MARRIED TO THE JOB: RENEE AND MICHAEL MARTIN’S BOND EXTENDS TO PRESSER/NUGENT
Renee and Michael Martin have been together 27 years, married for 17 and together they manage Presser/Nugent Apartments in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy section.
Odds are if you run into Renee or Michael Martin, you’ll see them together.
They’re almost always together.
No, really, they’re almost always together.
That’s how it goes when you’re a husband-and-wife team that works together to manage two Affordable Housing communities.
Renee is the property manager and Michael is the maintenance manager at Presby’s Inspired Life’s Presser and Nugent communities in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. Historic buildings located next to one another, Presser, a former nursing home, and Nugent, a former home for Baptist ministers, were abandoned prior to 2004. Presser was renovated in 2011 and Nugent was renovated in 2014. Both Affordable Housing Communities have been managed by Presby’s since 2015.
Both communities are homes away from home for Renee and Michael, who originally hail from Martinsville, Virginia, have been together for 27 years and married for the last 17 of them.
Renee has worked in property management for almost 39 years now. When she came aboard at Presser, she knew should we need a certain type of maintenance help – a person who was versatile enough to handle any situation that may come about.
It just so happened that person wound up being pretty familiar.
“I knew I needed somebody who could get a lot of stuff done,” Renee said. “I needed someone who knew about elevators and sprinklers and roofs and how to repair things. That’s the kind of maintenance guy I needed. Michael said to me, ‘I think I can do it.’”
So Michael came aboard part-time with Renee at Presser to work from 8 a.m. – Noon. In the meantime, he still worked his job at a local printing plant from 10:30 p.m. – 6:30 a.m. So he would go straight from one job to another, all without complaint.
Over the course of Renee’s professional career, Michael would volunteer his time to help with maintenance issues at the properties that Renee manager.
“That helped me so much,” Renee said of Michael’s unofficial assistance. “He taught me things other managers might not know like how to unclog toilets or find the breakers. So I could do things when he wasn’t here.”
The years of working together unofficially helped prepare Renee and Michael for what they would experience when they began to work together on a full-time basis.
“We worked out a system,” Renee said. “And because we’re husband and wife, it actually made it easier because we always would have each other’s backs.
“It helped us being husband and wife to do it together and have that dynamic with both buildings because we could actually talk things out more readily. If we disagreed with something, well, we disagree normally! If you’re married, you disagree. So disagreeing in the workplace isn’t hard because we can just talk through it.”
“It makes for a more relaxed atmosphere,” Michael said of working full-time alongside Renee. “If anything is going on, we talk about it and come up with a plan to get it fixed.”
When you work at a community as long as Renee and Michael have, the residents inevitably become part of your extended family.
Michael and Renee believe the husband-wife dynamic they’ve brought to Presser and Nugent help put the residents at ease and gives them a sense of comfort that the community really is a family-like atmosphere.
“A lot of them are shocked at first and then many of them are amazed and say ‘How in the world do you pull that off?’” Renee said. “They think that we are their children, like we’re they’re sons and daughters. I think that us being married, we bring kind of a family feeling to what we do. It makes the residents more readily feel like we’re all one big, happy family. I think it also allows them to feel much more comfortable here. The residents know if they tell me something, I’ll tell Michael, and vice versa. They know they can come to either one of us.”
“With us, we don’t have any attitude,” Michael said. “A resident has an issue, I want to take care of it. We want to take care of it. Most of the residents are pretty comfortable around us. I like to think we go above and beyond. Some of the stuff that doesn’t even pertain to the job, I’ll do those things for them.”
But working together as a husband-wife team to manage two Affordable Housing communities in Philadelphia doesn’t come without its challenges.
Renee says there’s one big one.
“The only challenge is when Michael thinks he can boss me around!” she said as Michael looked on laughing through the grin on his face.