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Thursday, May 17, 2012

ISA Annual Conference Recap

Perhaps I am biased, but in my opinion ISA hosts the best personal property appraisal conferences.  Period.

During my time as an ISA member and board representative I have had the opportunity and pleasure to attend many major personal property appraisal conferences. With that experience I have excellent points of reference for comparison.  Like ISA, most appraisal organizations present excellent speakers and interesting topics at their conferences.  Much can be learned at most of these events and conferences.  Our conference in Tempe included Brian Roughton, Director of American and European paintings from Heritage Auctions, Jane Milosch, Director of Provenance Research Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institute, Joel Coen, a Silver Star Fellow at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Malcolm Barber, CEO and Group Managing Director of Bonham's, and Rose Mofford, former Governor of Arizona to name only a few.  In addition to the great speakers, we also saw continued sponsorship and exhibitors from Bonham’s, Quinn’s Auction Galleries, Clars, Heritage Auction Galleries,, and Robertson Taylor International Insurance. A generous education grant was provided by the Foundation for Appraisal Education. Additionally, we had a photographer set up in the lobby area to take professional headshots for a very reasonable fee.

The speakers and program at Tempe were excellent, but, in my opinion, what really separates ISA conferences from those of other organizations is our outstanding members.  At ISA conference, we offer much more inclusive networking opportunities, professional camaraderie, social interaction and even partying.  These networking and social opportunities are of course present during the planned portions of the conference, but there is much interaction and activities planned after hours as well.

For example, did you know the Friday evening Foundation for Appraisal Education’s Reading Between the Wines event was broken up by hotel security for being too loud?  We had so many appraisers at the Journal selling event many were flowing into the hotel suite bedroom and out into the hotel hallway.  Hotel management and security personnel at the Mission Palms were very courteous and professional and quickly relocated the party (both people and the complimentary “refreshments”) to a restaurant for the rest of the evening.  How many other appraisal organizations can make the claim of partying like college students! Next year, when we are in downtown Chicago at the JW Marriott (save the dates, April 12-15, 2013) we will need to find more suitable space to hold this popular and growing event.  My main point beyond the sheer fun and enjoyment of the evening is that during ISA conference our members are very active and inclusive. We find ways for our members to interact and develop lasting appraisal contacts and professional relationships.

This year the conference crowd was extremely positive about the conference itself, and the advances and growth of ISA over the past several years.  I have been to the last 9 conferences and I believe the encouraging mood and positive outlook of our members at Tempe has never been better.  At times the buzz in the crowd between events was absolutely electric. You could easily sense the excitement of our members.

In addition to the outstanding program, we had an excellent business meeting where we discussed some of ISA's recent accomplishments and some plans for the future.  This included discussions of our new website and administrative content management system, the digitization of member records (over 125,000 individual records have now been scanned for access by staff), our solid financial performance and position where we are now operating from a position of financial strength, an upcoming formal financial audit by an outside CPA/Auditing firm, new and updated educational programs, new committee structures, pursuit of errors and omissions insurance program for members, and of course our new logo and graphic standards (to member applause) and development of a new advertising campaign for 2013.  The new logo is intended to be a powerful, market changing brand for ISA and our growing personal property appraisal organization. As Joe Jackson our Executive Director recently stated, "We invite all members to become ISA Brand Ambassadors" in promoting both ISA and individual appraisal practices by using the new logos and graphic standards.

Our accomplishments over the past few years are both significant and numerous. Our continued emphasis on fiscal responsibility, administrative dependability, educational soundness and smart growth will be the result of much dedication and participation by all members and staff as we continue to transform ISA.  I would like to thank all of our members, committee chairs, past and present board members and the staff of Sentergroup for making ISA the preeminent personal property appraisal organization.  As I have said in the past, it is a great time to be an ISA member.  As we build on past conference success, I look forward to a great turnout for our 2013 conference in downtown Chicago.

Todd W. Sigety, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors

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