Gordon Miller–Advice for Apartment Managers

Welcome to the blog. Can you tell us your name and any nicknames?
My name is Gordon C. Miller. While I have no preferential nickname, people have used many. In elementary school it was ‘Gordy’, in junior high school it was ‘GC’, and occasionally in high school ‘Gordo’. When I entered military service names were most often associated with rank held. Upon retirement as a CW4 (Chief Warrant Officer – 4) in the Army, many still refer to me as ‘Chief’.

Can you tell us how old you are?
My age is ‘Classified’ … just kidding. As a former MI professional, that’s Military Intelligence humor. In September I will be 48.

Tell us about your work history?
I retired after 28 years active service from the US Army. While retired from public service, I still work commercially. Monday thru Friday I babysit my grandchildren so their parents can afford to buy a home. All week long I serve as a ‘Resident Manager’ for the apartment complex my family lives in. On Friday and Saturday during the dinner rush I deliver for Domino’s, mostly because the money is good for the amount of labor that is required.

Can you tell us about a time in your military service that you could say “that was a good day?”
From my perspective, every day was a “good day” while I served. One event does come to mind that affected more than I would have realized at the time: Shortly before deploying to Iraq for the third time, I was promoted to CW3 at Fort Benning, Georgia. A team was sent before the deployment to figure out how to install “Red Dot” air-conditioning on our MI equipment without affecting their operations. I was ordered to assist the team by any possible means, which mostly consisted of keeping my soldiers out of their way. I left them to their task, but after two hours in the heat and humidity of Georgia I thought I should check on their progress. They were still scratching their heads and they took the time to describe the dilemma. My question was why use Red Dot and not normal A/C? They claimed ignorance that it didn’t exist or they might use it. I point out that the commercial variant of the military HMMWV was the H1 Hummer, which came standard with A/C. I then lifted the hood and showed that the brackets to attach A/C components to were already part of the A1 and A2 engine variants. I offered to go to NAPA and get them the parts required, estimating that total package would be around $5000, plus fabrication of ductworks absent in military vehicles. They declined but thanked me anyways. During my next deployment I noticed that many vehicles that had been equipped with GMC A/C and Red Dots (which cost $25,000 per vehicle) were being phased out or replaced. It wasn’t until after my fourth deployment to Iraq that I was reassigned to the Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM), part of the Army Material Command (AMC), at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD that I confirmed that the decision to convert the Army fleet of vehicles to standard GMC A/C was made right after that visit to Benning. Now, I’m not a big fan of ‘coincidence’, but to all the warfighters out their who benefited from working A/C … “You are welcome!”

That’s a wonderful story. Tell us where you live?
After retiring at Joint Base Lewis – McCord near Tacoma, WA my family and I moved to and now live in Grand Forks, North Dakota. This was to be near my wife’s family who desperately needed our support. My extended family includes both step-sons (one of which is married, has 3 kids, 2 of which I usually babysit), mother-in-law, and two aunts.

Can you tell us some interesting places you’ve visited?
Most of my “interesting places” involve the military and yes, some of them ARE classified, sorry. In 28 years I was stationed in Germany and saw a lot of Europe. While there the Gulf War started and I was deployed to Saudi Arabia. Over a decade later the War on Terror started and I was deployed to ‘combat operations’ five more times (officially). In all my travels I’ve visited about half the states in the US and eighteen foreign countries (no, passing through them does not count in my book, lol). While I still have North Carolina in my heart, at times it seems a distant memory. Nostalgia can be ugly at times.

Tell us about your favorite meal?
While I am fond of many, I don’t believe I have a favorite food. Like any Southerner, I don’t pass on BBQ and sweet iced tea when the opportunity presents itself, which can be rare up here in North Dakota.

Pet peeve?
My strongest “pet peeve” would be hypocrisy. I’m a firm believer in “my word is my bond” and “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Too often I run into contradictory people that condemn something one minute then condone it the next, usually for self serving purposes. Yep, definitely that would be my biggest peeve with society in general.

Favorite books or movies or TV shows?
Again, I’m fond of many things but I can’t really pin a favorite anything. I read as much as I can, with Economics and History subjects being at the top of the list, as they both define how we live, make a living, and how we got to where we are today. As for movies, I like war movies given my background in the military, and if I HAD to pick a favorite among them it would be “To Hell And Back,” about and starring Audie Murphy, a personal inspiration. As for TV shows, I sometimes watch the “classics” from my youth as pop culture nowadays is less appealing.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about where the world economy is heading?
To me, pessimism and optimism are two sides of the same subjective coin, with pros and cons for any given perspective. To be brief, the global economy is degrading FAST. This is the natural effect of disobedience to fundamental economics, the Natural Laws of Supply and Demand. Too many economists and political advisors are HUGE fans of Demand-side economics. The problem with this is by focusing on or arbitrarily imposing demands, supply suffers; either it diminishes or becomes unnecessarily expensive. As our country and most others have become very Demand-side oriented, we see the consequences and none of them are good or beneficial to the common man. I’ve lost count of the debates on this topic, but everyone who has taken up the cause of Demand has lost to the fundamentals. The ‘cure’ for these self inflicted wounds is Supply-side economic, which obey the Laws of Supply and Demand, but I’m not holding my breath for a return to what made our country the most prosperous on Earth in a relatively short amount of time.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?
Prayer is often welcome and if people wish to pray for me I always appreciate it. As I continue to seek the guidance and wisdom of the Lord, pray this for me and that my family be blessed with the same knowledge and wisdom.

Tell us about your family. Any pets?
I am married to a very wonderful woman, Amber, for the past ten years. I have five children, four daughters from two previous marriages, and my son with Amber along with two step-sons, and six grandchildren three of each). As much as I like dogs, we don’t have pets as I feel the constant moves and “apartment living” is rough enough on the family without tormenting an animal too. With all the family and grandkids, I believe I’ve got enough “companionship” for now.

Can you offer some advice for apartment managers?
Most of the best advice is proverbial, “Patience is a virtue.” When dealing with people in any capacity, especially service, it is good to learn and practice patience as too often people don’t take into consideration your time as being as valuable as theirs. Impatience is routine, so it is hard to not be impatient in return. Another great piece of advice is “emotional control.” Not so much overreacting, which is a given, but not reacting to common foibles encountered.

Anecdote: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Yesterday a tenant called to report that none of the washers in her building’s laundry room worked. I asked how she had determined this and was informed that she put $1.25 in each machine but they won’t start. Fair enough, but before I could ask a follow up question she related to me that she had put in one quarter at a time and pushed in the payment tray until she had deposited $1.25, on all three machines. I informed her that she was to fill the five empty slots with quarters before pushing the tray and they should work just fine. I did this tactfully and with all sincerity, as much as I just wanted to laugh at her expense. We have been Apartment Managers for just a few months, but between my wife and I we have enough stories of this type to fill a few hours. It is wrong to take the stance that “people are stupid”. Most people aren’t, but they fail to read or follow instructions or think things through before acting.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Like anyone else I’ve made time for various entertainments and diversions but none I am desperate to make a full time passion. Hopefully in the next ten years I can move into full blown retirement, spending more time with family and friends with the possibility of travel, seeing the sights in the other states I haven’t visited yet.

Gordon, thanks for sharing with us. May God bless and guide you and your family in your adventures.