It’s hard to believe my 12-months in the saddle has come to a close. As my predecessors wisely explained, just when we’re getting the hang of things, it’s time to hand off the reigns. As we get ready to celebrate what we’ve accomplished as well as what’s coming up next during the prestigious Lone Star Awards Leadership Celebration on Sep 28, please allow me a few minutes to brag about the boxes we’ve checked.
Guided by the watchful eye of Madera’s Cayce Coon and her wonderful team, AATCs Leadership Lyceum concluded in May with the last of three programs – this one focused on Association Advocacy Initiatives. Our newest Lyceum grads include: Jackie Cagle, Rasa Floors; Sandy Garza, Greystar; John Gillespie, WAK; Mary Margaret Lemons, FW Housing; and Jinger Lane, Lincoln. This year’s class was tasked with helping our homeless veterans – a project promising basic needs for people deserving our assistance. Since 2005, our Lyceum program has graduated 81 members including 9 past-presidents and 26 members of our current leadership team, not to mention presidents of several Texas associations including our state association in Austin. AATCs Lyceum is the oldest of its kind in the nation.
Led by BH Management’s Patty Utley & Green Mountain’s Wesley Chapman, the association utilized a competitive approach for attracting as well as engaging new members. Our committee was divided into two teams with our co-chairs serving as captains. Development and retention efforts included two phone-a-thons, new member gift deliveries, and a quarterly open house. Since last Oct, we’ve welcomed 140 new members reflecting a steady 3.1% growth. The Association is proud to include 1,784 members of our family, people, and companies that own, manage and or provide products and services for 204,605 apartment homes in a 9-county region of north central Texas.
One of the association’s primary roles is our focus on a wide variety of federal, state and local advocacy issues. Since Oct, Jason Busboom’s team participated in more than 55 discussions with community leaders including the entire Tarrant County congressional and legislative delegations. We met with Arlington, Fort Worth and Mansfield city council members, invested time with Tarrant County justices of the peace as well as county court judges and we sat down to discuss important ideas with police, fire, code, development, housing, community development, and solid waste departments throughout Tarrant County. Did you know two AATC members currently serve in the Texas Legislature?! For the past 30-months, with a broad base of industry support, AATC has taken the lead representing multi-housing in a lawsuit challenging Bedford’s onerous apartment inspection ordinance. We published our 8thMunicipal Fees & Tax Survey, worked with Fort Worth to find homes for veterans and we launched discussions regarding multi-family zoning and development incentives. AATC members are working on revitalization in the Las Vegas Trail neighborhood, apartment recycling in Arlington and we’ve partnered with Richland Hills to address substandard rental property. We hosted six lunch and learn programs as well as 4 municipal summits. And if that’s not enough, our PAC trustees contributed $32,000 to several local and state-wide campaigns, provided more than $60,000 to TAAs PAC and directed $15,000 in NAA federal campaign contributions. When it comes to advocacy, job well done.
Cowtown Epicurean Dinner
Our newest political action committee fundraiser – the Cowtown Epicurean Dinner, under the direction of Madera’s Char McCurdy, features a unique progressive dinner program with limos and food designed to impress. Our second Cowtown dinner last year produced $22,000 for AATCs PAC and earned us the prestigious Excel Award for Government Affairs presented by NAA at their annual Apartamentalize conference this Jun. Our next Epicurean Dinner led by AMLIs Nicolle Block and Reliant’s Jeff Duerstock is set for Nov 6 at Whiskey Ranch. I know you’ll want to be there!
Alpha-Barnes’ Laurie Root and MFIs Amy Alvarez led our 1stMonster Mash golfing event last Oct at Fort Worth new Top Golf. We registered 23 teams producing a net contribution of $20,700 for AATCs PAC. On top of that, our annual Spring Fling Golf Tournament last April produced another $29,700 for the association’s PAC fund – altogether over $50k used to open a few doors as well as new ideas. This year’s 2nd annual Monster Mash party is scheduled on Tue Oct 16 – a return engagement at Top Golf. Once again, don’t miss the fun!
The Business Exchange
On Aug 22 our nationally acclaimed Business Exchange set another record with 312 purchasing decision-makers representing 68 management companies along with 338 registered supplier-partners conducting 4,300 one-on-one meetings over a 2-hour lunch. This year’s Exchange raised $146,000 for NAAs PAC – not even close, the largest multi-housing PAC fundraiser in the nation. Thanks so very much to my super-chair, Madera’s Char McCurdy and her wonderful team.
Independent Rental Owners
Chair Cathy Brandon and AATCs 200 IROs met 8-times since last Oct hosting discussions uniquely relevant to smaller-volume rental housing owners including resident screening, disaster preparedness, fair housing, tax planning, economic development, acquisitions, evictions and supplier relationships.
