Andrew Meditz is the Co-Owner/Operator of ELITE Amenity Management and oversees all aspects of ELITE’s strategic growth and development. Meditz directs ELITE’s Financial Department and spearheads the strategic development of all current and future ELITE operational and reporting systems designed to ensure the highest levels of client satisfaction.
Andrew Meditz holds a BBA and MBA from Adelphi University. He is a contributor to The Cooperator Magazine, volunteers his time coaching the St. Francis Preparatory Swimming team, and conducts charitable work with St. Mary’s Healthcare Systems for Children, US Marine Corps Toys for Tots, and NY Allen’s Women’s Shelter. Meditz is a certified CrossFit trainer and an ASCA Level II Swim Coach
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Table of Contents
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Andrew Meditz: When we first started the company back in 2006 the industry of amenity management mostly consisted of supplying lifeguards for swimming pools and receptionists for security purposes at fitness centers in sub-level floors of residential buildings. Fast forward 15 years later and we now are designing and managing amenity spaces with everything that you can imagine from rock climbing walls to screening rooms, bowling alleys and arcades to even rooftop pools with some of the best skyline views in the world.
It has been so rewarding to help develop and be a part of the growth of the industry of amenity management and help to forever change the residential experience. Now in 2021 we employ over 800 employees that include everything from personal trainers, massage therapists, swim instructors, concierges, lifeguards, maintenance staff, lifestyle managers, and event planners at over 80 contracts throughout the northeast. There is even an ELITE amenity app that provides residents with everything that they could possibly desire in their residential experience.
The ELITE app which was developed in 2021, acts as a virtual concierge to help you book everything from dog walking services, tv mount installations, travel and dinner reservations and is even complete with a feature for on-demand content to access from your apartment with everything from workout videos, cooking tutorials with celebrity chefs, dog training videos and much much more. The ELITE App is the first of its kind in the amenity management industry and is helping give residents every convenience and luxury that they could ask for from their building.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Andrew Meditz: My business partner Michael Zuchelli and I actually started the company during the last recession. Having just graduated college at the time we couldn’t find employment after graduation in 2008 because companies were laying people off and there were hiring freezes all across the country. I can still remember going to the college career center and asking for any help whatsoever and being told that all I could do was wait. My business partner and
I was so desperate to try and find a way to support ourselves that we knew we had to think outside of the box and see about creating our own work. We had previously worked for a company in amenity management together as managers and we both knew that it was something that we were really good at. And that was how ELITE amenity management was created.
In entrepreneurship, there is a sense of luck and timing that I feel is necessary for any successful entrepreneur to take advantage of and for us it just how happened that our luck was during a recession. Had it not been for our need to create our own work then we might not be here 15 years later with a thriving company.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Andrew Meditz: I think the biggest mistake that myself and my business partner were guilty of is the same mistake that I now witness other young entrepreneurs making. This mistake is the need and desire to try and control and micromanage every aspect of the business. When we first started the business we were trying to wear every hat that we possibly could. The sales hat, the manager hat, the bookkeeping hat, etc. and this was in large part due to the fear of someone not doing as good a job as we would.
However, in reality, quite the opposite proved to be true. When you decide to delegate responsibilities and give out those “hats” you not only find that those people you were afraid to give that responsibility to actually do a better job at it because they are specialists or simply have more patience and time to do the job but more importantly you are able to free up your time from the operational side of the business and focus on the more important strategic side of the business.
Switching from operations to strategy will allow you to focus more on the growth of the company and fixing the operations for the better instead of stuck operating where you can only focus on the task at hand and putting out the daily fires. It is always better to take the position of being proactive instead of reactive and by delegating, this will allow you to be the proactive entrepreneur that you can be.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Andrew Meditz: Resilience to me means the ability to adapt. Back in 2020, for the first time in 15 years, we were forced to shut our doors for close to three months and couldn’t operate managing our clubs. Having to furlough over 800 employees was one of the hardest things that my business partner and I have ever had to do. But we realized that if we wanted to bring all 800 of those employees back that we were going to have to adapt and figure out a way to make the company even better for when they returned,
During the 3 months that we were shut down, we pivoted to virtual fitness classes and other online content for our customers like cooking lessons with celebrity chefs and mixologists, dog training videos, and zoom classes with all types of experts related to residential living. This pivot and adaptation gave way to what is now our ELITE App which offers on-demand content and virtual concierge services for all of our customers which is an entirely new revenue stream for the business and allows us to enter the corporate wellness space which is an industry that we weren’t in prior to the pandemic.
