Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Teaching People to Fish -- AMG’s Paul and May Gayle Mengert BlendBusiness Skills with a Heart for Service to Empower Haitians in Need

     To succeed, you must first believe that you can. That’s what Paul and May Gayle Mengert, founders and top executives of AMG, Association Management Group, Inc., one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowners association managers, discovered was their volunteer mission: helping people in need believe they can succeed. Their area of focus? Haiti, a Caribbean country of 9.9 million people on 11,000 square miles on the island of Hispaniola.  Independent since 1804, it’s the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt, a country that soundly defeated three European nations:  Britain, Spain and France. 

     Like many, Paul first volunteered in Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, after the January 2010 earthquake that registered a catastrophic 7.0 on the Richter scale, claiming countless lives and leaving millions homeless and jobless. A commercial instrument-rated pilot and PTI (Piedmont Triad International) Airport Director and Treasurer, Paul joined the Haiti mission flights of Bahamas Habitat, an international service organization that partners with volunteer pilots and aviation industry professionals to provide dignified humanitarian outreach in the form of disaster relief and basic medical, economic, housing and other aid to the people of Haiti, The Bahamas and Mexico. In the last year he’s made three flights to a Cap Haitien orphanage that was caring for 30 children with no beds, unreliable water and electricity, no medicine and little food. Mengert and his mission co-pilot Sam Schoolfield, a US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, along with their wives and other volunteer pilots, delivered beds, clothing, food, soccer balls, board games and toys and, most recently, worked with local residents to complete repairs to the water pump. The Mengerts’ team also raised nearly $10,000 for Bahamas Habitat’s Haiti relief.  “We love being able to make a difference in children’s lives,” Paul observed. “We believe we’re helping create a culture of opportunity and success.” 
     The Mengerts thrive on going beyond serving and actually helping create something viable and sustainable. They have long been supporters of Rebuild Globally, a nonprofit started a few months after the earthquake which found that, once aid was delivered and basic food, water, shelter and medical needs were med, what Haitians really wanted–needed–was work Rebuild Globally builds social businesses to equip and empower vulnerable citizens around the world. Paul, now a board member, helps advise Haitian entrepreneurs at Port-au-Prince’s Deux Mains Designs, the for-profit arm of the organization that supports the fight against poverty in Haiti in the most dignified way. Deux Mains craftsmen and women create and sell authentic, handmade Love-Haiti sandals made from up-cycled tires and locally-sourced goat leather to merchandisers in the US, including clothing designer Kenneth Cole. Like the Mengerts, Cole was moved to action after the earthquake. He launched an in-store shoe drive, sending thousands of pairs of shoes to Haitians in need. Supporting Love-Haiti sandals is the latest in a long line of in-store fundraisers, employee volunteer trips to rebuild communities, opening a store in Haiti and endowing The Kenneth Cole Haiti Health Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cité Soleil.  “Paul’s generous and incredible willingness to fly manufacturing machines into Haiti has been absolutely imperative to help us meet our goals of employing people in Haiti,” said Rebuild Globally founder and CEO Julie Columbino. “Without that equipment, our craftsmen and women would not have the ability to produce sandals in an efficient manner that makes us competitive in the international sector.  With every bit of technology that we are able to implement into our model, we become more sustainable, ensuring families in Haiti have access to dignified employment. We have also been without electricity at times, which is absolutely detrimental to our production.  The generator that Paul flew in for us allows us to always stay open.”

      The support, attention and empowerment are working. Deux Mains has up-cycled nearly 9000 tires, employs more than 20 earthquake survivors and has grown sales 760% since its founding in 2010. First Lady Michelle Obama was featured on the August 2014 cover of Essence Magazine wearing a dress designed by Haitian American Azede Jean-Pierre, who made her official New York Fashion Week debut in September of 2013.
     Paul received the Order of The Long Leaf Pine from Governor Bev Perdue for his relief work in Haiti. The award inspires and encourages acts of kindness, charity and service to others by recognizing North Carolinians who have demonstrated exemplary service or made an exceptional contribution to the State or their communities. “Serving in Haiti is not easy because of the politics and logistics,” Paul remarked. "While donations are an immediate help and badly needed, learning a skill allows one to become self-sufficient without the need to rely on outside support. That’s what May Gayle and I enjoy: using our business skills not only to assist our community association clients but also to empower people in need."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paul Mengert of Greensboro/Winston-Salem HOA Management Company, Association Management Group, Receives 100% Satisfaction Rating

Mengert’s session on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of a community management company through better budgeting, management ethics, contracts, and team recruitment, training and retention scored a high rating of 100% overall satisfaction.  

(GREENSBORO, WINSTON-SALEM, NC) Paul Mengert, President of AMG, Association Management Group, one of the Carolinas’ largest professional homeowners association managers with five offices in North and South Carolina, was awarded high marks in a satisfaction survey evaluating his advanced class in community association management for the Community Associations Institute (CAI) in Houston, TX. He recently presented the continuing education course on management company administration to seasoned association management company managers and senior executives.  His session on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of a community management company through better budgeting, management ethics, contracts, and team recruitment, training and retention scored a high rating of 100% overall satisfaction. According to participants, the class was “One of the best I have taken,” “Absolutely a must for both new and established management companies” and “Very motivating.” Another called Mengert, “An excellent and informative facilitator who provided very good examples with the materials.”

“Our goal at AMG is to ensure community and homeowner associations and their member residents receive superior, reliable service and equitable treatment,” Mengert said. “It’s gratifying to learn that these best practices for operational excellence are helping make the jobs of our colleagues in the industry easier and more efficient and, ultimately, creating strong, healthy communities.” AMG is considered a national standard-bearer in the industry for best practices and technology; Mengert has taught dozens of both introductory and senior level courses through the years around the US.  

