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The Magazine of Military Housing, Lodging & Lifestyles

communities September/october 2013

A Model for a Modern Military Contemporary housing options appeal to new residents

Overhead vs. underground power lines page 6

Special section: Privatized and Traditional Housing & Lodging page 8

Tips for becoming a better leader page 32






8 29 8


A Model for a Modern Military

Model homes offer a solution for privatized housing communities looking to attract new residents. By Christina Meyer

Panic to Possible


Here’s why disaster planning should be at the forefront of your contingency plans. By Gina Dolezal

The Steel Choice

Alterations in design and engineering have brought steel furniture into the modern age. By Dustin Coleman

Back to the Future

A $17 million facility improvement plan on Marine Corps Base Quantico brought the historical site into the 21st century. By Ted G. Fery, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Streamlining Remodels

Tierra Vista relies on Miracle Method refinishing to save time and money and deliver quality for military families. By Derek Jones

Beat the Heat

With record high temperatures extending into the late summer and early fall, make sure you have a heat safety program in place. By Dixie Lanier Johnson

Top-Notch Lodging

Air Force Inns exist on nearly every Air Force installation and provide excellent accommodations for all types of Department of Defense travelers. By Gary DeRouen

New Chief of Army Housing

Meet Suzanne Harrison, Chief, Army Housing Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, Headquarters Department of the Army. By Zeli King


Top 22 Leadership Takeaways

Here are the top insights for becoming a more memorable leader. By Mark Towers

Operation Homefront

Meritage Homes has teamed up with Operation Homefront to provide three mortgage-free homes to select military families this year. Adapted from a Press Release

2  Defense Communities



The Magazine of Military Housing, Lodging & Lifestyles

September/October 2013 u Volume 24, Number 5 u

communities A Publication of the Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Man­age­ment Association Publisher Editor Managing Editor Production Assoc. Art Director Ad Sales Manager

Publishing Offices Stratton Publishing & Mar­ket­ing Inc. 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510 Alexandria, VA 22312-2334 703/914-9200; fax 703/914-6777

38 37 G  rand Opening of Fort Sill Community Center

The new 9,500-square-foot Southern Plains Community Center offers several first-class amenities for on-post residents. Adapted from a Press Release


The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is providing more than 2,000 students with financial aid to attend college or vocational and technical programs in 2013-2014. By Margaret B. Davis

40 C  orvias Donates AmTryke to Fort Sill Resident

A young teen resident was selected as the recipient of a therapeutic tricycle. Adapted from a Press Release

DEPARTMENTS President’s Message 4

PHMA President Del Eulberg provides highlights from the June 2013 Board of Directors meeting.

6 From the Expert

Frank Kaleba, PE, compares underground and overhead power lines.

42 Military Marketplace 44 PHMA Corporate




A Model for a Modern Military

Sustaining Members

52 Advertising Index

Contemporary housing options appeal to new residents

2013 PHMA scholarship winners announced page X

Special section: Privatized and Traditional Housing & Lodging page 10

Tips for becoming a better leader page 34

ABOUT THE COVER Model units, like this one featuring CORT furniture, are revolutionizing privatized housing.

Advertising Sales Manager Alison Bashian Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc. 800/335-7500; fax 440/232-0398 Editorial Office 544 Windspirit Circle, Prescott, AZ 86303 928/771-9826 phmadefensecommunities@ PHMA Office 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 703/771-1888; fax 703/771-0299

A Good Cause


Debra J. Stratton Birgitt Seymour Lia Dangelico Christine Umbrell Janelle Welch Alison Bashian

Please send your articles for Defense Communities to Birgitt Seymour at NEXT EDITORIAL DEADLINEs:

