News from Sea Pines - April 2019

Welcome to the Spring 2019 edition of the Sea Pines e-newsletter! The newsletter and website, expertly managed by webmaster Sophia Sayigh, aim to keep you up-to-date on all the Sea Pines news you'll need. All e-newsletters are posted on the website. 

We welcome your comments to the editor at the email address below.

Path from beach Path to beach

To make your trips to and from the beach easier to negotiate this coming season, Jeff and Kenny of Mercantile have installed the decking improvements seen here. These will get us through the next few years until we take on a complete renovation, which will include a widened beach path and expanded landing.

Terry Milligan

Meet Grove Lane neighbor, Terry Milligan

Gardener, bird watcher, fisherman, chemist, Italophile and fado music fan, Terry Milligan is a familiar face year-round at Sea Pines. His first visit to our community was in 1975, when the units at Friendship Lane were under construction and he was renting a vacation home nearby. Impressed, Terry and his family visited Brewster often and twenty years later purchased a unit on Landing Lane. At his retirement, he moved a stone’s throw away to Grove Lane and established fulltime residency. Terry has been actively engaged in the life of Sea Pines as a member of the FMB (Facilities Management Board) since 1997, serving as president, interim president and vice president. He is widely respected for his pragmatism, sense of humor, and ability to run an ultra-efficient meeting.

Armed with a PhD. in organic chemistry, Terry began and ended his 41-year working life at Polaroid. He led the effort to develop color film for the Polaroid camera as manager of the color photography research lab and later traveled the world educating customers and building business for the instant camera. Near the end of his career at Polaroid Terry worked on the development of large format film for medical imaging. He remembers crossing paths in the halls with famous photographer Ansel Adams, a celebrity film tester for the company.

Terry travels annually to Italy with a group of friends, exploring a different venue each time. He has also visited Slovenia and Portugal, where his son and daughter-in-law lived for a time. In Portugal Terry became enamored with fado, the country’s mournful music genre, and he will gladly treat anyone who asks (and those who don’t) to a fado concert on his cell phone. He frequents high definition opera performances in local theaters and when closer to home, watches birds with the aid of the well-worn Peterson Field Guide he was given in high school. Terry puts many miles on his car visiting his daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in New England.

Pond fishing is another of Terry’s passions. He is willing to share his formula for guaranteed success if readers are willing to keep it a Sea Pines secret. A child can always catch a fish from the dock at the School House Pond across from the fire station, but needs to reel it in fast or it will be snatched by a snapping turtle.

When asked what he likes best about Sea Pines, Terry cites the delicate balance of natural and landscaped environments. He is grateful that it is a family-oriented community, and not a resort. The quiet of winter and the noise of children in the summer are equally satisfying for him.

The annual meeting and proxies – why so important?

The Sea Pines annual meeting, which takes place every year on Memorial Day weekend, is essential to the operation of the condominium association. That’s when members are elected to the Facilities Management Board (FMB), without which Sea Pines has no governance. Think “government shutdown,” if you will. Voting requires a 50% quorum of owners, who participate either by voting in person or by proxy. One household equals one vote. Even if you plan to attend the annual meeting, it is important to submit your proxy to assure quorum in the event that you can’t make it at the last minute.

We hope that you choose to attend the annual meeting. It’s your opportunity to learn what’s happening in your community and what’s planned for the future, to meet your neighbors, and to get to know your representatives on the FMB.

Ryan McGowan

Ryan McGowan and Mercantile - nearly three decades of partnership with Sea Pines

Ryan McGowan was literally born into property management. Tutored by his father, Craig, he began learning the ropes of the business at the tender age of 8, when he was charged with mowing the lawn at the main office in Bourne. From then on, he spent summers and school breaks working with management and maintenance staff at dozens of Mercantile-managed properties across Cape Cod while simultaneously acquiring supervisory experience as a candy store manager and landscape company foreman. Fresh from UMass Amherst in 2010 with a degree in economics and business (and admittedly a few parties under his belt), Ryan accepted his first full-time job as assistant manager at Mercantile. It was baptism by fire that first year when a manager quit unexpectedly and he was suddenly handling 16 properties. Ryan worked his way up the ranks and in January 2019 was named president. Today he runs the company and its staff of 62 and oversees two properties, including Sea Pines.

