Interview with Melinda Masson, CEO Scripsense, Inc.

Posted on

Mention the name Melinda Masson (bio below) and everyone knows she is an industry icon.  She is the founder and CEO of The Merit Companies, which included Merit Property Management, Inc., Merit Association Services, Inc., and Merit Rental Management. She was the principle founder of CACM, which 25 years ago began training, recognition and state-specific certification for California Community Managers – a first of its kind in the US.  She is currently the co-founder and CEO of Scripsense, Inc., an online fundraising program for member-based organizations and non-profits. 

Q: What is the most important thing that you’ve come to realize about HOA management now that you are not “active” in the HOA management business any longer?

Answer:  It used to be that being a Community Manager was an “interim” job. Now it’s a “destination” or career job requiring unique skills and specialized training.   Success for management companies can come in a couple of avenues: (1) realize that there are regional differences between HOA boards and interact with them in different ways.  An HOA board in Sacramento is different than one in San Diego or Las Vegas or San Francisco.  (2) Management companies are in the business for either “margin” or “market share”. Understanding their model is key to their growth and success.

Q: What advice can you give new community managers coming into the HOA industry?

Answer:  Get as much training & California specific education as you can from your company, CACM, CAI, vendors and other professionals. Success can be achieved in many ways. Find and obtain a mentor.  You need someone who you can trust, bounce ideas off of and who will give you guidance.

Q: How would you reduce community manager turnover?

Answer:  Reducing manager turnover is a company by company and client challenge.  Management companies should treat their employees as an asset and train them to retain them.  CACM developed a state-specific certification program, specialty certificates for high rise, large scale, portfolio and new development communities, and a Master’s level certification that only exists in California. This state specific training and certification is key for both manager and client retention.  This was very evident that the expanded education platforms are critical to the success of the manager when I served on the Task Force Committee for the next Leader for CACM.

Q: Many new infill projects badly need HOA management; yet they often go without. Do you have any ideas on how to get HOA management to the thousands of smaller (less than 30 unit) communities that have no management?

Answer: Technology can create an on-line platform where HOA board members can get the educational advice they need.  And, a management company could also create a technology platform where it would be easier for a community manager to manage many smaller HOA’s; unlike a typical portfolio manager.  The answer to getting small HOA’s management services and support they may need lies in technology.

Q: One large national builder is asking their management company to survey their boards to get better feedback of management performance and other issues. Is this a good idea?

Answer:  Yes, surveying your clients is always a good idea.  But first builders and management companies must understand the need for the survey – which is, to better understand your buyer, your client.

Q: What mistakes do you see Builders making at newly built HOA’s? What advice or “best practices” can you give home builders that builders should always implement at their new communities?

Answer: Builders must actively listen to their buyers; survey more.  Because of the “Great Recession” builders now have a paucity of new project managers and vendors who may not be able to adequately staff their new projects. It’s critical to attract, hire, train and retain millennial talent now for future project development.  Builders need to aim for steady growth and not be susceptible to the typical 7-year market cycles.

Q: Having sold Merit to FirstService you are aware of the national roll-up wave hitting HOA management companies. Do you think that this consolidation will continue?

Answer:  Consolidation may continue with the forerunners of Associa and FirstService, plus regionally there have been players that have consolidated; not only in California but in other states.  However, I don’t see any large new national players on the horizon.  In discussions with venture capitalists it’s apparent that the balance sheets of most management companies are too weak to support another large player.

Q: Please tell us about your new enterprise, Scripsense, Inc.

Answer: The word Scrip and its concept have been around for many decades.  Scrip is just another form of legal tender.  In wanting to “disrupt an archaic practice”; I partnered with a former employee when she came to me with a concept.  We researched, hired a professional Strategy firm and Scripsense (making common sense of a Scrip process) was born:  Scripsense is where innovation meets philanthropy.  In summary, the “elevator speech is”:  Scripsense provides the easiest, most effective technology available for organizations to raise money by empowering members to give through their everyday spending. Using Scripsense’s interactive shopping program, organizations and their members can keep track of all cash rebates earned for the organization when their members purchase eGift cards, and using online shopping for products or services from merchants nationwide.  Nonprofits, schools, charities, religious institutions and associations of all types benefit from easier, more successful fundraising, while requiring significantly less busy-work for coordinators and members. Scripsense is so powerful and easy to use that it has become the one-stop-shop for fundraising campaigns and organizations. ( )

Q: What is something that our readers would be surprised to know about you?

Answer:   That I didn’t stay retired!  I took some time off, spent and continue to spend time with my children; now all adults, traveled to some great places and took up golfing more seriously. It wasn’t that I was bored; I just love a great challenge!

