CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!
This has been a well-used phrase this year by our U.S. presidential candidates, and one that has been embraced by your ASHI leadership. From my first communication with you a year ago, I have had the privilege of helping steer ASHI through this year of unprecedented change and transition. I believe these changes, when implemented, will make ASHI even stronger in the years ahead. The following are some of the changes that have taken place over the past year.
The year started with the hiring of our new executive director, Jeff Arnold, who has brought strong management, fiscal and entrepreneurial skills to the position. Jeff is now fully immersed in the ASHI culture, and has created an efficient and productive staff working hard to expand membership value and service. Our staff will be working to create more business development and educational opportunities in the year ahead.
Since October of 2007, ASHI has studied various strategies to enhance its membership value. We have determined that ASHI is uniquely positioned to create a true certification program through the NCCA (National Commission of Certifying Agencies). ASHI is in the final stages of making application for certification, and we expect to have the application approved by midyear. Bylaw changes approved by the membership will be necessary to finish the process and much more information will be forthcoming. Current members will be automatically certified, with no additional requirements needed.
This year has provided unprecedented activity and opportunity in the national legislative arena. ASHI, working with the legislative committee and our lobbyist, Randy Pence, has truly been the “voice of the profession” as we met with representatives of President Bush’s staff, U.S. Senate and House leaders, HUD and small business administration officials and currently with groups working with President-elect Obama’s transition team. There is real and tangible professional and membership value in these activities even though it is difficult for individual members to immediately see the fruits of this labor.
ASHI is changing the way we work with and relate to our chapters in 2009. A new program is being rolled out this spring where trained ASHI inspectors will be employed to visit chapters and their leaders to further develop, strengthen and enhance their activities. We are confident that this personal contact and aid will facilitate growth and improve communications and productivity in all of our chapters. The Chapter Relations Committee has targeted several chapters to visit initially, but the goal will be to visit all chapters on a rotating basis.
Many of our members have been asking “when are we going back to Vegas for our annual conference?” InspectionWorld is all set for Bally’s in Las Vegas in 2010! This is a great venue on the strip, and we are already working on next year’s educational program. Start saving now for this special event!
ASHI is also looking at changing its conference model to work with chapters or groups of chapters to hold regional conferences rather than one yearly event. This may allow for broader participation at our conferences if there is shorter travel, less cost for smaller venues and sharing of resources. The ideas are still being formulated, but initial reactions have been positive.
It has been a great honor serving as ASHI President for 2008, working with your board of directors and staff to create and implement an environment where change is not only allowed, but encouraged and embraced!
I especially want to thank my wife, Jessica, for her support through all the phone calls at dinner, trips away from home, early morning and late-night e-mails and conference calls, and for listening to the exciting stories as well as moments of frustration.
Thank you, ASHI, for the opportunity to help create “change you can believe in!”