Why do we, as inspectors, take time away from growing and managing our businesses to volunteer or be a member of an ASHI chapter?
Because it’s worth every second of commitment and time to learn. Because we are able to form valuable relationships with allied inspectors and gain up-to-the-minute education needed to become among the best inspectors and business owners in our markets.
At the Northern Illinois Chapter of ASHI (NIC ASHI), we do our best to keep our education offerings relevant and engaging every month so that our chapter members keep coming back for more.
NIC ASHI has been blessed with some very committed and creative education chairs during the last few years. In addition, our board is always actively in search of new contacts, including architects, engineers, product distributors, designers and skilled tradespeople, who can present information at our meetings. Every few months, we brainstorm ideas for topics, speakers and events, and then our education chair gets to work filling the schedule for the next three to six months. At most meetings, we present two topics, so that means we often need to book two speakers. Generally, we invite a presenter to discuss a specialty or a general knowledge topic before dinner, and another presenter to discuss a technical or advanced knowledge topic for the evening’s main presentation.
In addition to presentations at our regular meetings, we also organize special continuing education (CE) events and opportunities like these:
- visits to places such as UL Laboratories, structural engineering or FEMA test labs
- hands-on building projects and on-site commercial workshops
- visits to manufacturing plants that produce building components like windows and doors
Recently we coordinated a two-day, FAA sUAS (drone) training class and offered the class at a reduced rate to our members.
Also, in an effort to encourage and mentor our chapter’s newest inspectors, we have an active ride-along program. To participate, new inspectors can arrange times to go on inspections with experienced inspectors. This program helps improve relationships between new and seasoned inspectors, and it even helps us retain our new chapter members.
As proud as I am of NIC ASHI and our members, there are always challenges. All chapter leaders get discouraged from time to time. Sometimes a speaker falls short of our expectations or cancels at the last minute, or a vendor presentation turns into a hard sales pitch (which always results in complaints from our members).
To address these issues, we brief our speakers before they attend our meetings so that they understand the role of the inspector as it relates to their topic or product, and we encourage them to focus their presentations with this information in mind. In addition, we keep a few member-prepared presentations in our “back pocket” for last-minute changes or cancellations. We continue to learn from our mistakes as well as our successes, and we do our best to make improvements along the way that strengthen the quality of our education offerings.
We have more than 100 active members (108 at our last official count), and approximately 500 inspectors and affiliates on our mailing list. Our regular meetings typically attract 40 to 50 inspectors, and CE-focused events can attract between 50 and 75 inspectors. Depending on the venue or class-size limitations, we attract between 10 and 75 inspectors to our off-site educational events and classes.
NIC ASHI meets every second Wednesday of the month at Allegra Banquets in Villa Park, IL. Our doors are always open to ASHI inspectors and affiliates, so if you’d like to receive notifications of our meetings, please contact me at Jeremy@DiscoveryInspector.com. You also can keep track of us at www.NICASHI.com.
Recent and upcoming education topics to be presented at NIC-ASHI meetings:
- Approaches to crawl space encapsulation (Crawlspaces.com)
- Boiler systems and inspections (Weil-McClain)
- FHA inspections (chapter member)
- Electrical system installation and defects (master electrician)
- Joint meeting with National Association of the Remodeling Industry on social media marketing, and managing moisture in residential applications (DuPont)
- Infrared thermal imaging diagnosis
- Chimney, fireplace, chimney and stove inspections
- Field trip to ClimateGuard Windows Factory
- State Farm Insurance, CLUE reports and homeowner’s insurance
- Firestone roofing presentation
- Claims and risk management
- Structural concerns in construction for home inspectors
- (structural engineer)
- Residential solar panel systems
Jeremy Meek, ACI, Discovery Inspection Services, Oswego, IL. Jeremy is a 2011 graduate of The ASHI School and President of NIC ASHI. He has served on the executive board of NIC ASHI since 2013.