I’d like to thank everyone for electing me your 2007 President. And thanks for taking the time to read the Report from the President.
Since you’re reading this after InspectionWorld California, The
Conference for Home Inspectors, I thought it would be appropriate to write about my first ASHI International Conference: “Building On Our Success.”
It was a cold Thursday January night in Chicago. The hawk was screaming down Lake Michigan, bringing an icy chill through my down-filled parka. But I was searching for a new opportunity to make a living, so I signed up to learn about this new, to me, field of home inspection.
After filling out the proper registration information, Frank’s Home Maintenance & Repair was ready. Having worked as a maintenance mechanic for 15 years at my job in a sugar processing plant, I knew a fair amount about both steam and forced-air heating systems. What I learned the next day was just how little I knew about forced air and steam heat, and how little I knew about home inspections.
Friday’s session is forever embedded in my memory. It was the gas forced-air heating session. The hot topic of the day was the dreaded cracked heat exchanger and how to detect it. Using a mirror to look for cracks could help, albeit only where one could see. But there was a lot of buzz after the session, and I remember an old salt saying, “essence of wintergreen, my friends. You carefully pour a few drops in the heat exchanger, then turn the blower on, go to a register and sniff. If you smell wintergreen, you’ve got yourself a crack in the H.E., pilgrim. Try not to inhale any when you pour it... that’s all you’ll smell the rest of the day.”
I envisioned this gentleman as a modern day snake-oil salesman offering to let me steal this magic elixir from him for a small fee. But to my surprise, he wasn’t selling anything. He was giving away his knowledge to anyone who cared to listen. Some guys thought this was the best idea since sliced bread. Others doubted it could work.
After the day’s sessions, there was the President’s Reception, followed by the President’s Banquet. I remember standing out from most of the conference attendees because of my green nametag—a color quite appropriate for my lack of experience. I felt as if my green badge was flashing like the lights on an ambulance. I sneaked into the banquet looking for a wall to blend into.
Then I heard someone say, “Looking for a place to sit?” I stuttered, “Uh, yeah, I guess.” The gentleman and his wife were sitting with a group of other home inspectors, but were gracious enough to let me join them. He introduced himself as Jerry Baumgardt and was accompanied by his lovely wife, Karen. Jerry was the president of the Great Lakes Chapter of ASHI and he said, “So you want to be a home inspector?” I thought it had to be that damn green name tag! More likely it was the look of a deer in headlights.
Jerry and Karen started peppering me with questions like, “Okay, you finish the inspection and the seller says she’d like to leave a copy of the report out for prospective buyers. What do you do?” And, “There’s snow on the roof, how much of a discount will you give me?” More questions and answers followed and I went home after that dinner thinking how lucky I was to have stumbled onto the one couple willing to help out a newbie. Jerry and Karen introduced me to the wonderful camaraderie of ASHI. I was soon to learn that was the norm—not the exception. Thanks, Jerry!
(More about that next month.)
I thought it would be enlightening to see what the ASHI ‘89 International Conference fees would be if compared in 2005 dollars.
A Member or Candidate who registered early paid $375. A non-member/non-candidate who registered early paid $450. If they registered late, it was $425 or $500 respectively. If we adjust those 1989 dollars into 2005 dollars, the fees would be $619 for a Member/Candidate if paid early or $701 if paid late. A non-member would pay $742 if early or $825 if paid late.
The attendance at the ‘89 conference was: 383 plus spouses and 15 vendors.
Since that conference in 1989, we’ve tripled our attendance, we have seven times the number of vendors and we’ve added another half-day of education (3 days instead of 2-1/2). Even with these upgrades, we’ve held our costs below what they were in the past. By any measure, InspectionWorld is quite a bargain.
By the way, I went to my local apothecary the following Monday, bought the essence of wintergreen, tried it on my own furnace and proceeded to stink up my house for a day or two. Hey, you learn. Someday, ask me about my
ultrasonic leak detector.
If you’re not tired of reading about my experiences, click here