About AMG:  AMG is a professional community association management company dedicated to building effective community associations. AMG guides and assists executive boards to help protect the association's interests, enhance the lives of community members and improve the property values in the community. With offices throughout the Carolinas in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Raleigh NC, and Greenville and Aiken, SC, AMG is a knowledgeable partner in enforcing community governing documents with a proven set of processes and techniques, and supporting communities with a broad range of services which can be tailored to individual community needs. Association Management Group, Inc. is a locally Accredited Business by the BBB and is a nationally Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) by the Community Associations Institute. For more about AMG, visit

Paul K. Mengert

Please visit for the location of our office nearest you. Toll free telephone: (888)908-4AMG (Ext. 1102).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10 Tips on How to Be a Good Neighbor

                                               Paul Mengert, AMG Greensboro

Being on bad terms with your neighbor can make your life frustrating, day after day. But taking the time to establish good terms with your neighbors has numerous benefits. The community will be friendlier, the neighborhood safer, and the area a nicer and more comfortable place to live. A little consideration goes a long way.  Read the following tips on how to be a good neighbor beyond just a smile and a wave.

  •  Welcome any new neighbors with a personal note or pop by for a personal introduction.
  • Make sure that the outside of your home—along with the grounds—is well-kept and complies with our association’s CC&Rs.
  • Be mindful of noise—loud music, barking dogs, power tools—that may disrupt the neighborhood beyond a reasonable hour.
  • If you have a large party, consider your neighbors when directing your guests where to park, end the party at a reasonable hour and invite your neighbors to join in the fun.
  • Return anything you borrow from your neighbor promptly, in the same condition they lent it to you, and express your thanks.
  • Replace anything of your neighbor’s that you, your children or your pets break or soil.
  • Respect your neighbor’s privacy.
  • Offer to take care of mail pick-up, plants or pets while your neighbor is on vacation.
  • Be social! Inviting a neighbor over for coffee and conversation can promote open communication and a friendly neighborhood environment from which all neighbors can benefit.
  • Above all, touch base with your neighbors regularly and keep them in the loop. Remember the golden rule and if anything you are planning to do may affect them, minimize it and let them know in advance. Keep the channels of communication open by reminding them that if you're doing anything which disturbs them, they should feel comfortable approaching you about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Make Sure To Pay Your Property Tax On Time

When you buy a house or property, the mortgage company that holds your mortgage usually has an escrow account set up, which holds your monthly payment towards your homeowners insurance and property tax.  The standard procedure is for the mortgage lender to send you the money in a form of a check in December to pay your property tax. If you do not receive this check by the end of December, you should consult with your mortgage lender. The idea of paying your property taxes before the end of the year, means you can claim it on your current year's tax return that you will file in January or February. 

People expect to pay their property tax before the end of the year so they can take the tax as a deduction on their taxes. If you do not receive the payment before the end of the year, you will have to wait until the next filing season to claim your property tax, which means this year's property tax deduction is not available and therefore, you have one less deduction. This means a lot to people that rely on deductions to reduce their total tax liability. You can still claim your mortgage interest, but not the property tax. 

Some people do not have an escrow account set up by the mortgage lender for one reason or another. If you happen to be one who does not, you have to save the money yourself. This is sometimes very hard for people to do, especially if you are on a tight budget. You could wait until you receive a refund for your yearly tax returns, but you might miss the first installment date, which in most states is January 31. The second installment is then needed by the end of July. 

If you miss the first installment, you are not able to participate in the installment plan. You can still do it this way, but you will be charged a penalty and interest on the outstanding balance. Many people have found that the interest rate can accumulate quite rapidly if you do not have the funds available when needed. This can cause a strain with the county and the homeowner. The county wants their money. If you leave your property tax liability go to long, you might find yourself in quite a predicament. The county can and will come after your house for the money. 

It is always better to have some form of escrow account set up by your mortgage lender or by you, therefore, the money will always be available to pay the taxes. If you fall behind, it is very important to get caught up as soon as possible in order to prevent a lien being put against your property and risk an auction of said property to recoup the delinquent property taxes. Property taxes owed on a property never go away unless they are paid. Property owners need to plan ahead, especially if the mortgage lender does not provide an escrow account to save the money for you.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Moving/Relocating - Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

For any homeowner who has waited patiently for the real estate market to improve before putting a home up for sale, now is a great time to do so. After several sluggish years, home sales are experiencing a very healthy recovery. According to a 2013 article in The Washington Post, sales are up as much as 10 percent in some parts of the country.
But before you put the “for sale” sign in your front yard, take some time—and the following steps—to get your home ready to be viewed by real estate agents and potential homebuyers.

  •  De-clutter and de-personalize the interior by removing family photos, personal mementos and knickknacks from shelves and table tops. 
  •  Pay special attention to the kitchen: Remove small appliances, like toaster ovens and coffee makers, from counters. Take everything out of the cabinets and pantry and wash off shelves—or even repaint them—and only put a few items back. Arrange canned goods by size and height and spices alphabetically. Stack dishes, glasses and cups neatly.
  •  Clean out and rearrange closets and other storage areas so they look more spacious and not cramped. Hang clothing items by type, for instance, with shirts buttoned and facing in the same direction and shoes lined up in rows. If necessary, rent a storage unit for any overflow items.
  • Make minor repairs, like caulking tubs and showers, patching walls and replacing cracked tiles and grout. Wash windows inside and out, and repaint any uniquely painted inside walls so they are now a neutral color. Replace worn-out bedspreads, throw pillows, curtains or other fabrications. And air out the interior to eliminate any food or pet odors.
  • Make sure the lawn is mowed and bushes are trimmed, and place potted flowers on the porch and near the entry.

And don’t forget to check with the manager or board for rules about real estate signs.