By Kiara Candelaria
©2021 Community Associations Institute
MICHAEL D. JOHNSON, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CEO of HOALiving, AAMC, in Draper, Utah, has been in community association management for 22 years. He initially worked in marketing and public relations at a Salt Lake City-based computer game developer Until the company's acquisition in 1999. Johnson founded FCS Community Management (part of HOALiving) that same year while serving as board president of his homeowners association and realizing he could manage communities professionally. He is a founder of the CAI Utah Chapter, serves on the states legislative action committee, and is a member of the CAI education faculty. Johnson is the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, a recognition of his long-term dedication to CAI and community associations. Last year, he created a COVID-19 reopening guide to benefit members who were adjusting community operations during the pandemic. —Interview by Kiara Candelaria
What stands out about your work with community associations?
When I was a board president, I looked for ways that we could contribute to the surrounding community. Community associations are little municipalities that allow decision-making on a micro level. Those that are well-managed will likely be more involved with their community and bring ideas that improve livability in their areas.
Why do you volunteer with CAI?
It has given me the opportunity to improve my craft so that my company, employees, and homeowners have the best experience possible. That leads to CAI's mission of building better communities. I feel that CAI members are becoming community leaders who can make a difference and that the community association housing model can help solve many problems with the affordable housing shortage in the U.S.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a CAI member?
Getting recognition on all political levels that we, as an industry, can bring solutions and are willing participants in the process. I think our visibility is at an all-time high because we're being contacted by legislators and asked for input.
Why should CAI members become involved with the organization?
There's strength in numbers. As smart as any of us are individually, we're better working together to come to a solution. Getting involved with a local chapter, state legislative action committee, or the education faculty gives opportunities for collaboration, networking, and problem-solving.
How can community management be elevated as a career?
By providing a place where managers want to work and covering their professional development costs. It's also about educating people that this profession exists. This is a thriving industry where many can have fulfilling and prosperous careers.
How can some of the challenges of being a community manager be overcome?
The pandemic has helped us see the need for work-life balance more than ever before, especially to reduce manager turnover. Going forward, management company executives need to be willing to stand up to associations that don't respect the boundaries and work-life balance of their managers. We need to take care of our people.
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