All who join ASHI struggle to earn their full Member designation. From the Candidate application mailed to HQ to the moment they receive their well-earned membership certification in the mail, it takes hard work, determination and the study of building technology to achieve it. Your full Member designation was earned, not purchased or acquired by winning an online quiz. No one would argue our association prides itself on membership standards and becoming qualified before advertising oneself as a “certified member of ASHI,” or as a “Senior Member of ASHI,” an older designation still in use by some.
Over these many years, we have successfully created a proprietary-based association for good and justifiable reasons, and therein lies a concern your committees are currently working on. Will our proprietary-based association model serve us well into the future, or will we need changes to assure our growth and strength? Actually, we need to address both and to achieve a balance. Although this may appear to be a dichotomy, and it is a challenge to be sure, it is also an opportunity. And in my opinion, ASHI can meet the challenge and take advantage of the opportunity without breaking a sweat.
Moving to more open model
Our committees and leadership acknow-ledge this challenge and are continually looking for ways to enhance membership benefits and stimulate membership growth. This can lead us in new directions including practices that allow our Chapters more flexibility and membership options to address local concerns and needs. Over the course of this year, you will hear or read about a new program that contains elements of on-line education geared to testing skills and enhancing knowledge. ASHI is taking affirmative steps to move toward a more open model, while still maintaining high professional standards and exemplary practice (ethics) that are the cornerstones of our Society. The consumer’s reliance on the application of our Standards and Ethics is the consistent message we publicly telegraph as defining a professional inspection completed by an ASHI Member. I frequently find non-ASHI members referencing our standards in their reports. ASHI’s standards and ethics are recognized as the gold standard of care one should exercise while performing a home inspection.
This membership and growth model includes external outreach to groups that either resemble us or share common interests. We work with partners, collaborate and understand the needs of our partners, and work to pull all the building blocks together to provide solutions to problems in the home inspection profession. Imagine how powerful an impact we, as inspectors, would have if the home inspection community actually spoke with one voice and from one recognized source. The current trend to dilute professional entry-level standards, especially by recently formed associations, could be stemmed. On many levels, ASHI has been providing outreach to potential partners for 30 years.
There are new challenges. Within the past five or less years, I have witnessed an opposite trend. It seems more fashionable these days to be fractional, separate voices squawking about what’s in it for me. This is the trend of myriad organizations, both nationally and locally, that has to stop and reverse itself if we are to show legislators and the public that we are serious about peers regulating peers.
Growing with integrity
There are times when these efforts are successful and times when best efforts meet with frustration. Nevertheless, through our committees, volunteers and professional staff, our Society reaches out to potential partners to achieve mutual understanding and consensus on many issues. And the leadership continues to discuss ways to empower our chapters to enable them more membership flexibility to address local needs. By undertaking the challenge of being an open society that also maintains high standards for the profession, ASHI continues to distinguish itself as the pacesetter in this business. Thank you for your support in this important work.