2016-2017 Annual Report

annual report chart with pen and glasses

I’m so very thankful for the challenging and often time-consuming work our volunteers invest in the apartment association. The work these wonderful people do is what makes AATC a valuable place to give our time and attention. To paraphrase our mission, we’re here to return member investments by providing top-notch education programs, exemplary advocacy initiatives, effective communication mediums and a diverse network of unique business forums – each designed to define the DFW market we strive to represent.

In the paragraphs that follow, please read through my summary of our accomplishments during these past few months. I think you’ll be impressed.

AATCs LEADERSHIP TEAM – My most sincere appreciation goes out to AATCs executive officers who meet on call throughout the year to direct the association’s business agenda.

Our board of directors is AATCs policy setting, oversight group. Directing our business plans, policies and pursuits on a month-to-month basis is what this dedicated team does best.

Our committee chairs and their faithful committee members are the people who make AATC an all-star pro-rated team. It’s the leadership and drive these special people give that gets me excited about serving our association family.

Finally, our AATC staff is the super glue that holds us all together. This dedicated little tribe of association professionals provides the creative determined insight and day-to-day nuts-and-bolts support that makes being voluntold something to brag about.

GOVERNANCE – AATCs Governance Committee supports our budget, bylaws, strategic planning and leadership development initiatives. Each related task group met throughout the year to tackle their objectives as directed by the association’s board of directors.

AATCs bylaws were last amended in August 2016 and will be continuously updated in the future as directed by the association’s board.

Thank you Nicolle Block (Amli) for leading us and for continuing to serve during the coming months as our governance chair as well as our newest president-elect.

BUDGET – The association’s fiscal responsibilities are based on a January to December calendar year. AATCs numbers game typically begins with a staff budget workshop each September when our budget draft is created and then reviewed and amended by our budget task force in early December. AATCs board considers a provisional budget that same month and a revised final version in January.

Thank you Nicolle Block (Amli) for also serving as this year’s budget chair. AATCs incoming treasurer, Candy Maxey (Greystar) will serve as our next bean counter.

STRATEGIC PLANNING – The association’s latest strategic plan was adopted in February 2016 when 5 special task groups were appointed including the 50th Anniversary, Digital Magazine, Education Conference, PAC Fundraiser and a special AATC-AAGD Joint Collaborations Task Force. Each group has met several times with new initiatives completed or well underway.

The JTF has been working now for several months to find ways to help strengthen AATCs relationships with our sister association in Dallas. After all, we’re basically the same people working in the same market. The committee has recommended our DFW multi-housing education programs be combined and we continue discussing existing initiatives including our maintenance mania program, atate of the industry luncheon, the business exchange, our toy drive and christmas party as well as both of our trade shows. Future discussions will be scheduled at the request of both association boards moving forward.

Past-president (AATC, AAGD & TAA) Mike Clark (Alpha-Barnes) – thank you so very much for your amazing, always faithful leadership.

LEADERSHIP LYCEUM – AATCs Leadership Lyceum concluded its 13th annual class session back in May. This year’s grads include Jason Busboom (Busboom Group); Cayce Coon (Madera); Doug Johnson (Hillwood); Mandy Owen (Accolade); Patty Utley (BH); and Chris Lee (Earthworks).

Since 2004, 76 DFW multi-housing leaders have completed AATCs Lyceum program – 24 currently serving in a variety of association leadership positions here in Fort Worth and across the nation. I’m proud to say AATCs Lyceum is the oldest (and possibly the best) multi-housing leadership program in the nation.

Paul Beckingham (Pinnacle) – you did a simply outstanding job as our Lyceum chair. Get ready for Cayce Coon (Madera) to chair our 2018 Lyceum.

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS – Our GACs role is to consistently focus on and quickly respond to a wide variety of federal, state and local advocacy concerns. Did you know we work with 70 governmental groups across our 9-county territory! Since October, AATC members participated in 49 discussions with community leaders including the entire Tarrant County congressional and legislative delegations.

