Since starting at The Lord Jeffery Inn in 2014, our Chief Engineer, Chris Newman, has become an integral part of everyday life here in our corner of Amherst. We sat down with Chris earlier this month to find out a bit more about how he keeps things running here at “The Jeff”, what matters most to him, and advice for anyone thinking about entering into property management.
The Inn was built in 1926. With a historical building like ours, does that offer any challenges?
With an Inn and location as beautiful as The Lord Jeffery Inn, there really isn’t any challenges. Its historical lore is what attracts so many people to the Inn. As soon as you enter the lobby, you are just overwhelmed and transformed back in time. Our goal is making sure that everyone has an excellent experience when they arrive in the building. From the moment they walk through the door to the time spent in their room, we try to keep the Inn as pristine as possible so that the experience is memorable.
What are you most passionate about?
My health first and foremost; this is a lifelong journey. Everyone who knows me knows that I have oatmeal for breakfast and a salad for lunch every day and have been doing this for the last 15 years.
You are responsible for the safety of the building and the people in it, meaning you have to be prepared for all possible worst-case scenarios, including natural disasters, hurricanes, blizzards, and fire prevention, just to name a few. How do you stay prepared, stay calm, and keep the staff properly trained?
Behind the scenes, I am constantly keeping up to date with the latest information handed down from our safety leaders. Attending monthly webinars to reviewing safety manuals and conducting audits throughout the month all help to keep me on my toes. Relationships with Amherst College help us tremendously as well. Safety is top of mind every day and we try to keep the staff engaged.
What advice would you give to aspiring property management professionals?
Early in my career, I tried to learn from everyone and anyone I came in contact with. I listened more than I talked and came to work every day wanting to learn something new. If I didn’t know much about a particular trade, I would seek out that tradesperson, and I would work side by side with them and absorb as I could from them. I spent much of my career in the healthcare industry working in an environment that also provided monthly management skills training, so I was able to hone in on these skills as well as my trades at the same time. Doing this for over 18 years for one employer allowed me to adapt both my managerial and trade skills to a whole new level.
What is one thing people should know about you but don’t?
Oh man, so I am such a private person that this seems like a difficult question to answer. However, I absolutely love the water and anything associated with the ocean. I have been going to the ocean since I was a child and find it relaxing every time I am there. I especially love going with my wife and kids every moment I have, and when I can’t make it to the ocean, you will find me on my boat out on the Oxbow off of the Connecticut River.