I am happy to report that we have since brought back all 800 employees and an additional 100 and have increased sales 10% from pre-pandemic levels all thanks to our team’s ability to adapt during a pandemic.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Andrew Meditz: Now with our digital concierge and on-demand and live virtual content from the ELITE app I don’t see why every residential building or corporate wellness program wouldn’t want to utilize our services in order to offer more value added to their resident or employee experiences. I truly think that with the work from home model appearing to be the new normal that more residential buildings all across the world will be utilizing our services either in person or virtually in order to attract more tenants and stay competitive in this ever more competitive landscape of real estate and attracting employees back to the office eventually.
I am confident that ELITE amenity management will be worldwide in 5 years and continuing to push the limits of luxury with the ELITE brand in Amenity Management and Corporate wellness.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Andrew Meditz: My biggest strength when dealing with staff, senior management, and customers is my ability to offer a free space for communication and most importantly to listen rather than speak. One of the biggest faults that entrepreneurs make when dealing with employees and clients is that they are too busy offering solutions than listening to find out what the employees and clients are actually trying to say. Many entrepreneurs, including myself, sometimes are guilty of reacting first instead of listening or asking questions to find out why this is the way.
For example, when pitching a new client it is more important to listen to them talk about what they are interested in than actually trying to sell them on what you think they are interested in.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Andrew Meditz: When I first started the company with my business partner we were two young guys at 21 years old starting out and didn’t want to have any personal branding related to the company because we feared our age would show us to be inexperienced. However, in the past few years, we had started putting our own personal branding out along with the company branding and found it to be very successful in publicity and helping to grow the company’s market share. If I have learned anything about personal branding it is that you shouldn’t be afraid to put yourself out there because the good that will come from it from building your network alone is worth it.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Andrew Meditz: I like to practice “extreme ownership” as a leadership style when dealing with my employees. “Extreme ownership” doesn’t allow for any excuses to be made and puts the responsibility of all the employee’s actions as well as the company’s growth and sakes directly on myself and my business partner.
For example, if an employee does something wrong then the first thing I do is not reprimand the employee but ask myself is there something that we could have done better in order to make that employee act properly. Does our training need improvement? Does his supervisor need to be held accountable for not leading correctly because we didn’t lead that supervisor correctly? It is a true top-down approach that always puts the responsibility back on the company’s shoulders to ask how can we improve. I find this leadership approach is effective in also helping senior management to assess the SWOT analysis on a daily basis by always asking how we can better improve and look ahead to offering better service.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Andrew Meditz: A lot of people say that they want to be entrepreneurs but end up becoming business owners and not entrepreneurs along the way.
For example, entrepreneurs create companies that are scalable and their own living entities that aren’t reliant solely on the owners in order to operate and can operate independently. Whereas business owners create businesses that live and die with those owners. If say you want to open a pizzeria but you’re the only one who knows the profit margins, the recipe, and does all the books then your business cannot exist without you. You may own the business but because you haven’t figured out how to scale it then you might as well just be an employee because you have no freedom.
If you go on vacation then the business cannot operate. Forget about trying to sell it because it isn’t worth anything to anyone if you aren’t there running it for them. The best advice that I can give any young entrepreneur is to always figure out the best ways to scale your operation for future growth, profitability, and for your own personal freedom.
What’s your favorite “leadership” quote and how has it affected the way you implement your leadership style?
Andrew Meditz: “Focus on being productive, instead of being busy.” – Tim Ferriss
I preach this quote to all of our managers as a way to tell them that it is always better to be proactive than to be reactive. If you spent more time trying to figure out why the fires are starting then you wouldn’t have to put so many out. This is the management style that we practice at ELITE Amenity Management which allows our managers to think more strategically than just operationally.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Andrew Meditz for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Andrew Meditz or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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