Bridge Firm Recovery - January 2020

Recovery Reader The January 2020 MANAGING THE MANAGERS (269) 359-0814


I hope 2020 is the year you “leap” forward in treating your real estate investments as a business. Here are the Top Seven things successful landlord investors do:

‡ Screening and application process: Know who you are renting to! ‡ Professional lease: Have clear terms for your expectations of your tenants and for protecting your property. ‡ Credit policies: Be fair but firm. ‡ Professional relationships: Professionals will save you time and money. Have an accountant, an attorney, and maintenance contractors. ‡ Recovery plan: Never leave money on the table. ‡ Know your local ordinances and landlord tenant regulations. ‡ Network with your local landlord association. The more organized your business operation is, the more successful you will be. Having systems to follow will ensure consistency in your operation, leading to greater profitability. Are you missing a checkmark in these Top Seven? If so, we need to talk. Start your new year out right and call me for a free consultation. Let’s get those checkmarks filled in.

Is Your Business’s Management Effective?

Back in 2011, the Harvard Business Review published an article called “First, Let’s Fire All the Managers.” It listed the cons of management, like inefficiency, costliness, an increase in “calamitous” decision making, slower response time, and the disempowerment of lower-level employees. Then, it advocated for an entirely new kind of company: one without titles and promotions, where “no one has a boss.” During the 2008 recession, many companies had fired all of their managers —or at least a big chunk of them. But, while some soldiered on with the new structure when the economy bounced back, many others returned to the old way of doing things, replacing the managers they’d lost. So, if the brilliant minds at Harvard were so against the idea, why did they do it? Well, just like anything else, management positions have pros as well as cons. A good manager can inspire and motivate their team to greater heights, model good behavior patterns, and groom the next generation of leaders. Not every manager is a good manager, but anyone who has secured a skilled manager can tell you they’re invaluable. Whether you’re worried your current management is ineffective or are on the hunt for a new department head, it pays to know the traits of an effective manager. Below, we’ve gathered a few characteristics to watch out for as summed up by experts in the field.

Happy New Year’s!

- Dan Larson

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“A GOOD MANAGER IS A MAN WHO ISN’T WORRIED ABOUT HIS OWN CAREER, BUT RATHER THE CAREERS OF THOSE WHO WORK FOR HIM.” –H.S.M. BURNS In other words, a good manager is one who is loyal not only to their company but also to their team. They care deeply about the people they work with, including their issues outside the office — like how their family is doing, whether they’re in good mental health, and how they’re coping financially. When employees feel like their managers view them as individuals rather than numbers, they’re more engaged, more productive, and happier. The opposite feeling has the opposite effect. Forbes reports that, according to a Gallup poll, “Among employees who strongly agree that they can approach their manager with any type of question, 54% are engaged. When employees strongly disagree, only 2% are engaged, while 65% are actively disengaged.” “IF YOUR ACTIONS INSPIRE OTHERS TO DREAM MORE, LEARN MORE, DO MORE, AND BECOME MORE, YOU ARE A LEADER.” –JOHN QUINCY ADAMS Loyalty is a close cousin to this second managerial necessity: motivation. A manager needs to motivate and inspire the people they manage. According to CareerBuilder, a good manager who’s adept at motivating others can boost morale and increase productivity. “The best managers have a keen eye for areas that could be improved and know how to

approach these issues diplomatically so workers feel encouraged to make productive changes, rather than discouraged by their shortcomings,” CareerBuilder reports.



More than perhaps anyone else in the company, a manager needs to have top-notch communication skills. Not only are managers the ones assigned to handle the most difficult clients with grace but they also act as mediators in employee disputes. Managers are also tasked with communicating the company’s goals to employees, a charge that can either fall flat or spur action. As Victor Lipman wrote for Forbes, “Simple communication one can count on goes a long way toward building manager-employee rapport. And rapport builds trust ... trust builds engagement ... and engagement yields productivity.”

CTRL, ALT, DELETE YOUR CLUTTER Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month

BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left. CLEAN UP SPACE Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.

particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer. ORGANIZE YOUR FILES Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need.

Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order. START BY DUSTING Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other

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WHOWEARS THE PANTS? LADY JUSTICE! How One Judge Lost a Frivolous Lawsuit and His Dignity

After losing an article of clothing from a dry cleaner, most would say “c’est la vie” and move on. At most, someone might leave a bad review and ask for a few dollars to cover the loss, but for one administrative law judge, that wasn’t enough. He decided instead to launch an all- out legal battle. Roy Pearson, aWashington, D.C., judge at the time, sought $54 million to cover the loss of his pants after his dry cleaner lost them. He argued that the“same-day service”sign located in the window of the dry cleaners meant that the company had to provide same-day service. However, Pearson never specified a specific time he needed his clothes returned. He also insisted that the“satisfaction guaranteed”sign meant that the cleaners had to satisfy a customer’s wishes without limit. Based on those arguments, he claimed the signs were fraudulent. After the initial allegations, the dry cleaners scoured their business to find the pants and, to their credit, found the judge’s trousers untarnished. Even so, Pearson argued that he didn’t need to prove the pants were lost or damaged to satisfy his “satisfaction guaranteed” claim.

In response, Pearson sought that his own attorneys’ fees be covered to oppose this motion.

In the end, Pearson did pay the dry cleaner’s legal fees, but the case isn’t the only thing he lost. The verdict also cost the judge his job and any semblance of professional dignity. Ten years after the case closed, the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility sought a 90-day suspension. As the board put it, Pearson “failed to conduct an objective appraisal of the legal merits of his position. He made and continues to make arguments that no reasonable attorney would think had even a faint hope of success on the legal merits.” From a legal standpoint, we’d call this judge’s behavior “dissatisfaction guaranteed.”

Unfortunately for the judge, the court found his position to be ridiculous and ordered him to pay the dry cleaner’s attorneys’ fees.

Take a Break!


Inspired by Nom Nom Paleo


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1 cup chicken broth 8.5 oz coconut milk

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2 tbsp coconut oil

4 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced 6 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt

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Freshly ground black pepper

1 28-oz can roasted and diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic is a good brand)


1. In a skillet over mediumheat, sauté leeks in coconut oil until softened and translucent, about 7–10 minutes. 2. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove fromheat. 3. Meanwhile, in a blender, purée entire can of tomatoes, including juice, until smooth. 4. Add sautéed leeks and garlic and purée again. 5. Transfer purée to a saucepan and add chicken broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then drop to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve. • 269-359-0814 • 3

Bridge Firm Recovery (269) 359-0814



P.O. Box 24 Grandville, MI 49468

INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Dan PAGE 1 Managing the Managers PAGE 1 Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer PAGE 2 The Curious Case of Roy Pearson’s Pants PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Easy Tomato Soup PAGE 3 The Sweetest Crime in History PAGE 4

HISTORY’S SWEETEST THEFT The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

In what is now known as the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist, thieves made off with 10,000 barrels of maple syrup valued at $18.7 million. This remains one of the most costly heists in Canadian history. Vallières himself became a millionaire and took his family on three tropical vacations in one year. Unfortunately, the thieves got sloppy and stopped refilling the barrels with water. When an FPAQ inspector visited the targeted facility in the fall of 2012, he accidentally knocked over one of the empty barrels. The inspector alerted the police, who would go on to arrest 17 men in connection to the theft, including Vallières himself. Police were then able to recover hundreds of barrels of the stolen syrup, but most of it was never recovered — likely lost to pancake breakfasts far away.

Stealing syrup from Canada doesn’t sound as glamorous as stealing cash from a Vegas casino, but their plan could rival the plot of “Ocean’s Eleven.” At the FPAQ facility, syrup was stored in unmarked metal barrels and only inspected once a year. The heist, led by a man named Richard Vallières, involved transporting the barrels to a remote sugar shack in the Canadian wilderness, where they siphoned off the maple syrup, refilled the barrels with water, and returned the barrels to the facility. The stolen syrup was then trucked east to New Brunswick

Maple syrup holds a proud place in the history and culture of Quebec, Canada. It’s also a big part of Quebec’s economy, with 72% of the world’s maple syrup produced in Quebec alone. Due to tactics employed by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ), the NPR-backed podcast “The Indicator” estimates that maple syrup is valued at approximately $1,300 per barrel — over 20 times more than crude oil. The FPAQ controls the available syrup supply, never releasing enough maple syrup to meet demand, which increases the price. As a result, most of the world’s maple syrup is stored in various reserves.

and south across the border into Vermont. Wisely, the thieves sold their ill-gotten goods in small batches, avoiding suspicion from legitimate syrup distributors.

Between 2011 and 2012, a group of thieves decided to liberate the syrup from an FPAQ facility in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec.

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