BY MARK ZINMAN, 2017 LYCEUM KIMBERLY FITCH AWARD RECIPIENT
This past year I was honored to participate in the AMA Lyceum program which teaches the ins and outs of the Arizona Multihousing Association to those members interested in getting more involved. I was lucky enough to be the Lyceum participant selected to go to Washington D.C. to attend the National Apartment Association Capital Conference, now known as Advocate. I have been actively involved in the AMA for several years and participated in almost every event there is, but I hadn't attended anything on the national level. The experience was incredible.
Prior to getting to DC, I had talked to a few people about what to expect. I was told it was half going to meetings and engaging in strategic planning and half spending time with other members of the AMA that made the trip. The group from Arizona consisted of heads of different management companies, AMA staff and a few vendors (myself, as an attorney, included). Upon getting into DC, I downloaded the NAA app which I used to tell me what meetings were happening at different times. However, I soon found that the calendar wasn't necessary; everyone just ran into each other in the lobby and headed to the meetings they were interested in.
The conference consisted of a few days of meetings and one day going to the Capitol to meet with legislators and tell them about issues affecting our industry. Ultimately, that is the purpose of the trip - to inform lawmakers about how the decisions they vote on affect a substantial number of their constituents. I was one of four AMA members selected to meet with Senator Jeff Flake and Representative David Schweikert's office. We also got some insights from the Congressmen about the current political climate. It was an amazing perspective to hear these thoughts from a political insider.
Beyond meetings at the Capitol, we attended meetings as part of the conference, which mirror many of the AMA meetings we have. For example, I attended the Legislative committee (similar to AMA government affairs). I was fascinated to hear from NAA members around the country and how they are facing issues in the industry. Keeping abreast of legislative issues and proposing laws that benefit our industry are some of the most important parts of membership. I also attended the committee addressing the national Click and Lease Program. The committee members discussed what changes will be needed for residential leases for the years to come. Finally, I really enjoyed the regional meeting, where we broke away from the national group and just met with those members from Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Idaho.
While the meetings were a great part of the conference, I can't forget about the lunches, dinners and downtime with other AMA members. It was very common that after a meeting, a few of us would decide to walk to see historical sites and get lunch at a uniquely DC restaurant. Getting real fresh lobster sandwiches, at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, is not something we get in Arizona. Finally, all of the Arizona delegates got together to meet with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and then on to an excellent meal at BLT. I truly appreciated getting to spend more time with other AMA members in a new setting. The rumors I had been told were true - it was a great opportunity to hang out with other people from Arizona and make a difference of what is being done on a national level.
Mark Zinman, of Williams, Zinman and Parham, P.C. was the 2017 Lyceum Program recipient of the Kimberly Fitch Award. This award pays for attendance at the NAA Advocate Conference in Washington D.C.
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