On today’s episode of Ownership Matters, we’re joined by Kim Capen, the ROC Association Director for the New England Region. Kim is currently wrapping up his third and final term representing Resident Owned Communities in New England. He moved into the Medvil Cooperative in 2006 just weeks after they finalized the purchase of the neighborhood and later became Board President. He was first elected to the ROC Association Board in 2015 and is often invited to speak at pre-purchase meetings, post-purchase celebrations and conferences around the New England area. He joins the podcast to talk about his work on the ROC Association, including specific initiatives regarding stigma and branding.
Episode: Changing Stigma with ROC Association Director Kim Capen
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, as hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard highlight the stories of people at the heart of the manufacturer housing, and resident-ownership movements. ROC USA—an organization working with resident owners in manufactured home communities—offers these resources for various listeners. In this episode, Paul welcomes guest Kim Capen from Medvil Cooperative in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
0:25 Guest, Kim Capen, introduced
Kim is currently wrapping up his third term as ROC Association Director for the New England region. He moved into the Medvil Cooperative in 2006 just weeks after they had finalized the purchase of the neighborhood. He was soon appointed to the Board of Treasurers and later became Board President, leading many community projects and initiatives. He was first elected to the ROC Association Board in 2015 and is often invited to speak at pre-purchase meetings, post-purchase celebrations and conferences around the New England area.
2:51 Kim’s background
Kim took a significant interest in the restaurant industry and managed a Burger King during college. He has spent much of his life in the industry, in recent years mostly in upper management but considers himself someone who enjoys reinventing himself every few years. He has also been in the commercial cleaning business, diet industry and real estate and is now moving towards retirement.
4:50 Kim’s praise of Medvil Cooperative
As a resident of Medvil, Kim attests that it is the best community a potential buyer will ever live in. For three consecutive years, Medvil was rated the best 55+ community in New Hampshire. The community hosts events year-round and has something to offer for everyone. He is certain all residents feel the same pride in their community.
6:20 Most common questions visitors ask about community cooperatives
Located just off the highway and close to the airport, Medvil receives many visitors who aren’t familiar with resident-owned manufactured housing. The most common reaction Kim has observed is visitor’s surprise that the image of Medvil far exceeds their assumptions about what a mobile home park looks like. Resident owned communities aren’t motivated by profit, but by quality of life and affordable housing. Thus, people in these communities take pride in their homes and it shows.
8:30 Kim reflects on his experience on the ROC USA Board
Kim initially wanted to join the ROC USA Board of Directors because of the three term limitation for Medvil President. After his third term was up, he wanted to continue serving other communities and pass on what he had learned. He speaks of the honor he feels to be elected by his peers to serve on the board and how he has grown thanks to the experience.
13:05 The future of ROC Association
Since Kim joined the board, ROC Association has grown tremendously in their outreach. Kim has had the opportunity to visit other communities thanks to the organization’s higher profile. He has witnessed more and more people becoming interested in supporting and educating other leaders, as well as advocating for financial support and erasing the stigma around manufactured housing communities. There is a tremendous capacity for leadership throughout these communities and Kim has enjoyed watching others realize their potential.
16:50 ROC Association’s brand
One thing ROC USA has done over the years is provide grants to various communities for things they may need. They have tried, and succeeded, to change the language about manufactured housing and help others build pride in their communities. Branding is all about teaching people what the association is and erasing what people may assume they are.
19:00 ROC USA’s grant distribution during Covid
During Covid, ROC USA granted all 27 applications for grants and distributed just over $50,000 to communities across the organization. With the money, communities were able to build new playgrounds, fix broken mailboxes, put in new signs and boost overall morale of the residents during such a tough time.
20:53 Kim offers his advice and encouragement for Coop leaders interested in running for ROC Association Director.
24:05 Kim’s commitment to transparency and communication in his leadership role.
27:15 Thank you to Kim for joining us and sharing his insight and thank you for listening.
Learn more about Medvil Cooperative
Learn more about the ROC Association
Learn more about ROC USA through our website.
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