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Tony Petersen, Arab

Tony Petersen, manager of Annie Lee Gardens in Arab, was recently honored as AHFA’s 2019 Manager of the Year (MOTY). Now in its 22nd year, the MOTY award recognizes outstanding management staff at AHFA-funded developments.

Petersen oversees the daily operations of the development’s 40 affordable housing units. His nomination package, compiled by Olympia Management, included letters from residents, coworkers, and service agencies praising Petersen’s character and reputation.

Olympia Division Manager Misha Lewis wrote, “Tony is a caring manager who maintains a positive relationship with his tenants. Tony regularly checks on his tenants to ask them if they have any needs that he can assist them with. Tony takes pride in keeping the curb appeal of his property looking great. He encourages the tenants to have flowers and hanging plants. He always has his property well landscaped, which encourages prospective tenants to want to live there.”

A decorated Vietnam War veteran and former law enforcement officer, Petersen took a job in property management after finding retirement somewhat boring. Petersen said, “I was told I couldn’t work anymore, and I put up with that for about a year. I heard that there was a maintenance job open. It didn’t pay much, but it did pay the rent.”

In 2014, he took over management of Annie Lee Gardens. Tenants and coworkers alike praise his honesty, dedication, and strong work ethic. He regularly plans activities for his tenants to enjoy each other's company with coffee time, crafting, bingo night, game/movie night, and potluck dinners. A monthly newsletter keeps everyone informed of events, birthdays, inspections, pest services, and even losses in the community.

Resident Sharon York wrote, “He is the best manager we have had since I have lived at the complex. Through his dedication to his residents, Mr. Petersen has shown himself as a dependable, personable, and caring manager. He offers a sense of family to the community by offering his friendship and ear when residents are undergoing personal problems.” Petersen talks of his work as less of a job and more of a calling that he takes great pride and honor in fulfilling. “Taking care of people is the most important thing to me,” he said.

Minutes after receiving his award during the Alabama Affordable Housing Association’s conference, Petersen said, “It’s fantastic. Just the recommendation was enough for me. The people I surround myself with make me who I am.”

Petersen and his wife, Debbie, live on-site at Annie Lee Gardens and have four children, five grandchildren, and one great grandson.