A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit with Christopher Tinsley, the 2020 NAA Excellence Award recipient of the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) of the Year. It was a privilege to visit with Chris about the property management industry and get his perspective on why credentials are important.

Chris is the Service Manager at Colonial Village at West End in Glen Allen, Virginia.

Chris, let’s start with what led you to a career in property management.

Well, the funny thing is, I am a second-generation apartment maintenance technician. My dad started taking me to work with him when I was about six years old so I’ve been around the tools of the industry most of my life. 

In 1985, when I was in middle school, I got a work release and worked on the property after school and on the weekends. I stayed with it and after graduating from high school in 1990, started full time on my dad’s property.

After all these years, my dad’s property is still in my portfolio — every company I’ve been with ended up buying that property.

Why was it so important to get a credential?

I believe it’s important to further your education. Therefore, even though I grew up in the industry and had years of on-the-job training, the knowledge and credibility that came with earning the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) credential has proven to be an invaluable asset throughout my career.

How has having a credential helped you in your career?

Learning how to break down a problem and diagnose an issue, whether it’s with the HVAC system, electrical, or appliances was fantastic. I no longer had to play the guessing game, changing parts until it finally worked! 

I started out as the waterboy at my dad’s property – that was before irrigation systems – and the knowledge I gained from earning a CAMT played a significant role in helping me work my way up to a senior service manager.  

Also, I felt more confident about myself and even went on to get my instructor’s license, and I am now an Advanced Training Instructor for the National Apartment Association Education Institute.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about earning a credential?

If you’re going to make property maintenance your career, earn a credential. 

Any other thoughts on what it takes to be successful in this industry?

The thing I love most about the maintenance side of the industry is the variety — no two days are alike. It can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career. 

Click here to learn more about how you can earn the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians credential.