Our faithful municipal advocacy teams met with Arlington mayor Jeff Williams and Fort Worth’s Betsy Price, the entire Fort Worth and Arlington city councils and several Hurst city council members. In addition, we invested time with city managers from Arlington and Fort Worth as well as police, fire, code, development and solid waste department officials in Arlington, Bedford, Euless, Fort Worth and Hurst. And, I’m so pleased to report AATC members currently serve on the Southlake School Board as well as in the Texas Legislature.

For the past 16-months, with a broad-base of industry support, AATC has taken the lead representing multi-housing’s best interests in a lawsuit challenging the city of Bedford’s ridiculous apartment inspection ordinance. The city’s attempts to dissuade district court’s decisions allowing the case to precede was just recently overwhelmingly denied once again by the state court of appeals. While we’re waiting for the Bedford city council members to decide what they want to do, AATCs leadership team is currently considering plausible next steps as well… so stay tuned.

AATCs PAC trustees have contributed $53,250 to a variety of local and state-wide political campaigns during the past12-months as well as directing $10,000 in campaign contributions to Tarrant county congressional leaders. Nicolle Block (Amli) served as our PAC chair in her capacity as our treasurer while Candy Maxey (Greystar) is preparing to take over this important advocacy initiative.

In addition to everything else we do, AATC published our 7th annual Municipal Fees & Tax Survey, worked with the city of Fort Worth on veterans and affordable housing initiatives while launching discussions regarding multi-family zoning and development incentives throughout the Metroplex. We’ve also hosted 6 Lunch & Learn programs focused on industry hot topics including emotional support animals, social media, resident deaths, abandonment and lock-outs, liens and eviction appeals. We partnered with the city of Arlington to host our first Municipal Summit and we’ve planned similar events this fall in Fort Worth as well as a collaborative event with the cities of Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Grapevine. Our summits feature presentations by city code, police, fire, solid waste and development officials as well as our justices of the peace – truly valuable insights for apartment managers.

Finally, I’m so grateful to Jim Canon (Milestone) for leading our advocacy program as well as jumping onto our executive bus next year and I’m excited Jason Busboom (Busboom Group) will serve as our next advocacy chair.

GOLF – The association’s golf task force hosted AATCs Fall Golf Classic last October, producing $26,000 for our PAC as well as our Spring Fling Golf Tournament in April raising a record-setting $32,800.

Thanks so very much to Rick Tuzinski (Asset Pavement) for chairing this year’s highly successful golf events. The contributions our members make to our PAC fund help us get our foot in the door with the folks who regulate our business.

Next up – AATCs fall golf fundraiser is moving down the road to a completely new concept – scheduled October 31 at Fort Worth’s new Top Golf venue. Our Trick or Treat or Golf event promises to be a creative new networking opportunity featuring 22 bay sponsorships available to 6-member teams priced at $1,500. Laurie Root (Capstone) and Amy Alvarez (McMahan) are already hard at work serving as our new AATC golf co-chairs.

THE BUSINESS EXCHANGE – Just last month, our nationally-acclaimed Business Exchange once again set new records. With 330 purchasing decision-makers from 78 management companies and 350 registered supplier-partners, this year’s Exchange raised $138,000 for NAAs PAC. With the help of our friends at AAGD, our contributions represent nearly 20% of the total national PAC fund. In addition, just prior to the Exchange we hosted an important discussion on national flood insurance and tax reform concerns with Congressman Roger Williams and industry leaders representing AATC, AAGD, TAA and NAA. Our efforts truly lead the pack… as well as the PAC!

Thank you past-president Lisa Clark (Olympus) for chairing this year’s Exchange. Sounds like yours truly will do my best to tackle next year’s big event – so get ready!

COWTOWN EPICUREAN DINNER – The Association’s first-ever Cowtown Epicurean Dinner was held last November and produced nearly $16,000. More than 130 DFW multifamily executives and vendor-partners enjoyed a Fort Worth flavored progressive dinner event.

