By Lucy Fried
A registered architect, Linda Pollari, has been Village Green’s Design Review Committee consultant since 2018 and the Green’s fulltime facilities engineer since February. This interview introduces Linda and opens a window on the challenges of her job. It is the first of a series of VG staff interviews.
LP (Linda Pollari): Before I became the facilities engineer at Village Green, I’d been the Chair of Environmental Design at Otis College for 23 years and Chair of Interior Architecture at Woodbury University for 4 years before that. I wanted to do something different!
I knew former VG Board president Jerri Allyn when she was Founding Director of ACT: Artists, Community and Teaching at Otis. She brought me on board in 2018 as the DRC Consultant to assist owners in producing the required Modification Request Packets (MRP) for review by the DRC and the Board.
LF: I asked former Design Review Committee (DRC) Board Liaison Haleh Shoa why so many owners are getting their MRPs approved by the Board now. She said, “The difference of the owner’s experience now compared to pre-2018 is that previously there was no structured vetting or formatting process, which the DRC and Linda have put in place. This has gained the trust of the Board to unanimously pass almost all applications that have been processed by Linda.”
LP: I address projects – annual reserve (such as building painting), research (such as water recirculation devices), on-going (such as the courtyard lighting upgrade), and one-time (such as the campus electrical upgrade). For far too much of my time, though, I manage work orders for unit damages (typically water damage) that involve multiple vendors and steps to correct.
One of my goals is to develop preemptive tactics to minimize or eliminate unit damage that often must be repaired by the VGOA.
LF: What does VG need to do most urgently to upgrade its facilities?
LP: Upgrade the electrical system and windows. Village Green still has most of the original wiring and only the limited electrical supply that was installed in the 1940’s. It’s woefully insufficient for current homes, which is why the Board instituted a moratorium on any increase in a unit’s electrical load. That’s a stop-gap measure until electrical supply to the entire campus is increased and all units are rewired as part of the electrical upgrade project.
This is a long-term and very expensive project. This summer, we’re installing a new combined bank of meters and rewiring at Building 91 as a test. Maintenance Supervisor Darwin Harry Ruiz and I photographed outlets, lighting, and the electrical sub-panels in Building 91’s units, and I’m producing documentation of our investigation and preparing homeowners for their building’s upgrade.
LF: You named windows as the Green’s other most necessary project. Why?
LP: These windows were installed in the 1940’s. They are metal-framed and single-glazed, and many homeowners want to replace them because they are warped and leak cold air inside, in addition to heat transfer through the single pane of glass.
LP: Yes. One is to assist in creating clear roles and responsibilities and documentation protocols. Operations Manager Sherri Giles, Darwin, and I are making great progress on this.
LF: How about daily or weekly goals? How well are you able to carry them out?
LP: I have daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. However, much of my time is taken up with trying to keep “balls in the air” and damage repairs on track by requesting, reviewing, approving, scheduling, monitoring, and coordinating vendors’ work on units.
LP: Yes. I think that residents should be aware of the enormous amount of work that goes on in Village Green’s office. I had some familiarity with that as DRC consultant, but I truly had no idea of the scope of work!
LF: What is the greatest challenge you face in your new job?
LP: Besides the workload, my greatest challenge is using a PC instead of a MAC!