January/February – November 5

Executive Director Jon R. Moore Defense Communities (ISSN #1088-9000 USPS #004-502) is pub­lished bi­month­ly by Stratton Pub­lish­ing & Mar­ket­ing Inc., 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22312-2334, for the Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176. PHMA mem­bers re­ceive this pub­li­ca­tion at the an­nu­al sub­scrip­tion rate of $30. Nonmembers’ annual sub­scrip­tion rate is $100. Send sub­ scription re­quests to Defense Communities at PHMA. Periodi­ cals post­age paid at Leesburg, VA, and ad­di­tion­al mail­ing offices. Defense Communities, ©2013, Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Management As­so­ci­a­tion. All rights re­served. All con­tents of this pub­li­ca­tion are pro­tect­ed by copy­right; how­ev­er, they may be re­pro­duced in whole or in part with prior ap­prov­al of the publisher. Prior to photocopying items for educational classroom, internal, or personal use, or to request rights to republish an article, please request re­print permission from Editor, Defense Communities, phmadefensecommunities@ Unless otherwise stated, ar­ti­cles and ed­i­to­ri­als express the views of their au­thors and not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of PHMA, the editors, or the pub­lish­er. An­nounce­ments and ad­ver­ tise­ments in this pub­li­ca­tion for prod­ucts and ser­vic­es do not im­ply the en­dorse­ment of PHMA or any of its members or staff. Postmaster: Send subscription/address changes to: Defense Communities, 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 or e-mail: Defense Communities magazine is designed to keep those who operate and manage the whole spectrum of military housing and facilities maintenance informed on the industry’s latest technology, products, and services. It provides a forum for members to share lessons learned, news and events, and training opportunities and updates.

September | october 2013  3

From the E xpert

An Electrifying Decision A closer look at underground versus overhead power lines By Frank Kaleba, PE


hether on base or in your own neighborhood, the placement of electric distribution lines represents an important community decision because differences in costs and reliability differ greatly. Many communities, counties, and cities have adopted laws or ordinances requiring developers to install only underground lines or that existing lines be buried. There are many good reasons for this. Clearly, aesthetics is one prime consideration. Consider the two pictures. Figure 1 is of a typical 1960s community, built with overhead lines. Figure 2 shows a street with buried electric lines. In all probability, you would prefer the street without the overhead lines for the clean, uncluttered look. Buried electric lines are less prone to weather damage, and also share space with underground telephone and TV cable lines. With no aerial right of way for the telephone and cable, companies must bury their lines.

Property Value A closely related issue is that of property value—underground lines tend to increase the value of the homes in the neighborhood, compared with overhead line neighborhoods—even if the houses are identical. One good indicator of this issue is the public sentiment when a power company proposes constructing a transmission line “near” a community. While probably safe, the presence of the transmission line towers, the lines, and the right of way between the poles depress property values.

Safety and Reliability There are additional advantages to burying utilities. One is a reduction in

6  Defense Communities

Figure 1: Neighborhood with overhead utility lines

traffic accidents involving poles, and another is increased reliability. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, traffic accidents involving fixed objects accounted for 19 percent of all crashes and 44 percent of fatalities. On a single weekend in fall of 2012, three Maryland teens were killed in two separate accidents when their cars struck utility poles. The poles didn’t cause the accidents and deaths, but greatly increased the seriousness of the injuries. Reliability of the power system is another consideration. Ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, falling trees, and collisions all threaten overhead lines. A January 2004 study by the Edison Electric Institute found that, on average, underground utilities were interrupted less than one third as often as overhead systems. A similar study by the North Carolina Utilities Commission in November 2003

found underground systems had half as many interruptions. However, once interrupted, underground systems took much longer to repair—an average of 2.5 hours for underground compared with 1.5 hours for overhead.

The Downside to Underground And that brings us to the flip side of underground systems. They are more expense to install and don’t last as long as overhead systems. The December 2002 ice storm that hit much of North Carolina knocked out power to over 2 million customers. Most of the damage occurred in distribution lines—the lines that run to individual customers—rather than transmission lines—the lines bringing power from generating plants. In the wake of that disaster, the public utilities commission investigated the feasibility of requiring the state’s three investorowned utilities to place all overhead

