My Wish for 2020…

By: Melissa Ramsey, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CPO
Vice-President with FirstService Residential and Magazine Committee Chair


When I moved to Nevada a little more than 10 years ago, I had no grasp on the magnitude of the homeowner association industry.  Back east, the small ‘neighborhoods’ where I lived and grew up had block captains who coordinated holiday parties throughout the year, but there was no mention of associations.  Even the community pools seemed to be privately managed or owned with no worries of mandated assessments or boards of directors.
 
This bubble that I came from was quickly popped as I kept hearing the terms of associations, boards, assessments, and the ‘evil’ NRS.  I must say that I was originally intrigued by it all, thinking it couldn’t really be that complicated.  Well now I can say after 10 years of meetings, budgets, legislative sessions, management training, CAI involvement, and much more, that it definitely is no easy cake walk.  It’s no wonder, given all of the restrictions and legislation, that it’s hard to find managers and board members to work on these unique corporations. 
 
From the board member side, I constantly hear about the liability a single homeowner is expected to take on to serve in a volunteer capacity for their community.  Many will say, “I had no idea what I was getting in to” or “My neighbor asked me to run to help with such and such topic”.  After a few short meetings, mediation calls, or even the irate owner knocking on their door, they find themselves wondering… What have I gotten myself in to?
 
From the manager side, being one and working with them, I know of the struggles dealing with the constant negativity, micro managing, and in some awful situations outright harassment.   The discussions at the 2015 CAI national conference on turning association management into a true profession with college based curriculum was promising.  Truly capturing the importance and overall growth of the industry is critical for its long term success.  Why should association management be any different than hospitality or golf management?
 
So what is my wish… TRAINING AND TRUST!
 
Given the fact that Nevada is one of the leading states in association regulation, I would love to see association management curriculums at UNR and UNLV.  Having trained business and career oriented individuals starting out in the industry with the age old saying of ‘hit the ground running’ would be a breath of fresh air.   Owners and board members would know they are in the trusted hands of a trained professional and not second guessing how this individual happened to ‘fall’ into the industry.   Ideally the increasing turnover of managers would be minimized as they entered in industry
 
I read once that it takes a small army to run an association.  This is completely true.  It takes a group of committed individuals working together to achieve common goals to truly run these communities.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to agree on all aspects of operations, as friendly debate is necessary to end up with the best possible outcomes, but a common respect and trust for the individuals involved is needed.  Trust is not a one-way street either, as all participants in the process must be committed to the journey which will have twist and turns, detours, delays, U-turns, sink holes, you name it any obstacle possible!  But in the end, all owners, board members, managers, and business partners should trust one another and their integrity to not defame, harass, hide or manipulate for one’s own personal gain.
 
I look forward to seeing where we end up in the short four years we have ahead of us.



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