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Delivering the goods: National Suppliers Council (NSC) members offer unmatched financial support and industry knowledge.

Alex Jack, CAPS, CPM, doesn't want a salesman showing up at one of her communities with a suitcase full of samples, looking to sell in bulk. The Executive Vice President of Buckingham Companies, AMO, Indianapolis, wants to do business with knowledgeable service partners who know the apartment industry inside-out and can tailor their services accordingly.

For this, she turns to the National Suppliers Council (NSC).

Jackiw says Buckingham Companies does business with at least 42 NSC members, all of whom are cognizant of the unique needs within her specific market.

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"They've made a concerted effort to know our industry and are conversant with the issues we're dealing with," Jackiw says, whose company manages 110 communities. "Service partners who are unfamiliar with the apartment industry are wasting their time and mine because they don't understand how their services can be of benefit. It's counter-productive."

NSC members who have earned the Certified Apartment Supplier (CAS) designation--a program designed as an opportunity for suppliers to hear the everyday challenges facing the apartment manager customer and complete related coursework--are held in especially high regard, adds Jack, who says she looks to them first when doing business.

In addition to the knowledge and expertise NSC members offer, Independent Rental Owner"(IRO) Frank Barefield says their financial support is crucial to the success of the industry.

"If NAA had rely only on the dues from its owner and manager members, our association would have to cut back its services significantly," says Barefield, Owner of Abbey Residential, Birmingham,; Ala. "Our. NSC partners spend a lot to support our industry and as a consequence, I want to do business with them. As the country song says, 'I'm gonna dance with the one who brung me.'"

Dave Edwards, Assistant Director of Affiliate Services for NAA, says NSC members provide a significant percentage of the revenue for the apartment industry's local, state and national associations through booth and ad sales, sponsorships, dues and contributions. NAA extremely values its supplier-partner relationships.

Time and Talent

Local, state and national associations need financial support to survive, but they also require the time and talent of their members to thrive.

Jeff Hall, CAE, Executive Vice President of the Houston Apartment Association (HAA), says NSC members are particularly involved with HAA and teach a variety of Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT), National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) and Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS) courses on everything from leasing and marketing to Human Resources-related issues.

Additionally, Hall says veteran NSC members have stepped up to become mentors for new suppliers.

"HAA has a large product service membership, so it's important to have several people on the Product Service Council who will invite mentees to meetings, introduce them to clients and educate them on the ins and outs of the industry," Hall says.

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The mentees receive profiles of their mentors--including their contact information--and can call them at any time with questions. Hall says it's this ongoing education and network of support that maximizes NSC membership and produces knowledgeable suppliers who will support the apartment industry.

NSC members are the Apartment Association of Metro Denver. (AAMD)'s most engaged and supportive suppliers, too. "They consistently step up to support the industry and are typically the most educated, sophisticated and ethical suppliers out there," says Mark Williams, Executive Vice President of AAMD. "Supplier council members at both the national and local levels should be at the top of an owner's vendor list."

Barefield says NSC members understand the importance of keeping their clients happy because they know the industry is small and people talk. He also feels he receives better pricing and can work with one service provider to get a commitment of service for communities in multiple states.

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"I want to support those who support NAA because NAA looks out for my best interests," Barefield says. "We depend on one another."

Industry Support

Marcia Bollinger, CAS, has been involved in the apartment industry for over 30 years. The President of Apartment Finder says joining the NSC has enabled her to network with other national service partners and meet owners and managers at functions such as NAA's Education Conference & Exposition.

"We can get to know people, understand their business goals and create a win-win opportunity," Bollinger says. "Creating connections and building relationships with apartment companies only happens if you--and your company--get involved"

For Bollinger, becoming a member of the NSC was a no-brainer.

"Simply put, we support those who support us," she says. "It makes sense to do business with those who support our industry. I am a big believer in giving back as much as possible for the betterment of our industry-with time, sharing knowledge, giving financially and sincerely caring."

Dave Schwehm, Vice President of Community Solutions for Time Warner Cable, is an active NSC board member. He says NSC members deserve a "first look" from apartment owners and managers because they are committed to NAA and the industry and are eager to do business.

In turn, NSC membership has provided Schwehm with the forum to "network with service partners, talk about the emerging trends and collectively engage with the owners and managers through a unified voice," he says.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why NSC Members are Best of the Best

NAA members should consider NSC members first when doing business because they:

* work more effectively as partners rather than just suppliers of products and services

* are more involved in current industry trends, needs, and topics

* are better informed on how to serve the industry

* provide substantial contributions to industry education at the local, state and national levels

* can be called on nationally for help rather than searching local directories, saving time and money

* represent the best of the best in knowledge, value, service, and commitment to the multifamily housing industry

* typically have greater resources to pull from

* make significant contributions through their time, money and resources to help the industry grow

--LB.

Lauren Boston is NAA's Staff Writer. She can be reached at lauren[congruent to]naahq.org or 703/797-0678.
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Title Annotation:BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS
Author:Boston, Lauren
Publication:Units
Date:Dec 1, 2011
Words:1007
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