22 years ago I joined NARI, because the company I worked for was a member. The company owner was NARI president and I went to meetings. Just before the Christmas holiday my boss skipped town and declared bankruptcy, it was a tough holiday for some of the 40 employees. This was not NARI’ s fault but it sure put a damper on my perception of the group.
Years later I rejoined NARI because I want equity and respect for all professionals in the building industry, this is idealistic but my goal none the less. Professionalism, continuing education, ethical behavior and solidarity, a pretty full dance card of benefits. And where are we today?
NARI has done some good things over the years but its doing less now than before. Community involvement has diminished locally, politics and favoritism is driving our group and membership growth has become the current drug of choice.
NARI diversity is mentioned, we even have a photo of a Black person on our NARI website, but I’ve never seen anyone of color at a NARI meeting, but it looks politically correct I guess. We do have woman members and a couple of Gays and Lesbians so I guess we’ll see their pictures on the NARI site soon.
But its funny really, boasting about diversity because NARI is really a White guys club, except for the occasional woman members.
NARI now has national partner money to pay for its new awareness campaign, money that will help the organization promote its brand, but at what cost? Who are we serving when we have Home Depot, Lowe’ s, Service Magic and other companies who want to consolidate our industry by taking market share from the very people who are NARI members.
Except for convenience items I have never heard anyone say they like doing business with these companies, unless they buy in secret.
Now when I think of NARI I still think of certifications, educational offerings and friendships made. I also feel like NARI members are seasoned and trussed to be offered to any vendor willing to fork over the coins. Certifications programs are now easier and faster to achieve (yeah I know, you made the test shorter but even harder), and Bill Clinton never had sex with that woman .
I hope NARI becomes a monster organization that bring political strength and respect to the residential remodeling industry, but to do that NARI will have to go back to its roots, and we seem to be rushing headlong into arms of partners that offer money for growth, the kind of growth that will allow them to influence NARI’s direction, but perhaps I’m just naive, that is the plan after all.
NARI, NARI as in Mary, where are you going to?
By Paul Lesieur/ Remodel Crazy