Director profile: Tony Irvine

Tony IrvineTony Irvine is one of those unique strata managers who has experience not only in strata management but also as a strata service provider. While he has been at Director of Irvine Strata Management for seven years, he also spent four years as Chief Operating Officer at MaxSoft, a company well-known to the industry.

Tony’s career started in banking and completing a post-grad from University of Western Sydney. Overall he spent 20 years at Westpac and CBA before joining Maxsoft.

He says a career highlight occurred after six months of operations when he had that ‘uh ha’ moment. That moment was when he realised that having worked for wages for 25 years, strata management was what he wanted to be doing for the next ten years and that his family would be supported through the business success. The business now employs eight people and is growing although Tony is anticipating that the recent changes to the legislation will have positive effects on the business.

Tony believes the industry is about to come out of a long period of slumber where things have been done the same way for many years. His passion is to respond, contribute and leverage from the changes that will occur in the next couple of years. Principally he sees this as occurring through mentoring and enabling young strata business owners, but also to bring ideas that these industry changes present and build profitable, sustainable income producing businesses.

Following the new legislative changes, Tony is anticipating significant changes to client expectations, business operations, risk and litigation, and corporatisation of strata companies. The challenge for the industry, he says, is to embrace these opportunities to minimise risk, increase profitability and improve client service. SCA (NSW) has a key role to play in these changes.

For anyone getting into the strata industry, Tony has some sage advice. He says that strata is largely an unknown industry. While there are strata buildings all over Sydney, he is still amazed at how many people don’t understand that strata managers exist.

Tony recommends it to new entrants as a career and staff are in great demand. He advises new entrants to pick the employer that they think they can learn the most from and ensure they have a good reputation in the market.

Tony advises to ask them how they are changing their business in light of the new legislation. Interviews are always a two-way street. He points out that while they are interviewing you, you also need to interview them.

Finally, Tony recommends trying to find a mentor – someone that you can bounce ideas off and challenge you to expand your career.

His parting advice is that it is often much easier to rise within one organisation than it is to skip from firm to firm. Employers value loyalty and continuity in their business. Those employers include the savvy ones like Tony.