Nearly 2,000 people flooded the aisles of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center to meet more than 240 exhibitors at the first annual South Florida Cooperator Condo, HOA & Co-op Expo. The day was jam-packed as attendees met vendors, attended seminars and had questions answered by experts at our free advice booths. Attendees came to learn about new products & services; network with hundreds of service providers; and socialize with fellow board members and peers. Information and expert advice provide necessary helping associations to run smoothly, efficiently and effectively.
All in One Day
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 were impressed with the diversity of information available at The South Florida Cooperator’s Expo. “Every kind of vendor and service provider is here, I spend so much of my time as a board member researching,” said Al Schielke, a board member from Coral Gables. “Today, I just walked up and down the aisles and got every question answered. Everyone on my board should come.”
In challenging economic times, information is critical and The South Florida Expo provides resources & learning tools board members and industry professionals need to stay ahead of the curve. The Expo gave attendees a chance to meet professionals in the community association field. A full slate of unique educational programming was provided as well as free management, legal, insurance and financial advice. “You can find everything here from asbestos abatement to window replacement,” said Henry Robbins, executive vice president and sales director of Yale Robbins Publications, LLC, the producers of the expo.
An Information-Packed Day
Attendees were not only there to network, they were there to learn. Educational seminars attracted standing-room-only crowds as nearly a thousand people attended many of the day’s seminars.
The instructional offerings started early with a pre-show seminar on board certification presented by Condo Craze and HOAs’ Attorney Eric Glazer, Esq. and sponsored by his firm Glazer & Associates. Since Florida law now provides that board members become certified within 90 days of being elected to the board, this first seminar provided an easy solution to certification.
A tell-all session entitled, “The Top 5 Things Managers Wished Boards Knew” featured Jeff Ulm, CMCA, AMS and the CEO/president of Association Services of Florida. He explained that the management/board relationship is a crucial keystone in a properly-run association. He pointed to the five biggest issues standing between boards, managers, and a successful relationship.
Kenneth Direktor, Esq. and Steven Lasser, Esq. from the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff hosted the next seminar entitled “Condominium Association Construction Projects Gone Wild.” In this session they discussed the implications of major construction projects. Attendees were taught how to plan and execute a construction project so as to avoid the hassles or problems that may result.
“Planning a major construction project can be daunting,” said Direktor, “the average board member must understand the complexities and strategies involved in planning a project.”
Filing an insurance claim can be quite challenging, especially in the Sunshine State. Dan Odess who leads the East Coast Public Adjusters team and directs its regional business explained all this at the next seminar, “Navigating the Claims Process.” Odess discussed the implications of insurance in the post-Citizens insurance era and clarified the differences between state-run coverage vs. private policies and how they all fit together.
The final session, entitled, “Collecting Common Fees and Enforcing Rules and Regulations,” was sponsored by The South Florida Cooperator. This session featured an expert panel including Barbara Dershowitz, vice president of AKAM Associates; Russell Robbins, Esq., a partner with the law firm of Mirza, Basulto and Robbins; Ronald DiCrescenzo, CPA, of the accounting firm of DiCrescenzo & Company; and Mitch Drimmer, vice president of sales at Association Financial Services. The panel discussed the use of legal procedures and enforcement actions to protect condos from financial disasters that can result from unpaid common fees.
One attendee said that the seminars gave her a lot of information and is already looking forward next year’s Expo.
Free Advice & More
One of the Expo’s prime attractions is the free advice booths hosted by The South Florida Cooperator and staffed by a rotating roster of industry professionals throughout the day. Attendees waited to question experts about association finances, policies, and day-to-day management issues.
The trade show also featured well over three dozen door prizes for lucky attendees to win, including restaurant and retailer gift cards, gift baskets, a set of patio furniture, iPads, flat screen televisions, and other promotions.
“The Expo is exciting and provides a great opportunity to learn, grow and meet with experts,” says Robbins. “Everyone has a great day.”
We'll Be Back Next Year!
Mark your calendar for the next South Florida Cooperator's Condo, HOA & Co-Op Expo, which will return to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Make your plans to attend.
Liam P. Cusack is associate editor at The South Florida Cooperator.