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

Opportunity Lost?


On January 13, 2011, in lieu of our regular monthly meeting, your ASA Norcal Chapter Board met to assess where we have been and where we would like to be.  I think we all took to heart the admonition that we really must focus on what is important now, rather than distract ourselves with what is no longer important.


The Board zeroed in on a minimum of six objectives of the Chapter, listed below in no particular order of priority or exclusivity:


   1.   Education

   2.   Accreditation

   3.   Mentoring  (member development)

   4.   Business promotion  (referring leads to fellow ASA members)

   5.   Ethics

   6.   Legislative involvement  (lobbying to promote the ASA membership's interests)


Perhaps there are others that you can think of, and of course we welcome your comments.


Regarding education, the ASA Principles of Valuation (“POV”) courses are the foundation upon which any truly professional appraisal practice should be built.  Regardless of your appraisal discipline, and regardless of the level of formal or informal education that you may have, we all have learned new methods of attacking old problems, and benefitted from the experience that the instructors of those courses have offered. 


You should not be limiting your ASA experience to simply earning the ASA credential.  The continuing education classes, webinars and conferences offer you the opportunity to update your appraisal skills and learn from “the best of the best.”  Taking advantage of all these ASA educational opportunities allows you to “be the appraisal professional that you would like to be,” and become more valuable to your clients and to your own firm.  For example, how would you feel about engaging a doctor or lawyer who has earned his or her degree, hung out a shingle advertising professional services, and accomplishing as little as possible to maintain and update those skills?  Like doctors and attorneys, appraisers must also be professional.  (Lookup the meaning of “professional” in your dictionary.)


Accreditation is only the foundation.  Continuing professional education is the “house” upon which careers are built.


Mentoring allows you to reaffirm your belief in yourself, and to do worthwhile things for others.  This can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life as well as your professional career.  And it cannot be accomplished by a series of emails.  Mentoring can only be accomplished face-to-face. 


Over the many years I have been a member of ASA, one of the truly great rewards has been the respect earned by having accomplished something for someone else.  A good turn provided today usually does lead to a referral tomorrow.  For those of you still occupying a cubicle, the goal of and pathway to partnership and the front office is not merely being a good technician.  Managers are leaders who inspire confidence in their fellow team members and ultimately their firm’s clients.  Resist the temptation to do as little as possible to gain as much as possible.  Rewards are based on performance, not promises.  The “undriven” don’t get there.  Take great pride in your work; others will notice, and the rewards will follow.


Ah, ethics.  We had one potential member who advertised that he was an “ASA” (when he was not), then wrote a letter to a judge, chortling his ASA credential and demanding to be recognized as an “approved appraiser.”  Needless to say, this sort of behavior is not acceptable, nor worthy of an ASA member.  Listen to your “third ear.”  If you think it might be improper, it probably is.  And if it is improper, the ASA is going to recognize any transgressions.


Finally, legislative involvement.  Government (at all levels) has been gaining more power recently, simply because “the people deserve protection” from unscrupulous purveyors.  Real estate appraisers had to become licensed in California largely as a result of the savings and loan debacle in the 1980s and 1990s.  Nationally, those losses amounted to over $160 billion, and helped create the recession of 1990-1991 as well as the major budget deficits of the early 1990s.  The people do deserve protection; but additional taxes to support additional bureaucracies is not likely to garner much popular enthusiasm these days.  We believe the better solution is strong professional organizations with high accreditation, educational and ethical standards.  The ASA is looking after your interests in both Sacramento and Washington.


Not taking advantage of all the opportunities ASA offers is truly opportunity lost.  I would be happy to hear from any members who may have additional thoughts or opinions about these or any other matters, or any suggestions about how we, your chapter board, might better serve you.  Please find our contact information in the left-hand margin of this Newsletter.  Thank you.


In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, February 10th at Il Fornaio in Walnut Creek!