ASA Norcal President’s Message for June 2011 – Robert P. Lentz III, ASA


Continuing Education – Why Bother…?


This past month, your NorCal Chapter held both the 1-day and 2-day editions of USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) classes in San Francisco, both sessions of which were well attended, due primarily to the preeminence of our internationally respected instructor, Roger Durkin.  Happily, I was one of the attendees.  Other interesting and valuable classes have been and will be held locally in the Machinery & Technical Specialties, Personal Property and Real Property disciplines, all of which are offered to you as described in these Chapter Newsletters.


The opportunity to attend continuing professional education (“CPE”) classes right here in our own backyard made me think --- How very lucky we are to have an active Chapter with dedicated members who volunteer so much talent and time to bring these offerings to us. 


A month ago, I returned to Virginia to attend yet another nephew’s college graduation.  These graduation ceremonies are aptly described as commencements, not because they symbolize the end of a college career, but the beginning of a new life as a contributor to one’s personal growth, family and community. 


We who practice as appraisal professionals are part of a generation of working people who compete for clients with other professionals for every job we get.  In my mind, those clients seek at least three qualities (among others):


First, skill.  The skills are taught to you by your formal education, both at the collegiate and perhaps the post-graduate level, as well as in “The School of Hard Knocks.”  Those latter skills are what comes to you from a practical education --- those things that are not and cannot be taught in school.  Continuing Profession Education is very important element in a technical field like appraisal work, because the rules keep evolving, and you must evolve too, … if you are to survive.


Secondly, creativity.  From the formal and the practical education, you evolve as a person with what hopefully includes creativity.  I for one would much rather hire a creative person with less formal education than hire a PhD from MIT that has no “street sense.”  Ours is a profession of judgment that must be practiced according to continually changing rules and parameters. 


Thirdly, the ability to work well with others.  Our problems as appraisers (and elsewhere) are far too large and complex to face alone.  Collaboration is the key.  One of the very troubling evolutions of the emphasis on 21st century technology is a growing sense of selfishness and indeed rudeness --- the “I know it all syndrome.”  The Wall Street Journal had an interesting Op-Ed article (on May 21, 2011) titled “A Renaissance of Rudeness,” which is worthwhile reading.  I personally hope that the “virtual classroom” does not replace the real classroom, where lasting friendships are made, and lessons are taught and learned, face-to-face.  Collaboration is the key to personal success.  It is a lot tougher to build lasting respect among your peers and your clients over a Blackberry than it is “the old fashioned way.” 


Only those of you who already “know it all” can skip CPE, and continue to march though the darkness with your clients!  To you I wish good luck.  You’ll probably need it.




On this last point, collaboration, your Chapter Board of Directors seeks your continuing input.  Fiscal 2010-2011 was, we think, a very successful year, made possible by a long list of selfless and creative individuals.  You know who you are, and I personally thank each and every one of you for your many efforts this past year. 


Fiscal 2011-2012 is yet another year, and your Board seeks your input and enthusiasm.  We will be having our Annual Planning Retreat at the Orinda Country Club on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.  This is an all-day event, and open at no cost to you who wish to make a contribution to your profession and the ASA.  You will find participation very gratifying. 


I respectfully encourage those new faces who wish to volunteer to please contact me at the address and numbers below.


And I also cordially invite you to our monthly Board Meeting on Thursday, June 16, beginning at 5:15 p.m., following the ME207 class.  (Please note that this meeting is the third Thursday of this month, rather than our “usual” second Thursday.)  The wine reception will begin at 6:15 p.m., and dinner at 7:00.  You’ll have a good time,  learn something, get CPE credit, …and be on your way home by 9:00. 


‘See you then!  Thank you.