Today was an amazing day for me! I was installed as the 2011 President of the Utah County Association of REALTORS®. For those of you who really know me, you know I am passionate about this incredible organization and the REALTOR® family! Many have asked for a rundown of my comments and especially for the awesome video introduction of my 2011 Leadership Team. First though, I gotta say it was so nice to have my family with me to see what it is I do with my “other” family the REALTORS®!
Also, I was completely caught off guard and shocked to receive the 2010 President’s Distinguished Service Award from our outgoing President Kimberlie Kerswell. Thank you so much for all you did in 2010 Kimberlie and for your kindness and friendship!
Here’s my speech and the video –
Wow, it’s hard to believe this day is finally here. It seemed so far away when you first elected me to this position. I first want to thank a handful of people. My wife and family for the support and understanding they provide as I am frequently gone attending to association business. To Kenny Parcell for being such a great mentor and literally pointing me in the right direction. To all of the past presidents of UCAR and all of those who have so generously given of their time and talents to make our association what it is today, thank you. To our elected officials here today, thank you for the time and sacrifices you selflessly offer in making Utah County a truly great place to call home. And to all of you who are members of UCAR – Thank You!
It’s to you members that I want to direct my comments today and my efforts this next year. I truly understand that this is a membership organization, as does UAR President Kenny Parcell and NAR President Ron Phipps. In fact Ron sent us a video he asked us to share with you. Our theme as an association this next year is U R UCAR. Our goals and objectives this next year are to provide you with the value you need and the service you deserve as a dues paying member to find success in 2011.
I know we are facing difficult times as a nation and as an industry. I am reminded of a group of people who faced a difficult and challenging time. On November 14, 1970 the Thundering Herd football team was returning home to Marshall University when their plane crashed outside of town killing all 75 people aboard. This was devastating for both the town and the University. In the wake of the tragedy, President Donald Dedmon and the Board of Directors meet with the intention of indefinitely suspending the football program, but they are ultimately persuaded to reconsider by the pleas of the Marshall students led by football co-captain Nate Ruffin.
To this day the Marshall tragedy remains the worst air disaster in NCAA history. Marshall lost more football games in the 70’s than any other program in the nation. But yet, football remained. In 1984, the Herd had their first winning record in 20 years. They followed it with eight conference titles, five straight bowl wins, and two national championships. The monument on campus to the 75 who died reads – “From the ashes, we rose”.
The Marshall story illustrates a couple of key lessons. First, we can rise from the ashes, just like they did. Second, this isn’t about me or you, it’s about all of us. And third is the lesson of leadership. Lee Cockerell in his book “Creating Magic, lessons learned from a life at Disney” says this about leadership – “I like to say that good leaders are environmentalists. Their responsibility is to create an environment in which everyone flourishes. EVERYONE can exert that kind of leadership.” I have challenged this year’s leadership team to be environmentalists and create those environments of success. But just as Lee Cockerell says – EVERYONE can exert that kind of leadership – I also challenge you to do just as Nate Ruffin did for Marshall University, and help us create environments of success.
Overcoming challenges sometimes requires us to think differently. I am reminded of an interesting story from the Middle East. A man leaves his 17 camels to his three sons. To the first son he leaves half, to the second son he leaves a third, and to the third son he leaves a ninth. Well as the three sons do the math they find that none of their portions divide very well into 17 camels. Arguments ensue and they decide to consult a wise old woman who tells them she’s not sure if she can solve their problem, but instead she offers them her one camel, thus giving the three sons 18 camels. This gives the first son 9 camels, the second son gets 6 camels, and the third son gets 2 camels. Well… 9+6+2 = 17 camels, so the three sons return the 18th camel to the wise old lady! I am sure she knew she’d be getting it back!
We are certainly facing difficult challenges that will require us to find that 18th camel. Just recently Time Magazine chose to attack the value of homeownership. This was the cover story they decided to focus on instead of the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Just last week you all should have received a call to action regarding the Mortgage Interest Deduction as it came under attack in the Deficit Commission’s Report. Thank you to all of you who responded so quickly and effectively to the attack on this vital aspect of homeownership.
NAR is aware of this attack and has quickly and effectively launched a public awareness campaign to combat the misinformation being spread by the media. It’s called the Home Ownership Matters campaign and you are at the core of its success. Please visit Realtor.org and download the flyer and learn about the facts of home ownership and how you too can spread the word. Home Ownership Matters to People… to Communities… to America!
To defend against these attacks on our industry and the institution of home ownership it is vital that we have the funds necessary to combat bad legislation at all levels and promote good legislation. The key to this is RPAC. I know we are all struggling financially, but investing in RPAC has never been more important than it is now. To have some fun with this, I’ve challenged myself to lose 35 pounds by my 40th birthday at the end of July. Please pledge a $1, $5 or whatever you can for each pound I lose by July 26, 2011. We will have periodic updates at UCAOR.com on the President Pounds RPAC page. Thank you to all of you who have pledged thus far. Visit the site or fill out the pledge forms at your table to join this cause.
We have many great things planned for you in 2011. I can’t do all of these great things alone and thankfully I won’t have to with the amazing group of people who have agreed to give of their time and talents this next year. Before I have Karianne show you the great video she created to introduce them, I just want to remind you that U R UCAR. As you leave following the video please make sure you grab your challenge coin from the staff at the exits. It’s my hope that this coin will remind you that you are part of a great organization of REALTORS throughout the year. Let’s make 2011 a great year!