Figure 2: Utility lines in this neighborhood are all underground

Figure 3: Transmission lines are not usually a welcome neighbor

distribution lines underground. The investigation found that the cost of installing overhead averaged $120,000 per mile of line, while buried electric lines have costs ranging from a low of $500,000 to $3 million per mile. Maintenance costs of the systems depend upon the location. For typical residential service, using direct burial cable, the costs of both overhead and underground are comparable—the study found each to be roughly $900 per mile. However, when underground lines are placed in concrete duct banks, as is often done on our installations for security and protection of the cables, the cost for maintenance and repair (sustainment) rises to $4,000 per mile. Another interesting fact about underground lines is that they have shorter life cycles than overhead systems. Utilities companies in Maryland have reported underground cables becoming unreliable after 15 to 20 years and reaching the end of their useful lives after 25 to 35 years. Maryland also found 40-year-old overhead lines were more reliable than 20-year-old underground lines. For overhead lines, it’s fairly easy to locate a problem and repair it. Often, a single electrical worker can repair damage to overhead lines or replace fuses. On the other hand, underground systems require specialized equipment and crews to simply locate the problem. Once found, another crew with heavy equipment must dig it up and complete repairs. As a result, while underground is more reliable, these systems take longer and cost more to fix when problems do occur. The bottom line is underground makes sense if reliability and aesthetics are the most important considerations, while overhead still makes sense as the most cost-effective approach. n Frank Kaleba, PE, is a master code professional and a subject matter expert instructor for training conducted by MHLI. Reach him at

September | october 2013  7


A Model for a Modern Military How model units are revolutionizing privatized housing By Christina Meyer

CORT develops furniture packages, like this one and the one on the opposite page, that can be customized to fit any need, space, and budget.

8  Defense Communities


ue to the outdated conditions often associated with on-post housing, more and more service members are electing to live off base in the private sector. In fact, according to the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Installation Environment, 43 percent of military housing units are considered substandard. Model homes offer a solution for privatized housing communities looking to attract new residents to military bases that may otherwise be overlooked. CORT, the nation’s leading provider of transition services, has worked with several military communities and property management firms to design, furnish, stage, and decorate attractive model homes to gain new tenants and dispel the negative stereotypes linked to on-post housing. The company works with private partners and residents to develop furniture packages that can be customized to fit any need, space, and budget, and that ensure residents feel at home from their first day on the base.

The Power of the Model Home Service members usually have little or no time available to devote to selecting, furnishing, and decorating a home because of the extremely busy and unpredictable

nature of their schedules. A model unit provides a visual representation for potential residents and can garner interest much more effectively than a bare, empty house or apartment. Potential residents can envision their home more easily and are provided with décor and furnishing ideas as opposed to the more sterile environments often associated with military housing. Vicki Sharp is a 30-year veteran of the property management industry and works with CORT and military bases to help attract more residents to privatized housing communities and make units more physically pleasing to tenants. Sharp credits models as one of the key components in making these homes more appealing to potential residents. “Many on-post units were built in the ‘50s or ‘60s, and the layouts reflect that time period,” said Sharp. “These units usually have small rooms, particularly bedrooms and limited lighting, which can be unappealing to potential residents in 2013. While we cannot alter the window size or raise the ceilings, we can create livable model units to show tour goers the possibilities of the space.”

Easing the Transition One military base embracing the power of model homes is Fort Meade in Maryland.

CORT recently partnered with development, construction, and property management firm Corvias Group to design innovative models in Corvias’ Reece Crossings community on Fort Meade to specifically suit the needs of unaccompanied junior service members. This is a unique program for Corvias and a brand new concept to the U.S. Army. Instead of traditional military barracks, the units are modern garden-style apartments that feature large kitchens with a breakfast bar, spacious living rooms, and a laundry room with washer and dryer, as well as private master suites, which include individual bathrooms, walk-in closets, and personal climate controls. Supporting residents on post goes beyond creating a sense of community and comfort, but also means ensuring a smooth transition and day-to-day routine. Many of these new residents are young men or women, leaving home for the first time. From furniture to housewares and even electronics, there are many considerations to keep in mind when a service member is moving onto the base, and each of these needs is an opportunity for the property manager to better serve their residents. “Many of these service members are very young, ranging in age from 18 to 24, and have never lived on their own before,” said Kerrie Iemma, senior vice president of design at Corvias Group. “We wanted to create a suitable living arrangement for this demographic that would appeal to their likes and needs while also abiding the regulations of life on post.” First-time visitors can tour the Reece Crossings model home to experience first-hand how warm and inviting base housing can be today. To furnish these homes, Corvias works strategically with CORT. Not only does this staging help potential residents visualize living in the space, it enables them to rent or buy the furniture immediately to make the house feel like home. Sharp also cites the flexible furniture leasing options available through CORT as a convenient solution for deployed individuals. “For service members who September | october 2013  9

are relocating or shipping out to overseas, rental furniture provides an excellent and convenient solution and reduces the hassle of moving,” said Sharp. “Furthermore, each new home requires a different furniture setup to fit the new space. Rental furniture allows residents to lease a new, fresh collection with each move to fit perfectly into their home.”

