I don’t know about you, but I’ve truly enjoyed this summer. What a magnificent place we live, with the water and mountains and all the green in between. I’ve traveled more than usual this year and while I’ve enjoyed seeing other parts of our country, I always love coming back home. All my traveling this year had to do with the Appraisal Institute, either taking MAI designation classes, attending LDAC or attending region meetings. Being an active participant in the Appraisal Institute has taken me to many places I most likely would not have gone otherwise. I appreciate the opportunity to represent our chapter. No matter what the reason or venue regarding my travels this year, I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Seattle. Our chapter is so well managed by Elly Snow and her team at Seattle Operating Support. When I talk to other chapter presidents and executive directors, I always come away with a sense of gratitude for Elly and her staff.

In May I was honored to travel to Washington D.C. to attend LDAC (Leadership Development and Advisory Council). The Seattle chapter was well represented this year with Justin Slack as the LDAC chair, and Patrick Lamb and Todd Henderson as participants. We visited with aides from Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray’s office. The two main political topics of discussion related to the recent SBA changes regarding “going concern appraisals” and the proposed database maintained by the proposed entity that may replace the GSEs that could be made public. The four LDAC topic discussions related to the AI Designation difference, embracing technology, solving the trainee/supervisor dilemma and expanding client relationships. The main points from all of these discussions have been passed on to National’s Strategic Planning Committee. Many of these ideas eventually work their way into changes at the national level in terms of classes, advertising, etc. It is a great way to effect a change in our organization and I encourage you to think about participating next year.

I attended the region meeting in Austin on the 3rd of August. Marc and I stayed a couple of extra days to take in the sights. Also representing the chapter was John Schalka, Ben Wilcox and Andy Robinson. Justin Slack attended as the chair of the Government Relations Committee and Elly Snow as Region 1’s executive director. I know several of you went to National’s Annual Meeting that followed our region meeting and I commend you for taking the time to attend. In fact our own Scott Biethan was a presenter at one of the sessions. Next year’s Annual Meeting will be held in Dallas on July 27 to 29, 2015, so mark your calendars and consider going and networking with your peers.

One topic that came up at both LDAC and the region meeting that I’d like you to consider is to help financially support the Political Action Committee. The Appraisal Institute has three full time staff members (Bill Garber, Scott Dibiasio and Brian Rodgers) that work tirelessly on government affairs and lobbying on our behalf. The PAC funds are used by them to attend functions of political candidates where they can build relationships and get the opportunity to speak directly with the politicians who vote on issues concerning the appraisal industry. Any funds in the PAC are used for these purposes only and by law can only be donated by individuals. So the PAC funds cannot come from national, or the chapter or even your business entity. In contrast to other PACs, it was noted that the National Association of Realtors has a PAC with over 2 million dollars. NAR spent more than $99 million between 1999 and 2012. The Appraisal Institute’s PAC has somewhere around $63,000. In a perfect world, money would never be needed to have a conversation with someone. But alas, a perfect world we are not in, so we play the game as best we can, as ethical and budget conscious as possible. NAR’s influence is as big as their dollars. Bill, Scott and Brian use our PAC money very wisely, but as you can see we are clearly at a disadvantage compared to the largest real estate organization in the nation. I challenge each of you to consider a donation to the AI PAC (Marc and I donated while in Austin). Check out the Advocacy link on the national website and give Bill, Scott and Brian the tools needed to protect our profession and the public trust.

For those of you interested in a volunteer position at the national level, you need to be listed in the Leadership Resource Registry. It has to be updated yearly, so to be considered for 2015, you need to update your profile soon. On the national website, click on About Us, then AI Volunteer Opportunities.

Our candidate/advisor program seems to be working well. I encourage all of you candidates to meet with your advisors at a chapter meeting if possible. Candidates, please consider plotting your course work and passing it on to your advisor and our education committee so we can analyze whether we can support any designation courses next year. I’d also like to remind candidates that there are scholarships available through national that are awarded four times a year – the information is available on the national website under Education/ Education Resources/ Scholarship.

Tom Weaver has done an excellent job in putting together several Residential Roundtable events this year. They have been casual meetings used as a forum for discussing anything that relates to residential appraising. Each one has been held in a different location to accommodate as many appraisers as possible. I look forward to seeing this continue next year and beyond. If you have an idea for our next meeting location, please contact myself or Tom Weaver.

As we enter Fall we still have much to look forward to this year. October 2nd is the Fall Conference and I hope you are all planning to attend. It is truly one of the best events of the year, in my opinion. Besides the multitude of volunteers that work on this event, Jim Walker has done an exceptional job this year in getting sponsorships – when you see Jim at the conference make sure and offer him some appreciation. Don’t’ forget to sign up by September 19th to take advantage of the best registration rate. And it’s not too late to be a Friend of the Conference for a donation of $100 which will put your name in front of everyone at the conference and on our website. See you there!

Mary Campos, SRA