Q: Please tell us the funniest thing that has happened to you at an HOA meeting or in the industry?

Answer:   Actually it’s been in this new role.  As the CEO of Scripsense, part of my role is to raise venture capital to expand the company. Imagine having a meeting start with a potential investor saying, “I know who you are.  You used to manage my homeowners association”. On my last three pitches to investors, ironically that was what started each meeting!  So thinking quickly, I would ask back; “was it a good experience for you or not so good?”  Fortunately on all three presentations it was a good to great experience (their words) and we got the investment money!  A win win.


Melinda Masson Bio

Melinda Masson has over 25 years of senior executive management experience and a proven record of success in start-ups and rapid growth businesses within the residential real estate sector including, specifically master planned communities and developments with homeowner associations. She has served as a Board Chairman and CEO having established and grown multiple businesses aligned with the Merit Companies, which included Merit Property Management, Inc., Merit Association Services, Inc., and Merit Rental Management, headquartered in Southern California. Ms. Masson earned the reputation of being a pioneer and innovator in association management and lifestyle programs by creating and launching industry-shaping advancements including the branding of social environments with distinctive lifestyle programs for master-planned communities. The Merit Companies were the largest collective group that was privately held by a single owner (Masson) in the nation before its sale to First Service Residential in late 2006; with the closing in 2007.  She stayed active as its CEO for approximately 4 additional years.

She moves strategy to effective execution while balancing corporate goals and humanitarian values through a supportive culture. An expert communicator, Ms. Masson is able to convey complex concepts to wide ranging audiences. She has been active in both professional and community organizations and has served on numerous philanthropic boards.


J. David Rauch Bio

Dave Rauch is the Founder and President of ProTec Building Services (ProTec). He ensures that work quality is consistent.  Dave maintains a consistent presence within the company.  While managing the growth of ProTec, he strives to improve everything that ProTec does, especially exceeding client expectations.  At Mr. Rauch’s previous company he designed the original HOA manual and monthly building maintenance programs specific for each HOA. In 1996 Dave opened ProTec, which now provides maintenance programs to over 600 communities and other services to 2,000 communities.

George Van Oosbree Bio

George Van Oosbree is the Senior Vice President and Director of Operations in Nevada. He has been a manager with ProTec for 17 years. He holds a California/Nevada General Contractors and painting license; as well as, certifications in Playground Safety and SWPPP. He is also a United States Green Building Counsel LEED Accredited Professional and EPA Certified Lead Renovator.  Developers rely on George’s knowledge (nearly 100 High-rise and Mid-rise Projects) and 30 years of experience to construct sustainable and maintainable projects.

Andy Henley Bio

With over 20 years’ experience in construction management and janitorial, Andy knows what it takes to repair and maintain your largest asset, your homes and common areas at your community. Not only will Andy provide unparalleled customer service for all ProTec’s work but he will ensure that all jobs and service exceed client expectations. Call Andy and request to meet at your community. He will walk your community, detailing what maintenance and repairs are needed to keep your property values increasing.

Candy Allen Bio

ProTec’s controller, Candy Allen, has over two decades of experience in accounting and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the executive team.  Candy also has extensive HR, office management and organizational skills derived from her years of experience in the service industry.  What truly sets Candy apart from her peers is her energy and zeal to get the job/challenge done correctly and immediately.  She’ll explain that her success comes from devoting herself to creating a team environment in which the company can accurately track and maintain their various business and accounting systems.  Teamwork, honesty and hard work are all core elements of Candy’s work ethic.

Laura Swirski Bio

As ProTec’s Human Resources Manager, Laura Swirski, brings knowledge and experience in HR and Organizational Development from a variety of industries ranging from property management, non-profit, government, public utility, and hospitality.  Laura enjoys an employee focused and hands-on approach to HR.  She believes employees are a company’s most important resource.  An organization is successful when employees are in the right job and are involved, committed, and work together toward shared goals.  Laura is conscientious, a hard worker, and desires to learn, improve, and make a difference.

Fernando Urrea Bio

Fernando Urrea began his ProTec career in 2009. After a short leave he returned to ProTec in 2014 as the San Diego Maintenance Division Manager. He holds a General Contractors License; as well as, EPA Certified Lead Renovator. Fernando worked at Standard Pacific Homes and Pacific Bay Homes in the San Diego Divisions and has over 15 years’ experience in new home construction management. While working in Military Housing for 10 years he was able get hands on experience on all trades and management skills. His new home building and maintenance knowledge are unparalleled and is what makes Fernando a great asset.

