Cream of the Crop: Service Supervisor Larry Fuller Exemplifies the Spirit of JVM
By his own admission, it isn’t often that Miles Jaben, the president of Seal-O-Matic Pavement Solutions, feels compelled to send such a laudatory email to a customer.
But after working with Larry Fuller, the service supervisor at Clear Creek Apartments in Overland Park, Kansas, Jaben was ready to wholeheartedly sing Fuller’s praises.
“I just wanted to let you guys know how incredibly helpful your staff was in helping us complete our project. Larry Fuller was absolutely fantastic,” Jaben wrote to JVM. “He was there every morning helping us get vehicles moved and residents tracked down for us to complete our work in a timely manner. We work with a lot of different apartment complexes and property management companies, and I wanted to let you know he has been by far the most helpful and knowledgeable head of maintenance I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Jaben’s compliments are certainly no surprise to anyone who’s worked with Fuller over the years.
A couple of years ago, for instance, JVM executives in town to oversee a video shoot at Clear Creek learned that Fuller had scrubbed the pool tile until 10 p.m. the night before filming began, just to make sure the area looked its best for the cameras.
Earlier this year, Fuller was named the winner of JVM’s 2017 James V. Madary Award. The annual honor – named for JVM’s late founder – is given to an associate who displays “exceptional work ethic, dependability, loyalty and teamwork.”
“Not only is Larry a dependable, loyal and outstanding associate for JVM, he is a teacher, mentor and motivator to all around him,” said JVM CEO Jay Madary in his speech announcing the 2017 winner.
“Larry is one of the hardest working individuals I know,” Madary added. “He joined JVM almost eight years ago, bringing over 25 years of experience to our team. His skill, knowledge and experience with diverse types of apartment communities have played an instrumental role in not only his success, but also the success of any team with which he has been a part.”
Fuller was recently named JVM’s new senior service manager. He will continue as the service supervisor at Clear Creek; in his additional role, Fuller will serve all of the company’s maintenance teams with training, onboarding and any other needed assistance.
A Strong Work Ethic
A native of Independence, Iowa, Fuller got a taste of helping renters at a young age. His father owned several rental homes in the small town of 6,000 people and wasn’t afraid to put young Larry to work when he needed help making repairs and performing maintenance at the properties.
“I learned that I enjoy taking care of people and the places that they live,” Fuller said. “That continues to be my motivation. I treat the property like I personally own it.”
He credits his work ethic to his late father. “My dad kept us busy,” Fuller said. “We didn’t sit around and watch TV. There were no cell phones then. You were either mowing the lawn or doing something to help out.”
About 30 years ago, Fuller was working as an ironworker in Dallas when he suffered foot and back injuries after surviving a 30-foot fall at a job site. When he recovered, he decided to accept a maintenance job at local apartment community. It proved to be the perfect fit.
“I started out as a groundskeeper and did that for six weeks before they started bumping me up,” he said. “Within a year, I was a maintenance supervisor for a different operator in Dallas.”
A Great Fit for JVM
Fuller eventually moved to the Kansas City area, and he joined JVM in 2010. He’s been the maintenance supervisor at Clear Creek for about five years.
He describes JVM as the ideal culture for him. “I really appreciate the open-door policy here,” he said. “You can talk to anyone. You’re not just a number.”
When he realized he was the 2017 Madary Award winner, it was tough to keep his emotions in check. “I actually almost broke down and cried,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Wow, I am respected. They do see what I do.'”
When he’s not on the job, Fuller loves to entertain family and friends at the pool at his home. A cooking enthusiast – he counts comfort food, Mexican dishes and Italian cuisine among his specialties – he dotes on Rusty Boy, his 15-year-old Australian Shepherd-sheltie mix, and enjoys tinkering with his 1970 El Camino SS. He also likes to attend drag races throughout the Midwest.
Looking ahead, Fuller says working in the apartment industry will continue to motivate and satisfy him. “It’s never boring,” he said of his job. “It’s something different every day and you’re always having to adjust to different situations, which I love. I could probably write a best-selling book with all that I’ve seen.”