Both are true statements, and I am now the victim of “fleeting time.” It seems like yesterday that I was sworn in as your president. As I write this, my final column, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on some of my feelings about my year of serving you.
I am sad.
I am sad that I have not been able to accomplish all that I thought I could. When we come into this job (I have confirmed this with other past presidents), we think we can do it all. I remember the energy I had back in late January and early February, calling the office daily to see what was happening. I quickly learned I had more ideas than our system was able to deal with. I soon learned how to economize and prioritize my thoughts.
I am glad.
I am glad for all of the wonderful experiences the job has presented to me … for all of the friendships that have been made… for the courtesy and respect that has been bestowed on me by my fellow inspectors… for the opportunity to visit so many of our chapters… for the good that I may have done during the year… for the support I have received from our past presidents and from our officers, staff and members. I am glad that I was able to represent this organization.
I am proud.
I am proud of the advances ASHI has experienced in the past five or six years and of my small part in helping to make them happen over my long career. We’re financially healthy, owners of real estate, in the hands of a very talented and effective staff, have truly dedicated volunteers, and we have become the nationally-recognized voice of the home inspection profession. We’ve established ourselves on the Washington D.C. scene, and with that recognition comes the respect we need to continue to influence the national agenda on housing issues. We’ve established a separate testing organization that is on its way to becoming the only recognized exam for home inspectors that has any validity. We’ve grown our chapters to more than 80. We’ve grown our Membership to approximately 5,700. We’ve reached the point where we now have more Members than Candidates. We’re featured nationally in the press and on television with millions of readers and viewers on a continuing basis. We’re sought out for our opinion on issues related to housing on a regular basis. We have truly become the voice of our profession.
I have learned.
I have learned many different things during my year that will be with me forever. The job humbles you, and at the same time it expands you. You learn to facilitate a discussion rather that debate a particular issue. You learn that the president, for all the stature and glory of the title, has less to say about policy than a committee. You learn to see all the various sides of an issue, and are more open to all ideas than when you take a stand on one side of that issue. None of this ability is genetic. The job teaches you to be better on a continuing basis. By the end of your year, you are fully prepared for the job.
I have learned other things as well with some great insight into travel. I’ve learned that to fly from the Midwest to the East coast, you sometimes have to go through Texas, and to reach Florida from New York you may have to go to the Midwest. I’ve learned the national weather can be your friend, but usually is not. And I have learned the true meaning of the “red eye” flight. But the ultimate lesson garnered from all of this is that there is no place like home. You very quickly learn that your loved ones involuntarily share the sacrifice of your volunteering.
I give thanks.
I wish to thank everyone who has been a part of my ASHI career. My one-year left of service on the Board of Directors will conclude my 22 years of service to ASHI. I have enjoyed every part of it. I thank you all for the opportunity to have been your president.