President's Pen November/December 2018

Posted By: Claire Michael TAA News & Updates, the ApartMentor,

Growing up in England it seemed like sometimes our only seasonal shift would be cold and rainy to cold, and windy. What an adjustment it was to move to, North Carolina, a state that can throw Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter at you in one week! Aside from this tongue in cheek anecdote, it does feel like Fall has arrived in NC. The crisp cool air feels invigorating on our fading sun-tanned skin, and the end of 2018 is just around the corner. The shifting of seasons also means my tenure as your Triangle Apartment Association President is approaching its end. It has been an incredible honor to lead our association this year, and in my final President’s Pen, I want to share with you some accomplishments and goals that have been reached by the TAA. 

First, I need to point out that it is through our volunteers that the TAA is capable of offering a wide variety of classes, events, and community outreach programs. This year we saw a marked increase in our members that became involved, and I am thrilled to share the immense growth in volunteers because of this. We started out the year with approximately 174 volunteers, and as of today, we have 346 members helping out. That’s almost 100% increase in member
engagement! As a result of the increased number of volunteers, we were able to host eleven events in 2018. This included four After Work Networking events, Trade Show, Casino Night, Golf Tournament, Maintenance Mania, TAAEF Reverse Trade Show, and a New Lease on Life 5k Race fundraiser. In addition, the Board of Directors gave back to the community by spending an afternoon volunteering at the Raleigh Food Bank.

As of today, we have had over 3,000 members attend the events held in 2018! 

TAA also had a record number of new National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) credential recipients this year. In 2018, 17 members received their CAPS certification, 34 received their CAM, 5 received their CAS, and 17 received their NALP. It should also be noted that 6 of these graduates were awarded full scholarships from our
TAAEF Scholarship program. In addition to the NAAEI credential courses, TAA hosted several seminars to increase knowledge of the industry such as, Show Me the Money, AANC Lease & Review, Fair Housing, NAA Lease and Review, Legal Issues, and Certified Pool Operator classes…whew!

At the conclusion of 2018, over 800 members will have taken advantage
of the fantastic array of classes the TAA has to offer, increased their knowledge of the multifamily industry, and expanded their circle of industry peers. 

Behind the scenes, TAA spent a significant amount of time advocating on behalf of our legal interests. A number of legislative issues arose this year that could have significantly affected the revenue apartment communities collect during evictions, however, TAA stepped in and gave voice to these concerns. One example of legislative action was the passage of SB224, which enshrines into law the ability to collect fees incurred during the eviction process. TAA worked in collaboration with AANC and other affiliates to successfully advocate for the passage, resulting in our ability to continue to charge legal fees incurred from evictions and lease defaults. In addition, the Government Affairs Committee saw increased participation both in its committee meetings and at AANC’s Legislative Days, with 100 TAA members participating in more than a dozen meetings with NC Congress. Staying in the legal vein, it cannot be overlooked that the Government Affairs Committee raised $5,000 for TAA-PAC at Casino Night, making it the largest single fundraiser in TAA Political Action Committee history! 

Fiscally speaking, our Association has never been stronger. Annually, a strategic plan is created by the board, and in recent years the goal has been to save for capital improvements while maintaining a 6-month reserve fund. The Board of Directors has worked for many years in partnership with the TAA staff to make sure that the association has these emergency funds, should a downturn occur in our economy, ensuring that our members would not see a reduction in benefits. 2018 was no exception to the board’s fiduciary excellence in this regard, keeping the coffers at bay should the economy turn sour.

It’s clear that TAA and the Board have worked diligently to see all of these goals reached, but what future endeavors are in store for the association? When writing the strategic plan at the end of 2017, the Board focused on one major crisis impacting our industry; a shortage of maintenance personnel. As a result, the visionary Board of Directors decided it was the association’s job to infuse new employees into the industry by recruiting and training. It was decided this goal could be accomplished by creating a Service Academy. I am thrilled to report that we have made the decision to start taking the necessary steps towards turning this dream into a reality!

Our goal is to create an external maintenance training facility, in which our association will train personnel looking for a career in a technical craft. 

Training will include everything from drywall installation to troubleshooting an HVAC issue. Students will graduate the academy equipped with their CPO and CFC certifications, ready to complete an internship or embark on a new position at one of our member apartment communities. In addition, the facility will serve as the location for all maintenance related classes currently hosted by TAA.

I am sure you can appreciate this is a giant endeavor for our association, so the next logical step is to create a task force that will work out the details and evaluate everything from renting the appropriate space to funding and staffing. We sent two board members to visit the only two associations in the country that have functional and successful training facilities, with a view of reviewing the successes and challenges of the academies already in place. In addition, we have reserved funds in 2019 to recruit an Education Coordinator for the facility. Our vision will not be a success without our volunteers and we will need everything from legal advice to old appliances and parts to make your training facility a success! Sharing this incredible news with you in my last Presidents Pen fills me with a great sense of pride at the collaboration that took place to make this initiative spring to life. We truly believe that this training facility can alleviate the maintenance crisis that plagues so many of our member communities. 

It is essential that we all work together to ensure our Association continues to be the incredible success it is today, so I want to conclude my tenure as your 2018 President with the same invite I extended to our membership in January. I invite you to continue to be part of our community, the community of the Triangle Apartment Association comprised of your family, friends, co-workers, an executive team, a Board of Directors, co-chairs, volunteers, and TAA staff. Individuals who work tirelessly every day to ensure progressive goals are met. Let’s always be collaborative, thoughtful, and work with a sense of purpose, making decisions that benefit our Association and our community. I urge each of you to continue to give back, and not only will TAA succeed, but you will find personal growth you could not have anticipated! 

Thank you for allowing me to serve as the President of the Triangle Apartment Association this year, it was truly an honor.

Claire Michael, CAM

TAA President
Fairfield Residential, LLC



This article was originally published in the 2018 November/December issue of the ApartMentor magazine.