Planning for the 2017 Cowtown Epicurean Dinner – Culture & Cowboys is well underway with Robert Tinning (Churchill) and Jann Villanueva (The Liberty Group) serving as our enthusiastic co-chairs. The October 12 PAC fundraiser will feature DFWs top multi-housing leaders along with a collection of unique Fort Worth venues, yummy eatables, signature refreshments and fun entertainment.

MEMBERSHIP – The Association’s membership committee developed a novel new approach to recruiting and educating new members. Our STAR Team adopted a hockey theme for their spring membership campaign. Four teams were put together to better educate new members in conjunction with emersion and engagement programs. Recruiting and retention efforts included 2 phone-a-thons, 2 new member breakfasts and 3 Supplier Success classes. Jeff Duerstock and Laurie Root’s Team Inspire won top honors.

Since October, we’ve welcomed 145 new members reflecting a 3.8% average annual growth rate. AATC currently boasts 1,634 members people and companies that develop, own and manage as well as those who provide excellent products and services to clients living in 197,600 apartment homes.

Many thanks my friend Charles Stroud (Appliance Warehouse) for taking on this important volunteer job. Wesley Chapman (Green Mountain) and Patty Utley (BH) will soon take-over as our newest membership co-chairs.

INDEPENDENT RENTAL OWNERS – AATCS IROs met 8-times since last October, planning important discussions especially relevant to small-volume rental housing owners including topics like management software; technology; fair housing; income tax; eviction appeals; legislative issues; property tax appeals; and maintenance.

Cathy Brandon has done a great job and graciously agreed to continue serving next year as our distinguished IRO chair. Many thanks, Cathy.

VENDOR-PARTNERS – Our Products and Services Council members hosted 5 meetings since last October including 3 with AAGDs vendor-partners. Program discussions focused on community service, advocacy, vendor-manager relationships, leadership and time management and we also hosted our first-ever National Apartment Day event in conjunction with NAAs 170 affiliated associations across the nation.

Paul Brown (Maintenance Supply HQ) did an amazing job as this year’s PSC chair and will step-in next month to serve us further as AATCs new Vice-president. And, I’m happy to announce Chris Lee (Earthworks) will serve as our 2017-2018 PSC chair.

TRADE SHOW – Our 2016 Trade Show featured 148 supplier-partners exhibiting in a sold-out 188 10×10 booth floor-plan with a record-setting $219,000 in total booth income. In addition to 800 vendors, our exhibitors enjoyed the attendance of nearly 1,100 property managers. Our Silver Spur attendance recognition was awarded to Madera and our Golden Nugget award went to Westdale.

Thanks so very much to Chris Lee (Earthworks) for chairing last year’s trade show. As of mid-August, Jackie Cagle (Rasa) and her hard-working committee have already secured 122 exhibitors reserving 162 of 188 booths available for our November 14 Show at the Arlington Convention Center. Thank you, Jackie! Jeff Duerstock (Reliant) has already graciously agreed to chair AATCs 2018 trade show.

EDUCATION – AATC and AAGDs boards of directors agreed to combine education programs last fall. Val Thurwanger was appointed staff director in December, our 2 committees merged in January and a new education leadership team has begun running parallel programs to serve all DFW area multi-housing members. Since October on this side of the river, AATC registered more than 750 attendees for Tarrant County education programs focused on fair housing, budgeting, leasing, swimming pool maintenance coaching, staff relationships, HVAC and EPA certifications, TAA lease forms, evictions and bankruptcies, assistant manager best practices and a book series on happiness in the workplace.

Thanks to the hep of Sandy Garza (Greystar) we also registered 95 attendees for our national CAMT, CAM, CAS, NALP and CAPS certificate programs during the past year and our 2017 CAPS program begins this month. More thanks to Darcy Bixby (Westdale) for her leadership of last year’s LEAD Conference which was a smash hit. AATCs 2017 LEAD Conference is ready to go on November 14 also at the ACC with marketing implementation fully engaged for our entire fall curricula.

My most heart-felt thanks goes out to Jodi Spurrell (Milestone) for taking-on our new DFW education initiative and to Lani Grant (Bell) for getting ready to step-in and serve as our education chair beginning next summer.

