WOW! What a year! ASHI faced several major challenges over the past 12 months. The first was ASTM’s attempt to create a Standards of Practice for the home inspector profession, in spite of the fact that ASHI created the first SoP over 30 years ago. Our Standards have been adopted/modified by virtually all other home inspector organizations and most of the states that regulate home inspectors. It was a hard-fought battle in February at the NAHI Annual Convention, but scores of inspectors from ASHI, CREIA, TARIE, AHIC, FABI and others helped to make ASTM aware of the fact that we didn’t like what they were trying to do to us.
Seven months later, they tried again. That time, the overwhelming majority of the inspectors present (around 160) voted down ASTM’s effort to create new standards for which we would then have to pay them. Thanks to everyone who attended those meetings and wrote letters opposing the threat.
The next major hurdle was the downturn in the housing market. Let's face it, things got tough. We had to cut some items from our budget to make ends meet. Being fiscally prudent is neither fun nor glamorous. Nor is it easy. But it is necessary. We have to have a balanced budget, and we have to live within our means. Borrowing from the future to pay for current operating expenses is irresponsible. It's unfortunate that the market is still down, so we must contain our spending. That is nothing new to us, though. We've had slow economies in the past and we’ve weathered them.
The next big challenge came last summer when Rob Paterkiewicz, ASHI's executive director, tendered his resignation. Obviously, that put a quite a hitch in our giddy-up.
Fortunately, Dick Bennett, ASHI's finance director, hopped in the saddle. Dick had experience as an ED with a former organization, so he's been our acting executive director until we find a permanent one.
With challenges came opportunities. The Health Insurance Task Force has worked hard to find a company that can arrange for health coverage for our members and their families. Empyrean Benefits Solutions was selected to provide that service. Now ASHI members from all 50 states (sorry, Canadians) may compare their present policy with others. This can reduce premiums and increase coverage. Just go to the company's Web site and start the process: www.empyreanbenefits.com/healthportal/ashi.
Bad weather can be an opportunity also. The Homeowners Insurance Survey Task Force has done yeoman service for several years to make ASHI home inspectors the people who the insurance industry and home owners will go to for inspections of their property. To date, inspectors have earned almost $300,000 filling out the Survey Form. This is a form that can be used in any area of the country where natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires and earthquakes happen. We've spent a lot of time and effort on this, and it is finally starting to bear fruit. Like most insurance, it may seem useless … until you need it. There will be a unique exhibit at InspectionWorld 2009 at Disney World highlighting the benefits of this work.
Another moneymaker for our members and ASHI is our certification of Energy Auditors. This is a new program that will be announced soon (can't spoil the surprise), but keep your eyes open. The Energy Task Force has worked tirelessly to achieve a first for ASHI.
More good news. I had the honor of going to Washington, D.C. twice to speak with Rep. Nydia Velazques (D-NY), who is one of the biggest supporters ASHI has in the U.S. Congress. She is attempting to place an amendment to a House bill urging homebuyers to have a home inspection. We'll see if our efforts make it through the process.
YouTube, Google, Yahoo, etc. better watch out. The NEW AND IMPROVED ASHI Web site is now online! This was one of my major goals this year. The World Wide Web is here. All indications lead to more and more use of the Internet for business. ASHI has been involved for years, but our site was getting a little long in the tooth. Our Web site task force had a long laundry list for the new site, but foremost was ease of use. It had to be as intuitive as possible. It had to be robust. Great
content was another requirement, with the ability to easily modify the site whenever we wanted. If you haven't visited it yet, what are you waiting for? I think you’ll be happy with it.
Nothing worthwhile comes cheaply or without effort. So, I'd like to thank all of the hard work our committees, task forces, CoR, Board and staff did to make this year so successful. The last thing I’d like to say is it’s been an honor serving you.