It’s been a busy year for your ASHI Board. There were quarterly face-to-face meetings, conference calls and many e-mail discussions. Your Board members are a dedicated group of volunteers. The Board’s major accomplishments during the year included the following: • Established the ASHI Foundation; this is a 501 C 3 entity. As such, it is a tax-deductible (to the donor) education foundation. It can be used for estate planning or tax deductions for those who donate to it, and it can apply for various grants. It will be able to set up scholarships and give grants for education. The ASHI Board of Directors is also the Board of Directors for the Foundation. I’m sure that there will be many great things associated with the Foundation. • Formed a new for-profit corporation, ASHI Education, Inc. (AEI). This entity is dedicated to providing quality education to the inspection profession. It will deliver education online, at colleges, in classrooms and via correspondence courses. The courses will be for beginner inspectors, seasoned inspectors, tradesmen and others who need continuing education. AEI will work with ASHI chapters to provide quality education as requested. The purpose is to help ASHI’s chapters and members have access to top-quality education. AEI also will work with the ASHI Foundation and the Certification Board as needed. ASHI Education Inc created a new joint venture called The ASHI School with Casey O’Malley to provide classroom education to beginning home inspectors; these classes started this month.
• Earned third-party recognition of ASHI’s accreditation program. The accreditation is through the NCCA. Now, we can truthfully call ourselves ASHI Certified Inspectors. This was accomplished through an arduous process of application and ASHI Bylaw changes. The voting members approved the bylaw changes needed to create the Certification Committee, which completed the accreditation requirements. The process was well worth it. ASHI Certified Inspectors will be reaping the benefits. There are many possibilities down the road for additional certifications. This was a major accomplishment for our association, one we all should be very proud of. • Addressed ASHI governance. At the January meeting in Las Vegas, your Board voted to change ASHI’s governance structure, one that has served us for 16 years. But this ain’t your daddy’s ASHI: With the economy, demographics and external pressures, ASHI needed a new structure.
The main features of the new structure involve a smaller board, with officers elected by the Board and the directors elected from and by the membership, as well as a new task force to address ASHI’s role and relationships with its chapters. These changes are historic changes in ASHI’s direction and future. They reflect the need to get the governing board to focus on understanding the needs of the members, not the response to those needs.
These decisions were made after the Board studied the issues for the last two years. The Board is sensitive to the questions from the members and will be issuing an explanation to the members soon. These changes will not take place until the members vote on a bylaw change.
• Continued to underwrite successful ongoing programs.
– On a federal level, our lobbyist was busy keeping ASHI’s name in front of those who influence housing and real estate legislation. ASHI sponsored language that will require training for HUD counselors to advise buyers of the importance of a home inspection. This was a major accomplishment because associations usually do not have much sway with the government.
– On the public relations front, our agency handled numerous requests for interviews. For example, I contributed to the story, “9 Tips for Buying a Foreclosure,” which ran on the This Old House Web site and CNN.com. Also, ASHI appeared in syndicated columns, such as a story on the pitfalls buyers face when purchasing a vacant home, that appeared all over the country, including top-tier daily newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune.
And I contributed to two seasonal maintenance stories for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and a story on seller inspections for the Boston Globe.
– Your staff, under the great leadership of Executive Director Jeff Arnold, has brought several new member benefits to the board. The board approved them and you, the membership, are getting the benefit. ASHI is also receiving benefits in the form of non-dues revenue. This is great news as the more revenue we receive the less chance for a dues increase.
As you can see, it was a busy and successful year. I fully expect the coming year under President Tamny to be even more productive. Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of being ASHI’s president; it has been an honor.
2009 Treasurer’s Report
Charles Gifford, 2009 ASHI Treasurer
The Finance Committee views itself as the steward of the membership’s resources, and we are guided in that responsibility to make wise fiscal decisions. The 2008-2009 fiscal year is now over, and ASHI has ended the year with a modest loss of $52,688. While a loss is never great news, this actually is quite positive considering the state of the housing market, the economy and the Society’s eight percent decrease in total revenues, versus 2007-2008.
For the second straight year, expenses have come in substantially below the budget (approximately $163,000 lower) but, as stated previously, so has income (approximately $275,000 lower than budgeted). We have managed operating expenses well, but have continued to struggle with conference expenses. And, again, our major financial burden was a loss on our annual conference. Even though we lowered conference expenses, revenues for the conference continue to be down.
Your ASHI staff has worked diligently to develop a relationship with our new conference planners to renegotiate the contract for IW 2010 at Bally’s Las Vegas, and to manage and negotiate contracts for future conferences. This hard work, which significantly reduces our risk and exposure, is reflective of market conditions and future conference attendance at IW 2010 and into the future.
ASHI continues to support a policy to strengthen and protect our reserve position and has developed strategies to move our investments out of the volatile stock market into more secure and stable investment vehicles. We have worked diligently to control expenses and will continue to do so over the next year.
ASHI has just completed its annual independent audit performed by Desmond and Ahern Ltd. This once-a-year process takes place to assure our membership that our financial house is in order. Our members can take pride that ASHI remains in a strong position to continue to serve their needs.
ASHI remains committed to being the voice of the home inspection industry. Our core values have not changed in that we embody the highest standards and ethics of the industry. We believe that when consumers seek out a qualified inspector, they should choose an ASHI inspector. We will continue to allocate our resources to media outreach, national lobbying, member programs and education.
I have been proud to serve as your treasurer for this past year and know that the new treasurer and officers will be able stewards of your society in 2010.