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Creating the Company Culture of Her Dreams

Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment

In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic first began, facilities managers are still navigating the ever-changing environment. For Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities (ACC), the nation’s largest developer owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities, this means continuing to strengthen operations in order to overcome any sort of challenge.

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused major shifts in how facilities operate across the student housing industry,” Testa says. “Thankfully, ACC has always set a dynamic approach when it comes to operations including investing in innovative technology that allows for constant monitoring and synchronization to set higher sustainability targets for water, return air, HVAC and lighting. In addition, because of our ability to monitor properties even more closely, the ACC team works collaboratively to identify a problem and address it before it becomes an issue and before residents even submit a work order.”

Over the last two years, Testa has led the charge to implement ACC’S Basic Operating Standards and Systems (BOSS) protocol, which focuses on customer service and curb appeal that residents come to expect from an ACC property. Every on-site hire completes BOSS training as part of their orientation and staff is encouraged to put students first, surprise, delight and be passionate about their daily duties.

To ensure a positive company culture, Testa receives feedback from each team member at all levels within the operations department. She makes it her goal to maintain a safe, attractive and inspiring place for people to work at, and she practices what she preaches. The BOSS Weekly Walk policy requires that a member of management get together with a member of the maintenance team to walk by each resident’s unit at least once a week to ensure that facilities are in good condition and that curb appeal is being maintained throughout the entire community. Not only does this help maintain residences, but it also creates a positive work culture within the organization.

“Building each other up with positive feedback as well as a balance of constructive criticism in an uplifting way is the way to go in developing and nurturing natural leadership. Also, setting an example as a leader is important,” Testa says.

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