HAWAII AT WORK
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
With help from a staff of nine, Shaun Salvador does just about everything that needs to be done as facilities manager for the Kaimuki outlet of Hawaii Self Storage. Above, Salvador last week walked through the outlet's air-conditioned hallways, checking out the different storage units.
Storage star can make room for you
Shaun Salvador has earned national recognition for the quality of his work in the self-storage industry
Title: Facilities and marketing manager
Job: Manages the Kaimuki outlet of Hawaii Self Storage and the company's overall marketing
Shaun Salvador in 1996 was a football walk-on for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, for which he played a year at tight end, including one game he suited up against University of Hawaii (which UNLV lost).
These days, the 6-foot-5 Salvador is a member of the Hawaii Self Storage team, working as the facilities manager for its newest outlet, in Kaimuki, and as marketing manager for the company overall, which has three outlets currently and two more under construction.
His enthusiasm and organizational capabilities, augmented by a bachelor's degree in business administration from UNLV, have made him an industry star, earning him national recognition as 2006 Manager of the Year from two trade publications, Mini-Storage Messenger and Self-Storage Now!
Salvador, 30, was "born and raised" in Pearl City. He graduated from Kamehameha Schools, where he also played football, as a wide receiver. After graduating from UNLV, he returned to Hawaii -- even though he did not have a job lined up -- because, he said, he "just missed home. I missed the culture and the family."
Salvador is single but engaged, to Carisa Young, and lives in Pearl City.
It's been half a year now since you got the award, but congratulations on being named 2006 Manager of the Year in the self-storage industry, out of more than a hundred other candidates nationwide.
Shaun Salvador: Oh, thank you.
Q: What did you do to win that award?
A: Basically, my general manager filled out an application, a recommendation for it, and I also got some references and sent those in as well.
Q: How long have you been with Hawaii Self Storage?
A: Since September 2003.
Q: Were you hired to be a manager or did you start out in another position?
A: Well, actually I started out in another position. I started out with MW Group -- that's the corporate parent company -- in May 2002, as an accountant. My degree, my background, basically is business management. I graduated from UNLV in business management.
Q: What were you doing before you joined Hawaii Self Storage?
A: Before MW Group, I was working for National Mortgage Real Estate as a property management accountant.
Q: Why did you leave?
A: For more opportunities, better opportunities. MW is a growing company and I liked the direction they were headed. I took a pay cut to join the MW Group. And there were a lot of goals I had set for myself that I wanted to work on, and they gave me an opportunity to work on that.
Q: When did you become a manager?
A: In September 2003 I was given the opportunity to become an assistant manager, at what back then was Salt Lake Self-Storage.
Q: Is it something different now?
A: Now we're Hawaii Self Storage.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shaun Salvador has been with Hawaii Self Storage since 2003, starting as an assistant manager and now serving as facilities manager of its newest outlet, in Kaimuki, and overall marketing manager. Above, Salvador last week showed off some old ambulances that are stored at the company's Kaimuki outlet.
Did they do some rebranding?
A: As we were doing our plans to expand, we decided to change our name to reflect that we're serving all of Hawaii. So we changed our name to Hawaii Self Storage.
Q: Was the Salt Lake outlet the only one?
A: Yeah, at the time, the Salt Lake one was our only facility.
Q: So what has been the progress of the expansion?
A: In June 2005, we opened our Pearl City facility, and at that time I was promoted to facility manager. So I opened, set up that store, and got it started. Then in 2006, I moved back to the Salt Lake store because it was kind of in transition. So I helped that store improve its performance. That was the opportunity, I think, that really helped me to grow as a manager, because I was faced with a lot of challenges and obstacles. We were able to make a lot of improvements. We met a lot of our goals.
Q: What kind of goals?
A: As far as income and occupancy goals -- mainly financial goals.
Q: How many outlets are there now?
A: Three right now. I'm at the new location, in Kaimuki. It opened in January 2007.
Q: Are you the manager of just that?
A: Yes. But this past May, I was promoted also to marketing manager. So I'm the facilities manager (for the Kaimuki outlet) and the marketing manager for the whole Hawaii Self Storage.
Q: Well congratulations on that, too.
A: Thank you. Yeah, I think marketing is kind of my passion right now. I love doing it.
Q: Are you going to be in that commercial that they were filming the other morning?
A: I may be. I was in a couple of the shots. The commercial we filmed is actually going to be like a jingle, as well as feature some new footage of our facility. I helped put the whole commercial together, and that was one of my goals -- to be a part of that. I actually went into the studio to help edit it.
Q: What ad agency did you work with?
A: DiGuilio Advertising.
How many people do you manage at the Kaimuki store?
A: Currently, about nine employees.
Q: So what kinds of things occupy your attention each day at work?
A: Let's see ... Just overseeing the overall operation of the facility, overseeing sales. That's really our key right now. We have retail sales and we also have the locker sales. So I'm involved with that. Also I'm involved with HR (human resources) -- managing our employees -- and I help to oversee the other sites as well, and train our new employees and managers. Also, maintaining the facilities' appearance, managing all expenses ...
Q: Do you work with outside vendors?
A: Oh yeah. Anytime there is a problem, if I can't fix it myself, I really get involved (in working with the vendor), because I want to figure out why the problem happened and how to prevent it in the future.
Q: What are some of the most troubling aspects of your job?
A: Well, we also deal with auctions, people that are delinquent. I deal with a lot of customers and their issues and problems. But it's not really troubling, because I love to help them find a solution.
Q: How often do people default on their storage payments?
A: Not very often, but occasionally we get a certain percentage of people that fall behind and don't make payment or they forget about it.
We have a collection process in place, so we call them, send out letters, and go through all the legal steps. We try to contact them every way possible, and after 90 days, their stuff goes up for auction, and we actually coordinate the auctions.
Q: You mean in concert with an auction company?
A: No, in house. We do it ourselves.
At the Kaimuki store, how many units do you have?
A: Sixteen hundred right now, and that includes canoe storage, surfboard storage, and vehicle parking.
Q: Why would anyone want to park their car there?
A: Ho, right now we're full. People go on deployment, people use it for business. We also have antique vehicles, owned by collectors.
Q: Is it climate controlled?
A: No. It's in a secured garage. But our locker side, that's all AC.
Q: Do you have a storage unit for any of your own stuff?
A: I actually do. I'm a customer.
Q: What kind of stuff have you got in there.
A: Household. (Laughter.) I live in a townhouse, and I have all my extra items in there that I don't have room for. And I'm currently renovating as well (at home), so it's like a transition.
By the way, I wanted to mention that one of the best things I like about my job is the commitment to the community. I'm actually involved in and coordinate our college scholarship program, where we give $4,000 scholarships to students in 10 different schools right now, every year.
We also have Lockers for Literacy, which we just started this year, and this year we donate $2 for every locker we rent, to buy books for students in first grade, that they can take home and read.
Q: How do you pick those students.?
A: We select the schools based on the areas that we're in, and their needs.
Q: So are you going to work with Kaimuki High School?
A: We actually sponsored them last year, their basketball team, and they won the state tournament, so we're real proud of that.