President’s message: Remembering two appraisers - by John Drew

February 12, 2021 - Appraisal & Consulting
John Drew
MassHousing

The MA/RI Chapter hit the ground running in 2021, and I can’t say enough about our dedicated cadre of volunteers and staff that have come together to organize a jammed packed schedule of educational and program opportunities for the first quarter. 

Before I run through what’s going on at the chapter and national levels, I would like to acknowledge the recent passing of two well-known appraisers, Richard “Dick” Dennis Sr., MAI, SRA and Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS.

Richard “Dick” Dennis Sr., MAI, SRA passed away last month at the age of 95. Dick Dennis was the proprietor of the appraisal firm Casey and Dennis in Boston; whose origins go back to 1895. Although I met Dick several times over the years, I never had the pleasure of working with him, or interacting with him personally. However, having observed him over the years as a student and an attendee at numerous chapter meetings, I always knew I was in the presence of the unquestionable Dean of the appraisal industry. It was never more evident than by the number of officer installations and AI designations that Dick conferred on so many appraisers over the years, and that was only the events I attended. Mr. Dennis held a wide variety of national, regional, and local positions in the AI, including president of the former Eastern Massachusetts Chapter. Dick was honored by the MA/RI Chapter for his Lifetime of Achievement in 2013, and at our most recent meeting in January Dick’s long-time friend and colleague Jim Johnston, MAI, SRA gave a heartfelt tribute to Dick’s life of service to his family, faith, profession, and community. 

The AI membership is also mourning the passing of 2016 National president Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS. At our Chapter meeting in January, Robinson was praised for his friendly demeanor and dedication to the valuation profession. Although based out of North Carolina, Scott’s variety of roles with the Appraisal Institute at the national level brought him in contact with many MA/RI Chapter members. One member who knew Scott well indicated, “If you liked Dick Dennis you would like Scott Robinson.”

The MA/RI Chapter continues to provide an “All In” approach to education, and each year makes available locally the resources of the nation’s leader of real property valuation, whether it be virtual or on-line. Through the first quarter of 2021 the Chapter’s Education Committee has scheduled the following: 

• February 17-20 - General Appraiser Income Approach/Part 1 - Woburn, MA; 

• March 5-6 - 15-Hour National USPAP Course - Norwood, MA; 

• March 9 - Supervisory Appraiser/Trainee Appraiser Course - Virtual;

• March 10 - Desktop Appraisals (Bifurcated, Hybrid) and Evaluations - Virtual;

• March 17-20 - General Appraiser Income Approach/Part 2 – Woburn;

• March 26 - 7-Hour National USPAP Update Course - Virtual; and 

• March 26-Apr 3 - Basic Appraisal Procedures - Norwood.

In addition, the MA/RI Chapter’s Economic Outlook and Real Estate Trends in 2021 will be held on February 23rd and will provide an overview of the area’s economic conditions, capital markets, residential markets, and brokerage environment. The distinguished group of speakers includes: 

• Ryan Severino - chief economist for JLL; 

• Heather Brown - executive VP for CBRE Capital Markets Team;

• Douglas Jacoby, MAI - executive VP for CBRE Capital Markets Team; and 

• Stephen Medeiros - 2021 president - Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

On the national stage, the Appraisal Institute continues to lead the way in supporting appraiser diversity. This past week, in collaboration with the National Urban League and Fannie Mae, the AI hosted the first event in the Appraiser Diversity Initiative called “How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser.” In addition to outlining the basics of the valuation professions, as well as the benefits and opportunities available in this exciting field, the program hoped to advance the stated goal of the Initiative, “…to attract diverse new entrants into the residential appraisal field, overcome barriers to entry (such as education, training, and experience requirements), and provide support to position aspiring appraisers for professional success.”

My final thought as we continue into the new year is to challenge our entire membership to attend and/or participate in more chapter activities. Now that most offerings are virtual, and likely will be through at least the first quarter, it is particularly easy to log-on to an educational, meeting, or program offering and interact with the other members of the chapter. Travel time and road conditions are one less reason to not get involved!! 

In his January 27th letter to newly elected President Biden, 2021 AI national president Rodman Schley, MAI, SRA stated, “Representation is a leading force for equity and inclusion in every profession. We recognize that recruiting for greater diversity will make us stronger and more representative of the communities we work in and contribute to greater cultural awareness.” I believe one way to foster this representation is to attend and encourage others to attend our chapter events.

John Drew, MAI, is the 2021 president of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, and the manager of appraisal & marketing in the Rental Underwriting Division at MassHousing in Boston.

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