Dana Shotts-Neff, founder and owner of Chesapeake Bay Management (CBM), moved to Hampton Roads almost 30 years ago. She relocated to this area with her family; her husband’s career in the Air Force brought them from Springfield, Ohio. Having left her job in Springfield, Neff set about finding work here and settled into an industry that fits her interests perfectly.
In her own words, “One of the things I considered pursuing in my life was a law degree, and I always got waylaid by accounting because I love numbers,” Shotts-Neff says. “All of those things wrap up into association management, so I get to do both my loves in one job.”
After working in property management for some time, Shotts-Neff began her own company in 2003 and has grown it into a massive operation that services dozens of property associations.
In explaining what is entailed in property association management, Shotts-Neff says, “We maintain operations like private roads and private street lights. If an association has a clubhouse or a pool, we work with the association to take care of that. It’s almost like running a mini-government.”
The size of CBM’s clientele supports the government simile. With her company servicing more than 90 associations, including 16,000 individual homes, Shotts-Neff compares the size of it to “a pretty significant city.”
CBM has 47 total employees, and, as Shotts-Neff puts it, “(Their) focus is always on smart growth and quality over numbers.” For her, CBM is set apart by “its commitment to people,” adding that her staff members “have a real, true love of people and a desire to help.” Toward this end, Shotts-Neff says, “We make sure to have adequate staffing and training before we commit to taking on additional work.”
In fact, Shotts-Neff says that CBM has refrained from taking on new clients during times when, as she says, “We were experiencing a large amount of growth and needed more time to hire and train staff to make sure we had quality people.”
Another of CBM’s biggest strengths is the technological capabilities of its staff. This strength has greatly benefited the company and its clients of late. According to Shotts-Neff, having a tech-savvy team meant that teleworking abilities were already a part of CBM’s operations, making for an easy transition to COVID-safe functions.
That transition, though, also relied on the technological capabilities of the associations that CBM services, and that presented a unique challenge. “Association board members can’t do business without meeting, and they can’t meet without homeowners,” says Shotts-Neff. This means that CBM and other property management firms had to find a way to make remote meetings a possibility. This biggest roadblock was a legal one, but Shotts-Neff says that hurdle has been overcome. “What’s great about this industry is we have a very strong legislative committee that worked hard to get legislation passed, enabling boards to meet through electronic measures.” She adds, “We found that participation in the meetings actually increased. The homeowners were able to attend from the comfort of their own home, so more homeowners participated.”
Shotts-Neff describes association management as “the most intense job,” and the size of her company means she’s a very busy person, although it does not monopolize her every waking moment. She leads a fulfilling life, enjoying her family and personal interests. Shotts-Neff enjoys gardening and, most of all, spending time with her family. She is very thankful that her granddaughters live close by, and she is able to take them shopping, another of her favorite pastimes.
TO THE POINT:
Chesapeake Bay Management
Address: 603 Pilot House Dr., Ste. 300, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Dana Shotts-Neff, founder and owner