September, 2003
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



ASHI’s presence in Washington: Strategic Planning in Action

RICHARD C. MATZEN

For three years our Executive Director and President have been visiting Washington D.C. annually to, as our Lobbyist  Randall Pence describes it, soften the field. We pass out business cards, a statement of our objectives and offer our services to congressional staffers.

After a season of softening the field, the likelihood increases we may be asked to contribute to the federal legislative process. I’ve been to D.C. twice and spent whirlwind days moving from office to office, business card close at hand.

In July I saw evidence that ASHI is known in D.C. Last year ASHI was at  the Government Accounting Office (GAO) for an hour discussing property flipping. This year we had another hour appointment; however we were kept for two and one-half hours. A senator had asked the GAO for a study of first time homebuyers using FHA financing. Prior to the trip, we received a list from the GAO of 60 survey questions to be asked of buyers using FHA.

We did our work, reviewed the questions, prepared remarks and criticisms and were prepared for the productive work session we had. Our effort will make a difference. The GAO had done its work too. They understand who we represent, and they know how our profession is vulnerable to external pressures. They know we have well-developed and defendable Standard of Practice and a Code of Ethics, and recognize these two documents as essential to our legitimacy as representatives of our profession.

At the conclusion of our session with the GAO, we were asked to return in September to work further on matters related to FHA homebuyers. As you read this, we may be working in Washington.

Our path to Washington has been a short, well-mapped journey.  Plan-ning began in April and July of 2000 with the drafting of a long-range strategic plan that included outcome oriented statements with  3-5 year horizons. There were seven goal-oriented statements.

1 – Advocacy – ASHI will be increasingly consulted in legislative or regulatory issues that affect the profession.

Following goal #1 was an objective - Increase influence in the federal arena. The ASHI Legislative Committee recommended hiring a  lobbyist, and the Board approved the concept, allowing voluntary contributions to a legislative fund to be included with annual dues notices. Our membership responded; our lobbyist, Randy Pence came on board, and now our presence is being felt in Washington D.C.

2 – ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics will be the benchmarks for quality property inspection services. I suggest we are doing well in this arena.

3 – All stakeholders will increasingly look to ASHI as the trusted source of inspection-related information and guidance. This is the essence of our Branding program.

4 – ASHI will be the pre-eminent source for property inspection knowledge and information among allied professions. In the last years we have expanded our alliances many fold with stakeholders and organizations.

5 – ASHI membership will be seen as vital to property inspection
success.
Candidates are more determined than ever before to accomplish full membership in our society.

6 – ASHI members and leaders will function as a unified professional community. My messages this year have often focused on the shortcomings of our brotherhood.  I hope this year’s Strategic planning group redoubles our effort in this arena.

7 – ASHI will be the primary source for HI education and training. Following on the heels of the successful ASHI@Home training program, the Society is prepared to announce the ASHI School of Home Inspection, offering correspondence; online; college-curriculum; and classroom training programs.

Strategic planning served us well, and it is our responsibility to continue to plan for our future. This month 20 of our experienced leaders are convening to plan for the next 3-5 years. It is remarkable to examine ASHI’s 2000 Strategic Plan and recognize that those issues we identified and included in our goals are being realized.
ASHI is a mature and sophisticated society working professionally, diligently and steadfastly to plan for the profession and accomplish our objectives.

We can be confident our strategic planning task force will produce a plan as well-crafted as the 2000 version, and that the next 3-5 years will be as well-focused and as goal-oriented as the last 3-5 years.