Photo: Generations of inspection excellence. Building Inspection Service was founded in 1937 by Milton Goldstein and still is going strong today. He attended InspectionWorld to see his son sworn in as 2012 ASHI president. L to r: Milton Goldstein and Marv Goldstein and his wife, Marilyn Goldstein.
To be elected by my peers to lead them through these trying times, I consider the highest honor and responsibility of my life. They say life doesn't usually work out the way you plan. Well, when I graduated from Penn State University in 1965, my goal was to leave this world a better place than I found it.
Only after trying my hand at teaching, law school, management and Wall Street did I get introduced to the way I could accomplish my goal by the most unlikely of people — my father.
Today, I am going to ask you to imagine.
Imagine there is not a home inspection profession.
It is easy if you try.
When my Dad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering in 1937, there was no home inspection profession. That year, he started being asked by people to inspect houses for homebuyers. He saw a business opportunity in the midst of the great depression and, in 1937, he founded Building Inspection Service, Inc., the oldest home inspection company in America. In 1970, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was a major factor in the housing market. It asked sellers for plumbing, electric, roofing and termite certifications. Getting five different certifications from four different people requires a lot of coordination. My dad saw the business opportunity of one person doing the job of four. He was asked by more and more people to do home inspections and issue certifications for the FHA. He offered me the opportunity to learn from him to be a home inspector.
Well, in 1971, after accompanying my dad on 50 home inspections, I felt confident enough to do home inspections on my own. But there was no home inspection profession yet!
I found out that HUD-FHA required the mortgage companies to order these inspections. I visited these companies and found that some realty agents and brokers had signed blank certificates in their desk drawers, so they could fill in the address whenever they needed one. Then I got lucky — suddenly a Pulitzer Prize-winning story appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer — corruption in the FHA housing program. Suddenly, I was getting hundreds of orders for home inspections. The FHA had unintentionally created the conditions for the birth of the home inspection profession.
Then, I formed a Philadelphia home inspector association for this budding industry. A few years later, in 1976, Ron Passaro called me and asked if the Philadelphia inspectors would like to join a group of Northeast inspectors that he had contacted and help create what is now ASHI.
Now it is no longer a dream
The inspection profession was born in tough times. To survive and prosper, we needed to be passionate, ethical and innovative. Of the original ASHI founders, there are only a few still in the business today.
What have I learned in my 40 years as an inspector that is really needed? Clear goals and a plan of action. Clear goals and a specific plan of action are what is needed in 2012 if we are going to be successful. These goals include improving our bottom line in these challenging times. Increased revenue in 2012 for ASHI inspectors and for ASHI is important.
Increased cooperation among chapters, members and related competitive organizations is another goal. These goals (and plans to accomplish them) already have been set up by our various committees (in the February ASHI Reporter, here and here) and were approved by your ASHI Board of Directors at the January Board of Directors meeting at ASHI InspectionWorld in Phoenix, Arizona and we are looking forward to a prosperous and eventful year. Happy, profitable 2012 everyone!