Dubbing himself a problem solver and jack-of-all-trades, Ryan enjoys the wide variety of projects and challenges that property management presents daily. He’s also invested in professional development, both with staff training at Mercantile and through the Community Association Institute, a trade organization where he teaches.

Ryan lives in Bourne with his wife of one year, Bridget, and their “big wimp of a dog,” Lucky. When not seeing to operations at Mercantile, he can be found snowboarding, hiking, golfing, boating, or playing rugby. Rugby is a particular joy for Ryan, who was a founding member of the Cape Cod Rugby Football Club and went on to play Division I Men’s League for the South Shore Anchors. He’s a fan of authentic Mexican food but leaves the cooking to his wife Bridget, who spent two years at culinary school before entering the nursing profession. The couple bought a sad and neglected house and remodeled it from top to bottom, relying on Ryan’s wealth of practical experience and their combined sweat equity.

Mercantile Property Management was established by Ryan’s father, Craig, in 1987. Craig was involved in the relatively new business of property management in Boston and was drawn to the Cape by the boom in condominium development that took place in the 1980s. Sea Pines was his second client and is the second longest-tenured property in Mercantile’s portfolio. Mercantile is proud that more than half of its client relationships are more than 10 years old and many properties, like Sea Pines, have been clients for more than 20 years.

Mercantile performs a wide range of tasks for Sea Pines, including:

  • Serving as primary interface with Sea Pines homeowners
  • Collecting fees, paying bills, and managing the budget
  • Managing on-site staff (Jeff Harrington and Kenny Norman)
  • Vetting and contracting vendors
  • Overseeing all common area maintenance and repair projects
  • Liaising with association attorneys, insurance agents, and other business partners
  • Reviewing contracts and identifying cost savings for services
  • Obtaining town permits
  • Performing regular site inspections
  • Communicating with homeowners electronically
  • Organizing monthly FMB and annual meetings

Ryan notes that because Sea Pines has a large governing board of 12 members (the FMB) with minimal board turnover, the resultant continuity make for a particularly strong relationship with Mercantile.

Save the date! Sea Pines Beach Block Party: Saturday, August 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm

The Sea Pines Beach Block party will be a fun-filled community BBQ on the beach for residents of Sea Pines and their families. The party is all about coming together as a community, having a great time and getting to know one another. The festivities will begin at 4:00 pm with food, drink and myriad activities for all ages and culminate with a bonfire at dusk. Planning has begun for this event and committees are quickly forming. Invitations and more information will be forthcoming, with additional details to be provided at the annual meeting in May. 

Call for volunteers

  1. Sea Piners interested in helping with this event are encouraged to volunteer at [Email ].
  2. If you have foldable tables that you are willing to share for the afternoon, contact [Email ].
Sand fence The sand fence, seen here in February, is doing its job keeping sand on our beach, where it belongs. The fence was installed last fall by Kenny Norman with help from several residents.

Celebrating community stars: Introducing the Sea Pines Community Recognition Program

Sea Pines is launching a recognition program for individuals who have helped make our community the wonderful place that it is. There will be two categories of awards: 1) recognizing individuals who have provided long-term service to the community, and 2) recognizing those who have excelled at specific tasks or initiatives in a single year. Awards will be presented each year at the annual meeting.

Detailed descriptions of the award criteria and nominating forms will be provided to residents by email in the near future.

Pay a pre-season visit for Brewster in Bloom!

May 3-5, 2019

Enjoy Brewster's 33rd annual celebration of Spring, with fun for all ages.

Summer reminders

Complete information on the policies here.

  • Unit rental policy – one month minimum, once per quarter.
  • Register all kayaks at the club house for storage on the beach kayak rack.
  • Parking stickers will soon be mailed to residents. These will help us manage parking during busy periods.
  • Observe the pool rules, including required sign-in and no unaccompanied children.
  • Beach fires require both a town fire permit and a Sea Pines fire permit.

Questions or comments about this e-newsletter should be directed to Lynn Smiledge [Email ]