Mark Adams Bio

Fascinated by construction from an early age, Mark developed the skills and knowledge to construct and repair any building. Prior to ProTec, Mark honed his skills at Quality Built Consulting on construction defects/diagnostics nationally. Mark is a licensed California General Contractor and a certified applicator in Excellent Coatings (Waterproof Coatings), SIKA Products (Sealants), PROTECTO Wrap (Waterproof Membranes) and Superkrete (Overlay Concrete Systems). Mark has been a manager at ProTec for 15 years and is the top HOA estimator in San Diego County. He prides himself on being able to assist HOA Boards and Community Managers resolve any type of repair or construction project.

Lee Sterling Bio

While attending Arizona State University pursuing a degree in engineering, Lee Sterling enlisted in the United States Army prior to Desert Storm. After completing his service he began working in the property service industry. Duly licensed as a Building (B1) and Roofing (C39) contractor, Lee rose through the ranks of the industry becoming the Division Manager and acting Chief Engineer for properties in San Diego, Irvine and Brea. His commitment to quality and superior service has earned him recommendations from his peers, clients and customers.

Cesar Ibarra Bio

Cesar Ibarra is ProTec’s Janitorial Manager and has been with the company for 8 years. He ensures that the janitorial work quality is consistent and manages the planning of large level custodial projects. He prides himself in his knowledge of janitorial services and has over 10 years of experience in the Commercial Cleaning Industry. He and his team devote themselves to our clients and provide customized janitorial services that are specifically tailored for each community or project.

Paul Mayeski Bio

Paul oversees ProTec’s Maintenance Manuals and Inspections Division. Before joining the ProTec team in 2000, Paul spent 4 years converting his Industrial Arts education into becoming a trained cabinetmaker, followed by 13 years building custom homes and then 7 years administering building maintenance programs and overseeing maintenance manual implementations for one of San Diego’s largest community management companies.  Because of his combined experience in the building and community management industries, he is uniquely suited to ensure that our clients’ projects are successful.

Chris McHenry Bio

Chris has over 25 years of construction experience in the residential and commercial industries. He has done everything hands on from operate heavy equipment, ro build and remodel custom homes, and commercial tenant improvements. He started working in his family’s business building custom homes during the summers in high school. He moved on as a Project Manager for an apartment maintenance construction company in Rancho Santa Margarita. He proceeded to get his contractor’s license and owned his own company for 7 years. Chris also holds the positions of superintendent on a high rise construction project and Project Manager with an industrial/commercial company.

Sal Mendoza Bio

Salvador Mendoza is our Los Angeles regional manager for ProTec Building Services. Since starting with the Company in 2008 he has devoted himself to the challenging world of maintenance for mid and high rise buildings. Salvador’s past experiences of running his family owned construction business, along with his real estate and mortgage banking experience, provide him with a unique perspective within our industry. He has a created the company’s first Planned Maintenance Contract (PMC), which allows for a custom annual maintenance calendar of the building components for each individual building, enabling clients to plan ahead and have an annual maintenance budget

Mirzet Velic Bio

As ProTec’s Vista Maintenance Division Manager, Mirzet brings immense experience in the HOA industry and knowledge of maintenance, repair and construction methodology. Mirzet joined ProTec in 2006 as an Account Manager.  Prior to ProTec he honed his experience at All American Construction as a Maintenance Technician.  With over 15 years of experience in contract management, construction, electrical, and property management Mirzet can solve any technical problem. However, Mirzet’s true tour de force is his Customer Centric service model; he takes care of clients’ needs before they even know they have a need. 

Timothy (Ty) Haisch Bio

Ty is ProTec’s Construction Division Manager for the North County San Diego region, working out of the Vista office.  Ty joined ProTec in 2010 as a Project Supervisor.  He has moved up in the management ranks due to his excellent work record, supervisory skills, hard-work and dedication to getting jobs done in a timely manner that have made him a “go-to” manager at ProTec.  Prior to joining ProTec, Ty was a manager at TDT Construction.  Yes, Ty has many years of experience, but it is mostly his excitement with solving complex problems, that cause Ty to stand out among his peers.  Ty loves challenges and will happily solve our clients most vexing or technical problem(s).

John T. (JT) Anderson Bio

John learned the value of hard work at his family business at the early age of 5, where he started out as a janitor.  He went on to learn additional trades and skills, where he eventually left the business world to attend college at The University of Hawaii and the University of Utah.  He received his degree in Political Science and Business.  After moving to San Diego in 2004 he founded Elite Services, which provided building services to Commercial and HOA clients.  In 2016, John saw an opportunity to join the ProTec team where he has put his many talents to work, expanding ProTec’s list of 172 services and engaging new clients.