A lot has happened for Chris Nordin since joining Campus Advantage a year ago as a Controller. His department has experienced some transition, he was promoted to Director of Property Accounting, he’s been an integral part of ensuring employee retention occurs, and he has taken a significant lead on the company’s migration to Entrata. Chris’ role is to support, review, and ensure the timely and accurate preparation of financial statements and account reconciliations for assigned properties, and to assist operating units with analysis and process improvement.
Learn more about Chris and why one degree makes all the difference for his team.
Describe your current role with Campus Advantage.
We manage 42 properties. I oversee four managers, four seniors, and then eight contract individuals who are all accountants. We manage the financial side of the properties, and the financials are just a reflection of activities done on the property. So, we like to tell that story through finance and accounting.
What is your professional background?
I’ve got about 10 years in accounting. I worked for oil and gas companies prior to joining Campus Advantage in 2021.
What first attracted you to work for Campus Advantage?
As an accounting and finance person, I like consistency. The world will always have students, and they’ll always need a place to stay around campus. So, I like the fact that it was going to be a pretty consistent industry. There weren’t going be too many ebbs and flows. It’s a lot different than oil and gas where it’ll go way up and then way down. I also really like the idea of being able to help and service students as they get their education.
You mentioned your dad gave you a valuable piece of advice when you played high school football. How has that impacted you in your current role at CA and your team?
The boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. At 211, you just have really warm water, and at 212, the water boils. Just that one degree difference creates steam, which can power a train. What are you going to do with that one extra degree? Are you going to do that one extra item? That one extra task? Are you going to put that one more degree of effort into a project to make it that much better? Can you turn something that’s really warm and really nice into something that can power a train? This stuck with me growing up, and I used it through college to get one more chapter in. I felt it fit really well with this group, especially with Entrata coming on and all the transitions we’ve been doing lately. It felt like that was an appropriate thing to encourage the team with, and so I remind them of that on a weekly basis.
In a few words, describe what your team does at CA.
A good way to put this is anything that happens at the site, whether you’re buying new furniture or if you’re redoing a unit, that gets translated into invoices. The invoices come across to us, and we make sure that everything looks right on the financial statement, whether it’s an asset, OpEx, CapEx, we make sure that what the site does gets represented correctly in the financial statement.
What three words best describe you (inside or outside of work)?
Serious: If you tell me to do something, I’m going to take that seriously.
Early: One of my biggest pet peeves is people being late to meetings or to dinner or to a party or anything like that. To me, if you plan something, you’re planning it for a time frame and for a purpose.
Hardheaded: I like the way I do things, whether it’s the best way or not. However, I am definitely open to change and willing to try something a different way at least once.
What are three words you would use to describe our Campus Advantage culture and why?
Accepting: Campus Advantage is there for you regardless of who you are and what department you are from.
Goofy and down to business: I come from the oil and gas background, so everything was very strict, very professional, slacks, button-down shirts, whereas here at the office, people wear jeans and tennis shoes. And the events we have, like the FOCUS conference, there was a whole play done and everybody was acting, singing, and dancing — it was all fun and goofy and upbeat and encouraging. That’s not something I’d ever seen before at a company function. The next day, they’re back at work, and they’re getting things done. They’re educated, they’re hardworking, they’re focused, and they want the company to succeed.
What is one of your favorite moments with Campus Advantage so far?
I think the strategy meeting for 2023. Having all the managers in there talking about their ideas for the future, it was really encouraging to me that they want to be efficient, they want to be better, they want the company and department to be better, and here are ideas on how we could achieve that. To see them put the work in and to elaborate their plan was really encouraging, and it gave me a lot of hope for the future of the department.
If you had to choose one company value that best represents you, what would it be and why?
Passion. I’m passionate about my employees being happy. I want them to get the job done, I want them to be correct, I want it to be right, but I don’t want them to be there at 10 p.m. I’m passionate that they’re successful and that they’re also happy.
What motivates you to get up and come to work every day?
Making sure the story gets told correctly. And what I mean by that is from the moment something happens at the property, whether it be someone signing a lease, charging something, receiving a bill, making upgrades, I want that story to be seen in the financials and it be correct, so that we can satisfy our owners with the correct financial story.
Thinking of your most successful peers or teammates, what characteristics do they share?
Hardworking, being dedicated, and being efficient.
What do you like to do for fun when not working?
I enjoy golf, disc golf, and I play video games, as well.
If your life had a soundtrack, name one song that would be on it.
My wedding song — “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. My wife and I got married in November 2021. Our one year is coming up, and we’re excited.