And while I’m at it, I’m proud to report our education foundation continues supporting the University of North Texas’ Residential Property Management program as well as our NAAEI credential programs and top-notch keynote presentations for AATCs fall LEAD conference. For those who don’t know, our foundation is underwritten by AATCs popular Divas Cup – with the next highly-anticipated ladies golf event finally scheduled after a 2-year sabbatical on May 4 next year at the Westdale Hills Golf Cub. Cindi Scoggins (Westdale) has graciously agreed to continue serving as our always faithful chair while Jeff Duerstock (Reliant) continues supporting our D-cup.

MAINTENANCE MANIA – The 2017 AATC-AAGD Maintenance Mania competition was held February 23 with a record 850 registered competitors, spectators and volunteers in attendance. Milestone’s Angle Diaz once again took top-honors and represented association across the state for a 4th straight year at NAAs National Maintenance Mania Championship in Atlanta.

I appreciate our dear friend Margaret Smith (Service Response Team) for serving as our Mania chair. Make note that next year’s Mania event is set for March 1 at the Arlington Convention Center. Sandy Garza (Greystar) and Charles Stroud (Appliance Warehouse) will soon step-in as our 2018 Mania co-chairs.

LONE STAR AWARDS – The association’s hallmark Lone Star Awards program solicited a huge number of nominations this year which were followed by 145 personal evaluation interviews in July through mid-August for 13 LSA award classifications. Award-winners have been selected and the highly-anticipated Lone Star Awards Leadership Celebration presented by Earthworks is scheduled to begin at 6 pm on Friday September 22 at the Arlington Convention Center.

Thank you Dawn Waye (CityGate) for chairing this year’s gigantic awards program. I know we’ll have a big crowd later this month at the ACC. We’re counting on Darcy Bixby (Westdale) to take control of the army as our 2018 Lone Star Awards chair.

COMMUNITY SERVICE – Our love affair with community service featured a new Toy Drive record last year – raising $70,000 in December with our friends from AAGD benefiting the US Marine Corps DFW Toys for Tots campaign. Our February bowling tournament also set yet another record, raising $35,600 to benefit AATCs community service partner – Union Gospel Mission of Fort Worth. We also joined hands with TAA in April to purchase and assemble 250 cleaning supply baskets, build a spiffy new herb garden and mulch the entire 6-acre campus, as well as clean the supply room and buy a new ATV and a riding lawn mower for our friends the Mission.

Bob Duff showed us a heart the size of Texas by chairing our community service initiatives while Brandon Burnside (McMahan) managed the bowling tournament and Elizabeth DeBruine (CoStar) managed our side of the Toy Drive. Becca Brown (BG Multi-housing) will serve as our next community service chair.

COMMUNICATIONS – Joni Scott (Better NOI) and her committee revamped the association’s social media initiatives by creating an engaged member-pool to help generate content for various platforms. AATCnet.org has enjoyed 39,000 sessions from 23,000 users while our website’s top-3 landing pages include the home page, events page and our membership directory.

With the assistance of Mike Follis (Apartments.com) our committee has nearly completed a business plan for a new super-blog, a totally online approach to Dimensions magazine with a final presentation scheduled for board consideration this fall. And, I’m pleased to announce that Mike has agreed to return and finish what he started as our 2017-2018 communications chair.

Although I could go on-and-on, that’s the real deal for now. After reading my report on the association’s recent activities, I think you’ll agree we’ve been a busy group of juice-up over-achievers. This is a family after all, my association family – a special family of colleagues and dear friends. I’ll be forever proud to have had the opportunity to serve you. From the bottom of my heart – thank you!

Char McCurdy is a DFW property supervisor for Madera and served since last October as AATCs president, our chief elected officer. If you have questions about any of Char’s comments, please feel free to reach out to her at char@maderaresidential.com or contact the association’s chief executive officer, John Mitchell at 817-6176-0352 or jmitchell@aatcnet.org.