More news from the road …

This is more from my glimpse into “what do I do when I travel?” for ROC USA®. Last week was long and busy.

I started last Monday in Chicago in a meeting with the founding Members of the Community Management Company Cooperative and the co-CEOs of CCA Global Partners. ROC USA is one of seven founding Members of the co-op. We got together to restructure the cost for new members in order to attract more companies. We’re trying to get to 2.5 million homes in association-owned properties into the co-op – that’s the number we need to drive down costs on association and homeowner products and services. We stand at 367,000 homes represented. The outcome of this work comes to you through the ROC Mall.

Already, the Sherwin Williams discount that’s available through ROC Mall and My Innovia Perks is better than regular customers get. I know. We use Sherwin Williams and the best offer we’ve received is a 30% discount. At ROC Mall, you can save 37%!

From Chicago, I flew to Las Vegas for the manufactured housing industry’s annual tradeshow. We go annually to learn about for-sale communities, meet new vendors, and attend trainings. This year we added a TA Provider training, a Board of Directors’ meeting, and a ROC Association Directors’ meeting. It was a busy three days!

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On Tuesday, two ROC Association Directors – Colleen Preston and Natividad Seefeld – joined me and several staff for the National Community Council’s Spring Forum. The NCC is an association of community owners and vendors who serve communities. Topics ranged from using social media to promote communities, dealing with the press, and a keynote by Frank Rolfe, the community owner featured in The New York Times Magazine article in March.

Tuesday evening through Thursday noon was the tradeshow itself. We had a booth. This year we advertised that attendees could meet and speak with our ROC Association Directors – Colleen, Natividad and Liz Wood. They were very popular! Industry as a general rule is curious about resident ownership. Some are outright opposed to resident ownership – they don’t like the competition for communities up for sale – but most are just not educated about resident ownership or ROC USA. So, we go to educate, and hopefully win them over one-by-one!

We had the TA Providers present their work to the Board and we held an industry focus group as a part of our Strategic Planning process. It was interesting. We heard that industry simply doesn’t know much about resident ownership and they’re afraid of things they don’t know about. We also learned that they think we have political strength that we can use.

The ROC Association planned its election for the Mountain/West region. Announcements will be posted shortly and sent to all ROCs in that region. Liz is deciding whether to re-run for the next two-year term. This subject is worthy of a blog or two of its own so I’ll leave it for now.

I returned to Boston on Friday and spent Saturday morning with a group of ROC leaders at the Massachusetts ROC Leadership Convention sponsored by the Cooperative Development Institute (a TA provider in ROC USA Network). We met at the community center of West Wood Village Residents Association, a year-old ROC in Plymouth, Mass.

It was great to see ROC leaders from Red Hill, Wheel Estates, Pine Tree, Cranberry Village, South Meadow Village Co-op Corp., and West Wood! I especially love this part of my job! I spoke about the history, results to date, and future of ROC USA and our network of ROCs. (My presentation is attached.) 

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Other topics included: Building Stronger Committees, Collective Problem Solving, How to Run a Great Meeting, Mass. Law and ROCs, Community Infrastructure and Advocacy. Cathy Haigh of ROC USA Network introduced, a representative from the Cooperative Fund of New England spoke about their loan products, and Age in Place was introduced. Age in Place is an excellent resource for Mass. homeowners. Check it out!

It was a whirlwind and I was exhausted last weekend. That’s fine though because we accomplished a lot: A new structure for Innovia membership, three MHC listings (New York, Maine and Washington), two good leads (Montana), an excellent training for TA providers, an approved Strategic Planning process and a good gathering of ROC leaders.

The hardest part is being away from my wife and two daughters for six days. This is one of two week-long trips each year. Usually I’m away two to four days at a time; that’s not as hard.

Next up: Minnesota next week for a foundation event! Raising money is another part of my job …

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