I retired from the Air Force on the 30th of September and started my job as an assistant Association manager on the 1st of October. After only a few days, I realized three things about this profession.
- There was a vast array of legal knowledge required about a plethora of statutes, administrative codes, and laws as well as broad technical knowledge of landscaping, plumbing, painting, human resources, management, financial accounting, and on and on.
- The overwhelming majority of the people we serve, the owners and board members, knew very little about all of this and depended upon the manager to be the source of this knowledge for them.
- If I was going to be a CAM, I was going to be the best possible which meant getting the training and education I needed. This would lead me down the path of becoming a PCAM.
When I first started attending the local CAI Chapter luncheons, I remember being introduced to a few of the old head PCAMs. I was so impressed with their breadth of knowledge and the respect shown to them because of their accomplishments. When I had a question, I called one of these PCAMs and they always had the answer. That was my inspiration to start my pursuit of the PCAM designation.
Obviously, the M-100 course and CMCA certification were the first steps. It confirmed my transition to this profession when I changed from having the military designation in front of my name to having the certification letters, CMCA, after my name. It was a proud moment for me. Six M-2XX classes, eight years experience, months of CAI volunteer work and a demanding PCAM case study finally resulted in being awarded the PCAM designation. Walking across the stage at the CAI Annual Conference to receive my PCAM pin was truly an honor.
So now what does the PCAM designation do for me? While the salary surveys say it is supposed to earn you a higher salary, I think the more important question is what does the PCAM designation do for our profession? With it, comes the responsibility to set the standards for our profession. With it, comes the responsibility to provide the expert, professional service to our associations. With it, comes the responsibility to help other CAMs to grow and become better. With it, comes the responsibility to work with vendors and community leaders in an ethical yet guiding way.
As a CEO of a small management company, I am the de facto patriarch for five other CAMs. Not only do I provide guidance to them and share my experience with them, I rely heavily on my professional library as a source of knowledge for them. As I continue to grow each day, I take great pride encouraging these CAMs and other CAMs to strive to become better each day and aspire to the highest professional designation in our field. I am so proud of each of our CAMs as they achieve each level of their professional career.
To be or not be a PCAM. There is only one answer if you are an association manager. Be the best you can be.