Conference Recap: NPMA FES 2021

NPMA FES 2021: “Property Education in the Land of Enchantment”

One of the great joys of my job is getting to attend the National Property Management Association (NPMA) education seminars. NPMA does a great job of spreading around the conference locations, so each year members are rewarded with travel to different parts of the country. The 2021 Fall Education Seminar (FES) was in Albuquerque New Mexico, which marked my first time visiting this great state. Flying into the “International Sunport” provided spectacular views of the desert landscape and mountains surrounding the area.

I like how most airports give a nice introduction to the culture and history of the place you are traveling to. Immediately in ABQ you are greeted with Native American art and themed shops. Also, prior to exiting the airport there is a large exhibit area that showcases several hot air balloon gondolas (that’s the “basket”) ranging from modern to early aviation era. Apparently, Albuquerque hosts one of the largest international hot air balloon festivals where hundreds of balloons fill the sky creating an awesome sight. Would you believe FES missed coinciding with that event by one week? Darn!

A Duke City Chapter Welcome

Despite the lingering affects of the pandemic, I am happy to report there was healthy participation in NPMA FES! The hosts, Duke City Chapter, did a wonderful job organizing a great event. The Marriott they selected was an excellent location for FES. The hotel was in walking distance to quality retail and a plethora of restaurants to enjoy dinner with friends. The hotel itself had clean comfortable rooms with good views of the nearby mountain. The conference and breakout session rooms were well maintained and were kept at a comfortable temperature (pretty rare for conferences). The event was well attended from folks all over the country including most of the National Executive Board.

Day 1: How Property Managers Can Mititgate COVID Supply Chain Impacts

Day one kicked off with a reminder that we are in New Mexico, we all enjoyed a Southwest inspired breakfast buffet. As is customary a local high school (the Eldorado High School Marine Corps JROTC) presented the colors.

Later the Central Region VP, Kendrick Dickerson, got everyone’s juices flowing by conducting the opening session. He introduced the keynote speaker, David Dietz from Sandia National Labs. David presented on a timely topic, the impact that COVID is having on the supply chain and how property professionals can help mitigate the effects. David did a great job of untangling the complex web that is supply chain and making it easy to track how problems can cascade, while also showing how some companies have found success “rolling with the punches.”

Breakout sessions were plentiful and covered a variety of important topics. As is usual, one wished that they had a clone available to attend sessions simultaneously. The agenda included great topics like Navigating DoD Procurement Toolbox, Reviewing Contracts for Property, Contractor Self-Assessments, 10 of the Worst Mistakes to Make in Property, and Physical Inventory.

Day 2: Risks and Pitfalls for Cybersecurity

Duke City was also able to line up a second keynote for day two. William Beedle captivated the room with his presentation of “An Invisible Enemy.” William kicked off the talk with five minutes of standup comedy, which delivered several chuckles. After everyone was smiling he dove into a very serious topic, risks and pitfalls for cybersecurity. William reminded us that we are in an era when sophisticated criminals want to steal our data, sometimes for “sport” but often times for financial gain. There are also state-sponsored actors working 9 to 5 at penetrating US businesses and governments to steal intellectual property and State secrets. We all received great tips on how to reduce risk that we can bring back to our company and families.

Wrap Up: NPMA Foundation Raffle and Looking Ahead

An NPMA event wouldn’t be complete without NPMA Foundation activities like the auction, raffle, and bead game. Pat Jacklets, Cheri Cross and the many other members that volunteer to support the NPMA Foundation are true treasures. These folks donate their time to help ensure the Foundation can continue to generate funds to support members that struggle to find budget to attend these events or purchase professional training. I am proud to say that after this year’s auction I finally took home a beautifully woven Afghan blanket made by Christie Chambers. Duke City was able to rustle up a professional auctioneer for FES, he and the many great gift baskets contributed to generate over $1,000 toward the charity!

All in all, FES in Albuquerque proves that these Fall Education events are must attends along with NES!

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About the Author: 

Richard Wilson leads sales for eQuip and is an expert in Enterprise Asset Management solutions for government property, including FAR/DFAR requirements. He is a proud, long-standing member of NPMA and is active in the Harbour Lights Chapter, including currently serving as a National Delegate. 

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