Products & Services Council
Under the tutelage of chairman Chris Lee with Earthworks, AATC’s PSC met six times since last Oct presenting programs focused on government affairs; community service; goal-setting and customer loyalty, just to name a few, as well as a highly-informative Dale Carnegie session on business networking and a presentation of supplier success. With Jackie Cagle picking up the torch, I’ve no-doubt our wonderful vendor-partners will have great things in store during the year-to-come.
The Association’s annual trade show on Nov 14 under the watchful eye of Rasa’s Jackie Cagle featured 152 exhibitors showcasing 194 10×10 booths with prime networking opportunities between 800 vendor-partners along with 1,210 owner-managers. Our 2017 show produced $224,700 in exhibition booth income, easily exceeding every expectation. This year’s show is ready to go once again at the Arlington CC on Nov 13. Hope you’re planning to be there!
AATC and AAGDs education programs, combined in 2017 under the direction of Lani Grant and Jodi Spurrell, were blended when our year began. Beginning this Jan, Lani and her newly re-engineered AATC education team began focusing its attention on career development opportunities designed especially for AATC members on the western side of the DFW Metroplex. Since Oct, we’ve registered more than 1,500 students for programs focused on everything from leasing and HVAC certifications to fair housing, the TAA Redbook and pool school. We taught best practices to 59 CAM, CAS, NALP, and CAPS credential program participants and with just a few weeks remaining, we’re stoked about our upcoming Big League Conference at Globe Life Park on Nov 13. Hope to see you learning new stuff during the months ahead.
The Association’s 10th almost annual Divas Cup was held in May at the Westdale Hills Golf Course with 250 faithful in attendance. Thank you, Cindi Scoggins, for everything you continue doing for us. At the end of the day, our wonderful members put $24,750 in our foundation bank account for the purpose of supporting future conference speakers as well as credential program scholarships. This has to be one of my favorite events!
Lone Star Awards
AATCs cornerstone of excellence celebration has been completely revamped. A special task force under the direction of Westdale’s Darcy Bixby created 13 best-of-the best awards including new senior community and service support recognition and we combined our previous property and community team categories. Following the submission of new written submissions as well as several face-to-face interviews, the Association’s prestigious Lone Star Awards Leadership Celebration is set for a 6 pm kick-off on Fri Sep 28 at a new venue – the Fort Worth Convention Center.
This year’s Maintenance Mania Competition led by Greystar’s Sandy Garza and Maintenance Supply’s Charles Stroud produced another record-setting event for the 5thyear in a row. Once again Milestone’s Angel Diaz earned top-honors representing region-6 at NAAs Maintenance Mania National Championship in San Diego this past June. Our 1stMania Spirit Award was claimed by BH Management and Patti Utley raced away with the first-ever Mania Crazy Car Challenge trophy. Our 2019 Mania competition is set for Feb 7 at the Irving CC so make a special note of our next Mania date in your calendar.
Becca Brown’s Community Service team helped raise a record $78,000 for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign last Dec and our Bowling Tournament in Feb produced another $27,000 from an amazing number of generous members. In addition, we sang Christmas carols in Dec and provided wallets and socks as resident stocking-stuffers. Earlier this month, we gave back-to-school gift cards to the Mission’s kids and we recently felt more than honored to deliver a $50,000 check to help kick-off a new Rental Assistance Program for Mission grads looking for new apartment homes. I simply love the heart the Association family demonstrates for helping others.
Mike Follis with Apartments.com helped Dimensions Online take flight in Jan. Our new online magazine is the voice of the Apartment Association. In addition, we’re working to develop a stronger social media presence and we’ve stabilized advertising commitments. Our AATCnet.org website will soon show off a new design. With more than 24,000 users, 39,500 sessions and 100,104 pageviews, our website has become the Association’s primary communications tool. And if that’s not enough, during the past 12-months we’ve sent 215,953 emails with a 27% ave open rate and 6.5% click-throughs. During the year-to-come, we’ll be working to expand our advertising base as well as online magazine subscriptions; realizing it’s imperative to be great communicators.
I’m so very proud of all we’ve accomplished – so pleased to have been a small part of one of the most outstanding Multihousing trade associations in the nation. My heartfelt thanks to so many for volunteering or for graciously allowing yourselves to be voluntold. I’ll be excited to see what AMLIs Nicolle Block has up her sleeve. Whatever it is, I know you’ll want to be involved!
Sherry Jordan is Vice-president of LumaCorp and served during the last 12-months as the Association’s chief elected officer. For additional info on any of AATCs programs, please visit the AATCnet.org website or reach out to any member of our staff starting with our association executive, John Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.