As we wind down to the end of this year, I would like to reflect on the successes of an arduous 2020. The FABI Board of Directors worked tirelessly to keep the organization up to date on current events. It seemed that January was the beginning of a “normal” and productive year. Jeff Clair and I provided education in the panhandle on our way to Inspection World in New Orleans. After a successful start to the year, we certainly could not predict what was coming down the pike.
As we prepared for our March 2020 conference, it became apparent that it would be unsafe to gather in a large group due to the pandemic. Since this was the end of a licensing cycle, the FABI board of directors decided that we needed to provide education to those who were still seeking their continuing education credits. The education committee dedicated many hours to develop and record classes for our members to access online, free of charge. This was unchartered waters for an organization whose dedication is to provide live in-person training. Not only did the committee produce the presentations, but Sunni was paramount in getting these online classes approved expeditiously by the DBPR for credits.
As March and April moved closer, it quickly became apparent that we would miss out on hosting our June conference as well. During these uncertain times, the membership committee decided that it would reach out to our members with a “wellness” call. With the help of the rest of the board, and help from past president, Ralph Cabal, we called each RPI and MPI to make sure all were doing ok. Not only did the board call everyone in the spring, but another call went out in the fall. The reception of these calls was very well received. This is what FABI is about! This is the WHY that makes you cry! FABI is a family and families stick together, through good times and bad.
It became obvious that March and June conferences were not going to happen. But, September was certain, or so we thought. If the board could “will it” to happen, it was going to happen! Unfortunately, as we got closer to time, it became inevitable that the September conference was not going to happen in-person either. So, if Members could not come to us, then we were going to bring it to the members! Enter Mark Hall and his outstanding presentation on Structures. Mark volunteered his time and effort to present, via Zoom, on the Saturday morning of our originally scheduled September conference. Not only did Mark give a great presentation, but we started the morning with our first Membership meeting and concluded the day with breakout sessions on Garage Doors, Roofs, Ancillary Inspections, and Report Writing. What a great day! I was so proud of the board and Mark Hall for the effort and accomplishments of that day!
We were on a roll…September Zoom went so well, that we decided to try again for the end of October. Enter Sean Fogarty and Creepy Crawlspaces on Halloween. Sean did a great job presenting for another free two-hour session to our members. The amazing thing about these two Zoom presentations, is that we reached over 150 members between the two live events. That’s amazing for an organization that focuses on classroom training.
As the fourth quarter closed in, we decided to commit to our first in-person conference of the year in Daytona. This conference was limited to 50 members and 5 vendors. Everyone was socially distanced inside the conference room and masks were required when outside of the room. It worked! Everyone complied and was cooperative. We had great education and it was an intimate setting full of smiling faces (from what I could see from smiling eyes). The best news was We Were Back! Our members were starving for getting back to “normal”. This conference was far from normal, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.
In conclusion, our original focus at the beginning of 2020 was on growing membership. That focus swiftly changed to education. The board of directors knew that we needed to provide quality education to our members so we did our best to bring it! Although this was a different and difficult year, I can honestly say that it was a good year. This pandemic made us change and think outside the box. We had to conform to a different norm. We had to communicate more and in different ways. All in all, I am proud of our board and am proud of our membership. We are strong and, together, we can do anything!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to my FABI Family! Here’s to a healthy 2021! See you all in March at the Orlando conference!
Jean Anne Baker