Wow! I just got back from InspectionWorld in Orlando. What a great IW it was. If you have never been to an IW, you should plan on being at the next one and every one to come. This was the first one for our new executive director, Jeff Arnold, and some of our staff. Jeff and the staff did one heck of a job putting this together and making sure all of the events were covered and on schedule. The meeting rooms, AV and support were great; the food was superb. Everyone I talked to enjoyed the entire event. My thanks go to Jeff and our great staff.
Based on the feedback I got from attendees, the education sessions were some of the best we’ve ever had. My thanks go to Education Committee Chair Greg Caudill and his dedicated group of volunteers. I saw the book of presenters submitted to the committee, and it was a huge three-ring binder full of presentations and presenters. How they managed to digest all of that and pick the slate they did in the short time they had is amazing. We all owe thanks to these volunteers for the time spent making sure we had quality education.
The exhibit hall was another well-put together section. Bill Lewis, ASHI’s marketing director, solicited vendors from past conferences and some new ones. Bill did a great job and this was his first IW. There were daily drawings for prizes and cash. The continental breakfast and lunches were located in the exhibit hall, so we all had lots of time to check out the booths and what was offered. The annual breakfast also was held in the hall.
IW ’09 started on Tuesday with the Council of Representatives meeting, followed by the CoR reception. This was a great time to meet the council reps and talk to them about their chapters and ASHI. Wednesday was the Board of Directors meeting. This meeting was open to all ASHI members who wanted to see how the BoD functions and there were several who attended.
The exhibit hall opened Wednesday night with a ribbon-cutting and reception and lots of good food, drink and conversation. It was great to meet the vendors and mingle with old and new friends at the reception. Some of the friends I saw at IW I met in 1995 and have seen at every conference since. There were many spouses there. Some attended the education sessions, some enjoyed visiting and relaxing. There were some spouse events and a spouse lounge where they could meet up with their friends and have refreshments.
Thursday was the first day of education seminars. Thursday night was the leadership reception where again we got to mingle with old friends, make new friends and learn more about who is in leadership. All who serve on the Board, directors and officers, and many council representatives and committee members attended. We were able to talk to them about ASHI,
including some of our future plans.
Friday was the annual meeting and breakfast. This was a change from past conferences when the annual meeting was held at lunch. Most attendees said they liked this year better. Outgoing directors, officers and committee chairs were honored, and the directors and officers for the new Board were sworn in.
The President’s Gala was held that night, with some really great food and drink. There were awards for Monahan and Cox handed out, and then a dance with another opportunity for meeting with old and new friends.
Saturday was the wrap-up, with the exhibit hall closing and everyone finding acquaintances to say adios until next year. In past years, the Gala was held on Saturday night, but having it on Friday gave those who could an opportunity to head home after the seminars.
For me, the best part of attending the conference, besides the great education seminars, is the networking with other inspectors. Most of us work alone, and if we don’t go to chapter meetings, we have little contact with other inspectors. The war stories and sharing of ideas and inspection tips are priceless. You have an opportunity to hear about what kind of conditions and structures inspectors see in different states, the way various weather affects homes and numerous other first-hand experiences you can’t get from any seminar. We had attendees from Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and every place in between.
The ASHI staff will be working to have IW 2011 and 2012 in different places. The staff is working with the Board to find more affordable venues for the conference. Some of us use IW as an annual vacation combined with education, but some are not able to do this. The staff is working hard to see that future IWs will be more affordable so we have much higher attendance and more inspectors will be able to get the benefit of attending.
I look forward to seeing old friends in Las Vegas in 2010, and more new faces to make friends with. I hope yours is one.