President's Message: The Forecast is Bright

Magazine ,

By Shawn Wingate

It’s hard to believe that my term as president of the Florida Apartment Association is coming to an end. Looking back over the past year, my first thought was that it seemed relatively smooth.

That’s pretty amazing, considering I was sworn in while Hurricane Matthew was approaching the Boca Raton Resort & Club, where we had been scheduled to have our 2016 FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show.

As Floridians know, tropical storms can be very unpredictable, so late into the night before the conference was to start, FAA staff and the executive committee monitored storm tracker reports and official advisories.

Eventually, a hurricane warning was issued for Palm Beach County, and the executive committee met first thing the next morning. The EC voted to cancel the conference but move forward with scheduled meetings, including the annual meeting at which the board of directors votes on the slate of officers proposed by the nominating committee. In that way, the business of the association stayed on track for the coming year.

Although the conference was canceled, the work was not finished. A lengthy claim needed to be filed very quickly against FAA’s event cancellation insurance policy. Once the claim was approved, refunds for attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors were processed. Because the association was well prepared and staff had the foresight to insure the event, the finances of the association stayed on track as well.

As a membership-based association, it is part of the responsibility of the leadership and staff of FAA to be good stewards of the organization’s resources. I’m pleased to report that last year’s financials exceeded budgeted goals in all categories. The apartment industry has been strong in recent years, and we’ve been able to build a financial reserve. In May, the executive committee met with advisers from Raymond James Financial and reviewed investment options to protect the reserve while growing it at a healthy rate. A recommendation was presented to the full board and was approved. The future of the organization is strong.

It’s not unusual in our industry to change jobs and management companies, and this year one of our valued leaders did just that and moved out of state. We bid farewell to Cecilia Ford, who served as secretary for almost two terms. I nominated Katie Wrenn, who has been involved in FAA as chair of the Leadership Lyceum Committee and other ways, as her replacement for the remainder of the board year. That nomination was approved by the board. We are so fortunate to have great volunteers like Katie “waiting in the wings,” because you never know when we might need to call upon them, as this past year has shown.

All in all, it has been a good year, and I look forward to continuing to work with my successor and with all of you, as we move toward the future.