As many in the Granite State are aware, we have joined forces with and have membership in the broader chapter known as CAI New England. Among other benefits, New Hampshire members will now enjoy the programs and events of CAI New England. One of the liveliest, most informative and well-attended events is the Annual “Expo”. For the benefit of those who are new to the New England Chapter, I thought I’d discuss the expo, its importance and why it is so helpful for association members/board members to attend.
I note at the outset that the annual expo has, for many instances and locations, turned into the type of industry event that maintains all the hustle and bustle of a small city. Parking lots at hosting hotels tend to fill on expo day, as do the hallways, exhibit areas and seminar halls. With the addition of the State of New Hampshire in the New England Chapter, there is now an additional expo that occurs at a New Hampshire location. This year’s “NH Expo”, the first of its kind as part of CAI New England, was well-attended and enjoyed by all. I look forward to seeing the growth of the NH Expo and to one day seeing the “small city” that it might become. Since growth depends on New Hampshire members understanding the benefits associated with attendance, I will describe some of those benefits here.
First, the annual expo offers a virtually no-cost education. Attendees may select from multiple seminar offerings taught by industry leaders. Unit owners, whether members of the association or the governing board, may select a topic (or more than one) of interest and learn all they need to know. Most seminars also include ample question and answer time. This allows attendees to obtain some immediate and free advice on their pressing issues.
Next, the expo offers “one-stop” shopping. Regardless of what type of service your association may need, there is a vendor of this type (probably three of them) with a booth at the expo. This affords attendees the ability to comparison shop under one roof and at one time. Further, many organizations send high-ranking personnel and company owners to the expo. This allows attendees to meet and speak with the company leaders and to gauge the vendor(s) that represents the best fit for their community.
In addition, the expo offers attendees the opportunity to socialize and network with members of other condominium associations. At first blush, you may wonder such activity would be important to your association. The answer is that many associations face similar challenges. To the extent that you can speak with members of an association that have already tackled the issue you presently struggle with, you may learn a lot from their experience. Attendees may even serve as great references, to each other, relative to experiences with vendors providing services to condominium associations.
Membership in CAI provides the benefit of discounted rates to CAI-sponsored events. In addition, membership includes a subscription to Condo Media magazine. Each month, industry professional fill the pages of this magazine with articles relevant and helpful to associations.
On a light note, the expo is, in a way, a bit like a shopping spree for those interested in free giveaway merchandise. From light up bouncy balls, to foam toys and from plastic and rubber figures and shapes to key chains, noise makers and Frisbees, a parent can return from the expo a hero with a full bag of treasures to distribute. Giveaway items even benefit adults to the extent of flashlights, tiny tools, coffee mugs, eyeglass cleaners and the like. It is always fun to fill a bag while you make the rounds. I hope to see you more of you milling about the expos in the future!
By: Gary Daddario