We really do yearn for a “Happy New Year.”
2008 was a financially challenging year for ASHI and many of our members. In most areas of the country, the slump in the housing market worsened as housing prices dropped and available credit tightened. ASHI was not immune to the fiscal concerns facing many associations, as our membership numbers did not grow significantly and our annual conference attendance was not as strong as in some past years. Many of our chapters also have reported a drop in their membership numbers.
2009 begins with uncertainty regarding our changing national government leadership, global and local economies and talks of “bailouts” for all kinds of industries and companies. The whole concept of “bailouts” irks many of us as we have seen the government and many segments of our society live beyond their means. I have yet to hear of a program or plan to “bail out” ASHI, so I guess we will have to continue to practice good fiscal management principles!
Your Board of Directors and staff are committed to being conscientious in spending your money, yet, we intend to be prepared for progress and growth when market conditions improve. This is a challenge in which ASHI is committed to persevere. Executive Director Jeff Arnold, Finance Director Dick Bennett and Treasurer David Tamny have done a remarkable job in looking for areas where expenses can be trimmed or curtailed, and they have managed the ASHI budget with vigilance.
ASHI continues to provide high value for your membership dollars. The ASHI Web site is an excellent source of business referrals for many of our members, and the fees generated from these referrals far outweigh the cost of membership. ASHI has developed relationships with other “stakeholders” in our industry and continues to dialogue on ways to partner with them for mutual benefit. ASHI is on Capitol Hill to argue for regulations and policies to require each home that is subject to government funding be inspected. We always are searching for ways to enhance our educational offerings at the national and chapter levels. And ... even though the finances are stretched, the Board remains committed to spend important resources on our public relations efforts! Our new firm, Gibbs and Soell, has done a great job of creating and maintaining ongoing exposure for ASHI and its members.
One thing you can count on in the new year is that ASHI will persist in working to enhance and create programs to provide increased value for each member. We understand and appreciate that each dues-paying member is a “donor” to our society and maintains his or her membership voluntarily. Our members expect us to maintain the highest standards and ethics as we continue to be the leaders and the “voice” of the profession. ASHI takes its commitment to membership value very seriously, and we will strive to maintain your trust!
It has been a privilege and an honor to serve ASHI in 2008 and to have the opportunity to work with our new Executive Director Jeff Arnold and President-elect Bill Richardson on a regular basis. We all should be optimistic as we are led into 2009 by these men of integrity.
2008 was a trying year for many of us in the inspection business. If you survived and thrived, you are blessed and should be very thankful. For the rest of you, I hope and pray that you will have a genuine “Happy New Year.”