More than 2,000 people filled the aisles of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center to meet more than 340 exhibitors at the South Florida Cooperator’s Condo, HOA & Co-op Expo
(fl-expo.com) on December 8th. Board members and managers spent the day meeting with vendors readily available to service their needs and also earned educational credits by attending the day’s free seminar sessions.
Many first timers and regulars attended the fourth annual show. This all-in-one-day event brought together South Florida's best property managers, board members, real estate professionals, shareholders, service providers, vendors and unit owners all under one roof.
Attendees met with vendors on the show floor, took in one or more seminar sessions, and also took full advantage of the free advice booths set up to answer every question imaginable. Board member Dan Elmer, a first timer, said the resources offered were second to none. “I gathered a lot of useful information for our condo’s needs that we will be utilizing in the future,” said Elmer, a vice president at his Boca Raton condo. “Our main focus was on replacing our roof. And next year, we will have to replace our asphalt driveway,” he said, adding that he found vendors that will help the community stay current on its maintenance.
The South Florida Expo provides the necessary resources and learning tools board members and industry professionals need to stay ahead of the curve. The Expo gave everyone a chance to meet professionals in the community association field.
“The vendors and the personnel at the show were very well informed,” said George Mutlos, a board member from Hallandale Beach. Mutlos said it was his second time attending the show. “I really enjoyed the show. It was just as good as ever.”
Mutlos noted that he is active on two boards. He’s vice president of his condo association and a member of his master association board, which manages the pool, shuffleboard and tennis courts and other common amenities. He was seeking service professionals to help with the master association’s needs, he said, and he was successful in gathering a wealth of materials from the Expo to bring to the board’s attention.
“When you have the next one, I’ll be there for the third year,” Mutlos quipped.
An Information-Packed Day
Attendees not only spent time interacting with vendors, there was time to learn and obtain CAM certification and CEU credits. Educational seminars attracted standing-room-only audiences with nearly 600 people attending many of the day’s seminars.
The first seminar: In the Eye of the Storm: Are You Covered?, was presented by Evan M. Glassman of New Paradigm Underwriters. Glassman reviewed gaps in traditional hurricane coverage and suggested help for managers and boards to navigate a tricky insurance landscape.
Attorney Jane F. Bolin of PeytonBolin, PL, gave insight for boards and managers as to the best way to measure performance with her seminar: Key Performance Indicators for Association Boards: How to Know if the Board is Running Effectively. Bolin told board members and residents how they can apply business metrics to the management and operation of the condo or HOA and how to use performance measures and smart goals to evaluate your own community association manager’s performance.
The third seminar of the day was also well-attended. Accounts Receivable and Collections, in which CEU-IFM credits were available, presented by SNAP Collections’ Mitch Drimmer, dealt with the process of recovering collections’ monies from both unit owners and vendors, and getting the maximum amount you can get without costly disputes or legal hassles.
Associa’s Marc Rodriguez and Mitchell Krauss in Watch Your Wallet: Protecting Funds and Preventing Fraud in Your Association, provided critical strategies to segregate board member’s duties and make sure adequate checks and balances are in place in your association.
The Garland Company weighed in on the topic of exterior building maintenance with their seminar: Building Exterior/Roof Asset Management: Cost-Reducing and Life Extending Strategies for Multi-Unit Buildings. Matthew McDermott presented proven solutions that boards and managers can use to help examine and extend the life spans of their existing building and roof exteriors.
Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems’ seminar also offered CEU credits. Breaking Down the Bids moderated by Connie Lorenz looked at asphalt maintenance and the process involved from sending out bids and RFPs to accepting vendors for the contracted work.
The day’s event closed with a one-hour CAM-CEU course entitled Records and Meetings, presented by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Aviole Ambroise. Ambroise detailed the state’s rules and regulations for running meetings before a standing-room only crowd of board members and managers.
The seminars were the highlight of many attendees’ day.The fact that CEU credits were offered was also a plus.
One attendee, Michael, who recently took over as board president, said attending the Expo the past two years, was extremely helpful in actually turning his condo around. He said the association was in difficult straits financially and in the hands of a unlicensed manager that was literally dropping the ball. Checks were bouncing, contracts were being ignored, the association’s insurance had lapsed, and problems were mounting. Now the association is in much better shape with a new manager on board, in full compliance with Florida Chapter 718, and may even be on the verge of having a surplus. He said he was able to locate several vendors at the Expo, that when hired, resulted in a significant cost-savings for the community. “It was well-worth it. I learned a lot.”
Free Advice & More
One of the Expo’s prime attractions are the free advice booths staffed by a rotating roster of industry professionals throughout the day..The show also featured more than three dozen door prizes for lucky attendees to win, including restaurant and retailer gift cards, gift baskets, iPads and Kindles, flat screen televisions, and other promotions.
Mark Your Calendar!
Mark your calendar for the next Cooperator Expo, which will return to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. Make your plans to attend and go to fl-expo.com for more information.
Debra A. Estock is managing editor of The South Florida Cooperator.