Taking Care of Business

by John Mitchell, AATC Executive Director

Trade associations have their roots in organizations such as the early church, medieval craft guilds, and merchant trading groups. The Roman Empire launched the concept of apprenticeships and trade regulations while the formation of craft guilds was born in 16thcentury England as a means of protecting the interests of merchant groups and individual artisans.

In America, the earliest association on record is the United States Chamber of Commerce formed in 1768 by a handful of merchants in New York and is still in existence today. Fast forward 2½ centuries – there are more than 92,000 trade and professional associations in the United States today. If you invent, manufacture or distribute a widget, there’s likely a trade association representing you.

In the simplest of terms, associations are groups of people banded together for a specific purpose. A strong sense of community and coordinated activities are the foundation of any association’s existence. When it comes to the rental housing business, the Apartment Association of Tarrant County has become the cornerstone for cooperative coalitions.

We’re a significant part of a much larger federation; a collection of nearly 170 independent organizations from coast to coast all working together to sustain and improve the multifamily business. Our vision is simple, we were formed 52-years ago to help educate our members, advocate on their behalf and provide networking programs designed to exchange ideas and inspire opportunities for profitable success.

We tackle this job by investing in great talent. Our leadership team includes a dedicated group of outstanding officers, directors, program chairs and staff. These are the people, along with several dozen volunteers who work together to determine our path; how we can best represent you.

AATCs officers are volunteer business leaders elected to one-year terms of office. Through September 2020. This group of seven includes our President – Candy Maxey (Greystar); President-elect – Jason Busboom (Busboom Group); Treasurer – Michael Payne (Allmark); Vice-president – Jackie Cagle (Rasa Floors); Secretary – Patty Utley (BH); as well as Past-presidents – Nicolle Block and Sherry Jordan (LumaCorp).

The Association is guided by 17 voting directors elected to staggered two-year terms of office. AATC directors, both owner-managers and supplier-partners serving through September 2020 include Darcy Bixby (Westdale); Paul Brown (Maintenance Supply HQ); Brenda Carpenter (MFI); Cayce Coon (Madera); Jeff Duerstock (Updater); Victor Huhem (Huhem Law); Jinger Lane (Lincoln); Jeina Parker (Pinnacle); and Charles Stroud (ATI Restoration).

Directors serving through September 2021 include Mike Follis (Apartments.com); John Gillespie (WAK); Lani Grant (Impact Floors); Anita Hord (Pace); Mary Margaret Lemons (Fort Worth Housing Solutions); Keith McAndrew (Liberty Group); April Royal (Capstone); and Tony Sims (Century AC).

In addition, the nearly endless list of programs, events and governance initiatives AATC plans and presents for the benefit of more than 1,800 members are the responsibility of more than 20 volunteer program chairs including Government Affairs – John Gillespie; the Business Exchange – Nicolle Block; Golf – Adam Keck (ATI Restoration); Epicurean Dinner – Mike Follis; AATCs PAC & Governance – Jason Busboom; Leadership Lyceum – Jinger Lane; Budget & AATCs Education Foundation – Michael Payne; Bylaws – Sherry Jordan; Strategic Planning – Candy Maxey; Care Team – Lani Grant; PSC – Jeff Duerstock; Trade Show – Becca Brown; Membership – Jeina Parker & Keith McAndrew; IRO – Bryan Downer (Community Enrichment Center); NextGen – Cayce Coon; Education – Darcy Bixby; Divas Cup – Cindi Scoggins (Westdale); Maintenance Mania – Tony Sims; Lone Star Awards – April Royal; Community Service – Wesley Chapman (Parking Badge); and Communications – Laura Williams (ALN).

Finally, the glue that binds us together is our wonderful AATC staff. Our job is to take care of you – managing anything and everything to help keep our vision clear, on track and moving forward in a positive direction. Although I’m the humble leader of this intrepid band, our strength resides in seven others including Sheila Wiggin – AATCs gifted GM, CFO and mom; Perry Pillow – the Association’s highly-connected and amazingly influential Director of Government Affairs; Ed Blinn – our creatively talented Director of Communications and CIO; Gregory Ann Goldrick – our magnificent out-of-the-box Director of Education; Annie Williams – AATCs incredibly talented Director of Programs & Special Events; Donna Merrill – our beyond precise down to the last digit Business Manager; and our amazing people-pleasing customer service specialist, our Membership Services Coordinator – Lauren St. Clair. This is the wonderful team of people who comes to work each day to serve you.

Every so often we hear someone say, “I have no time for associations.” In response, I must agree whole-heartedly with AATC President Candy Maxey when she says, “I can’t do my job effectively without the Association.” Engaged Association members have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, advance their career, influence government rules and regulations, enhance their business network, learn valuable new leadership skills, make life-long friends, give back to the communities where they live and work and keep themselves inspired as well as motivated to do a better job.

“It’s easy to get involved,” says Maxey. “Our members can go to any number of Association events, attend our education classes, our trade show, or serve on one of our committees. Everything we do isn’t for every single person, but I’m certain we’ve got a program, project or product that fits something that’s valuable for everyone.”

John Mitchell has served as the Association’s CEO for the past 27-years. For additional information regarding any of the AATCs programs or activities, click on AATCnet.org or give John or any member of our staff a call or send us an email. We’d be delighted to help you.