Serving a Modern Military Today’s service member has evolved with the times to desire more than a simple Army barracks room with only bare essentials. To compete with offbase housing options, on-post units need to be designed with additional amenities to entice young service members and military families and gain a competitive edge. To furnish and deco-

rate the model for this demographic, Corvias conducted extensive research, including focus groups among service members to determine what would make the perfect home. “We have designed model homes for military families in the past, but how a single service member lives in an apartment is certainly different compared to how a family would occupy a home,” said Iemma. “From our research, we were able to create our target resident—down

One thing the House easily agreed on:

to his/her color preferences, sleeping habits, social interests, and hobbies—and develop a comprehensive design for the model. We partnered with CORT to craft customized furnishing options for the units and eventually plan to market the units as furnished or unfurnished.” The unit features modern touches such as gaming systems, mounted television sets, and several outlets to ensure that all electronics can be conveniently recharged whenever necessary. Bedrooms were designed to suit masculine and female tastes with appropriate shades and steel accents popular with the target age group. The common areas were furnished with oversized sofas in durable materials to maximize comfort and provide a space for service men and women to kick back and relax. To create a lived-in feel, the

Saving 84% on the cost of new furniture.

Here’s what the House had to decide. Spend over $1 million on brand new furniture? Or refurbish existing furniture “as new” and save $935,000 with The Refinishing Touch, an award-winning company with an eco-friendly process that reduces pollution, cuts expenditure, manages assets and frees up funds. The House voted for the latter, cutting their Cost Benefit furniture expenditure Analysis by 84%, renewing U.S. House of Rep. their commitment to New furniture: $ 1,023,232.63 sustainability and restoring our faith in Refinished by TRT: $ 169,030.60 government. The Savings of 84% rest is history.

GSA Approved Vendor GS-29F-0002M 800-523-9448 10  Defense Communities

model also includes tennis shoes and fitness equipment popular with active young people. In addition to the units, the completed apartment community will include basketball and sand volleyball courts, a resort-style lap pool, outdoor grilling and picnic pavilions, and a community clubhouse with weight lifting and fitness rooms, as well as stateof-the-art clubroom with flat-screen TVs, video gaming, and a cyber café. Another modern aspect of the Reece Crossings model is the availability of online tools. Interested parties can visit the Reece Crossings website to partake in a virtual tour of the unit, allowing future residents to view the property from a distance at their own convenience. Reece Crossings will open in December 2013.

The Future of Privatized Housing As a result of the creation of the Reece Crossings model home, Fort Meade has

received a significant increase in interest for on-post housing. “The overall feedback on the model has been elation,” said Greg Cannito, senior vice president and program director at Fort Meade for Corvias Military Living. “Despite the fact that the first building at Reece Crossings is still several months away from completion, over 40 soldiers have already applied to the wait list, enough residents to fill two buildings of the community.” Similarly, Sharp notes that every military base she has worked with to install a model home has seen an uptick in occupancy. “Once people visit the models and see what their home could look like, units all of a sudden become very desirable and quickly become leased out. The models haven’t failed yet.” Corvias has held several tours of the new model with tour goers ranging

from single service members to entire brigades. Senior military officers also have participated in tours to get a better feel for this cultural shift in military living and the new housing solutions available to junior service members. “This is the first apartment community for the unaccompanied junior service member,” said Cannito. “The model unit has provided tremendous value in stirring up excitement among potential residents and given a vision for the future of privatized housing communities for military members.” For military communities planning to revamp their on-post housing, model units provide an effective and innovative technique that will definitely capture everyone’s attention. n Christina Meyer is national manager, Military Residential Accounts, for CORT. Reach her at

September | october 2013  11

Defense Communities  

Preview of the September/October issue.

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