Below is this month’s President’s Column from the Apartment Association newsletter. While Joe Dahl states his reason for stepping down modestly as “to pursue other opportunities” the truth is Joe was accepted into the Princeton PhD program where he plans to expand on what he learned as an urban landlord to study housing related issues. It will be refreshing to see this type of study being done without the typical ‘all landlords are bad and homeownership is the only answer’ bias that so much of this work is founded upon.
Joe’s life story so far is inspirational – growing up on the near Southside and through pure self determination, moving beyond those roots, getting an MBA and now being accepted into a doctoral program at one of the top colleges in the nation. I told him I want a cameo appearance when his story hits the big screen. Joe credits his involvement with rental housing as an important part of his life and opportunities.
Joe was the most charismatic leaders of the Association in the 26 years I have been involved with the group. In that sense he will be missed.
However the Association will continue to thrive. The incoming president, Jerry Carne, is long time landlord and a person who values action as well as understands fiscal responsibility. He will do well in this position, even if he may not look as good in a fedora as Joe. 😉
We have many other outstanding board members who continue to work hard behind the scenes. Shari Engstrom, from Sid Grinker Restoration, has really stepped up the quality of our special events like the Trade Show, summer party and holiday parties. Tristan Pettit remains intimately involved in the Association. Tristan and AASEW Attorney Heiner Giese work diligently to make sure laws are as favorable to our industry as possible. Ihsan Atta is one of the sharpest and most personable people I’ve met. Carrie Maas has many connections within the industry and community. Ralph Hibbard, from Orkin, probably has rental housing in his DNA as his family has been in real estate even before me. Few of you probably see this, but Ralph is the real workhorse for the Association behind the scenes. For better or for worse I tend to stick around for the AASEW, adding some continuity. We have three newer board members who will find their stride and do well for us: Tim Dertz, Ronald Hegwood, and Brian Bartsch.
While on a personal level I will miss Joe, from an Association’s standpoint “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” Timbuk 3
Two years ago I took the reins of the AASEW with the vision that we could grow membership and improve the industry through collective action. Supported by an outstanding board of directors I am proud of the progress we have made on both fronts. Leading the organization has been a tremendous honor and it is with a heavy heart that I must step down to pursue other opportunities. Effective June 1, 2015 board member, Jerry Carne, will become interim President.
Our organization is full of entrepreneurs, large and small, who have built businesses and improved their communities through responsible investment. As an industry with low barriers to entry it remains one of the few spaces in the economy where hard work, tenacity, and perseverance can overcome the barriers of lack of capital and connections. Ensuring this pathway to prosperity exists for others is the responsibility of all who have benefited from it.
Yet our accomplishments have not been without failure. For every landlord who responds to our call to action and joins, there are 5 who do not. Foolishly believing they can go it alone, or worse, content to free load off the structural changes we effect, this segment represents our greatest obstacle and opportunity. Their short-sightedness emboldens aggressive municipalities and inhibits are ability to resist them. Engaging them as members will be the difference between our success and failure.
Upon assuming the Presidency I promised to turn the AASEW around or run us into the ground. Maintaining the status quo was not an option and I sincerely hope our leadership carries this philosophy into the future. As an organization we must fight complacency and stagnation as aggressively as a bad laws, both are costly.
Leading the AASEW has made me a better landlord and business person and professional. It’s been integral to my success and has helped me forge a new path forward. It has been my honor to serve our members and work side by side with a group much more talented and intelligent than myself to make Wisconsin a better place to own and manage real estate.
Thank you for the opportunity.
All the best,