DOWNEY - In the months before he retired at the end of February this year as chief financial officer (CFO) of Downey-based L'Abri Management, Inc., Bob Belcher, who joined the property management firm in 1989, began to notice that he was spending more and more hours at work.When the pressure of work got too much, he figured the "time was right" for him to go. Bob has always been actively engaged anyhow in a variety of community activities. As a member of the Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis, he has taken part in stage plays to raise funds for underserved kids. For example, for seven consecutive years, he had roles in the following Kiwanis-produced productions: "Rumors," in 2000; "Any Number Can Die," in 2001; "Playing Doctor," in 2002; "Love, Sex and the IRS," in 2003; The Amorous Ambassador," in 2004; "The Odd Couple," in 2005; and "Lie, Cheat and Genuflect," in 2006. I believe it was the production, "Playing Doctor," in which he played the part of a dog. Taking part in these plays was a ton of work, he says, involving hours and hours of rehearsal: "But it was a lot of fun, and we raised $100,000 for the kids." He has also been very active in his church, the Downey First Christian Church, where he has served as a past trustee as well as treasurer. Another activity which continues to command his attention and time is his involvement with his church's 45-year old softball team, which has won numerous awards and the appropriate rings that go with the championships: the team has won six, but Bob has a special affinity for only one, and it's the one he prefers to wear. It's the ring won by the age-55 team. He's managing a team now, so "they won't cut me." The schedule for his team calls for travel to various destinations: this weekend it's Hemet, in two or three weeks, it's Las Vegas, then in June, the team travels to Reno, and so on. "Ã? love this community, I love Downey," he says. "A lot of great people live here." He loves to play golf. He's a "17.7 handicapper," he says, at Rio Hondo Golf Club. He has also climbed Mt. Whitney, and would do it again given sufficient conditioning first. Thus Bob knows how to occupy his time and energies, and seems determined to drink from the milk of human endurance. In his job at L'Abri Management, he didn't complain of lack of excitement. It truly was an absorbing position. With L'Abri's property management portfolio of over 4,500 apartment units, some 2,500 storage units, plus office and commercial space - 30 percent of which are located in Downey and the bulk found in various locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties (six are located in the Inland Empire, and a number can be found in San Diego and Northern California) - Bob was handling monthly receipts of some $5 million, or $60 million a year, and, as he was the liaison with the company's banks, he would deposit them in about 150 separate accounts, among his other functions. At any rate, his career with L'Abri will always define him. Bob earned a bachelor's (with honors) in business management from Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks in 1972. He graduated from Warren High, as did his two children, Carrie and Mike. He has three grandkids (T.J., Tyler, and Trey, courtesy of Carrie and her husband Toby). He married fellow Warren High grad Cheryl in 1970. He has coached in the Northwest Downey Little League for eight years. Joining Kiwanis in 1998, he served as past president in 2005-06. Prior to joining L'Abri, Bob had already gained wide experience in the accounting area, working at a steel service center, a plastics adhesive manufacturer and a plastics distributorship, as well as logging several years in the banking profession working at Security Pacific National Bank. He made CFO at L'Abri in '93. "The years with L'Abri were 24 wonderful years," he says. L'Abri has for over 30 years prided itself in providing "quality property management and real estate services" to its clients. Its management promotes the company as one synonymous with values of integrity, professionalism, loyalty and dedication in the industry. It avers that its Accredited Management Organization designation awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management, is in recognition of it complying with their strict requirements for financial stability, protection for the owner by proper insurance coverage and experienced professionalism." Bob says its total property management portfolio is insured at $400 million. "Either way," Bob says, "it's a blast!"
********** Published: April 11, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 52