A Note from the VP, Jim Greatorex: Recapping the LAH Building Opportunities Summit
on November 21, 2022
After three years without any events solely dedicated to home access, it was great to see so many members at our Building Opportunities Summit earlier this month. We did have to overcome Tropical Storm Nicole. It was a hurricane when it hit the east coast of Florida and was downgraded to a tropical storm when it got to Tampa. Thursday was the travel day for most attendees, and many had delays as the storm was at its worst on Thursday morning. Thankfully, most members were able to get there in time for the event. Many travel stories were shared. I can’t say that we didn’t have some anxious moments hoping and praying that the Tampa Airport did not close down, but in the end, the summit was a very impactful event with several takeaways and many friends made.
We had a very solid variety of sessions during these two days, and the engagement levels were the best we have ever seen. This testimonial from Martin Simenc with Home Safety Services in San Francisco provided the following testimonial, and we feel it best describes the experience of the summit:
“The LAH Building Opportunities Summit served as the home access industry's official "coming-of-age!" The gathering included all of the major industry providers and many of the key manufacturers together in a dedicated event for the first time ever. The sense of the industry's momentum was palpable and pervasive throughout the presentations, roundtable discussions, tradeshow, and networking. Numerous attendees remarked at both the value of the education and the collaborative atmosphere of the conference, calling it the best they've ever attended. Thank you VGM, Jim Greatorex, and the team for putting together a truly remarkable event!”
Discussions are already taking place for next year’s event. We hope to announce the dates and venue sometime in December.
Another highlight of the summit was honoring some special individuals in the industry with several awards.
The 2022 Valued Partner of VGM Live at Home Award went to Robert Gurinowitsch from Bestbath. Robert has been instrumental in connecting Live at Home with new members who are passionately engaged in the home access market. He also connected us to Rob Leonard who is our partner in developing an apprenticeship program. He has been a key person for Bestbath as they have grown their dealer network in the last two years. Follow him on Facebook and you will see he has a great family life and enjoys some great food, whether he cooks it himself at home or out with his clients at some excellent restaurants. Cheers Robert, and thanks for your great work in growing the home access industry.
The 2022 Most Valuable Member Award went to Darren Corcoran from Cor Freedom/Vets Access in Flushing, MI. Darren, along with his brother Dan, were key contributors to our Master CEAC courses, and Darren has participated in helping with our apprenticeship program and whitepaper project. We are also working with the Cor Freedom team on improving our educational offerings by filming his team as they remodel a home for both wheelchair users and aging in place applications, which was purchased right beside their business.
Darren and the Cor Freedom team have stepped up time and again to bring education to the industry and share their expertise for the whole industry to grow. What an honor it is to work with them and call them friends.
The 2022 Home Access Pay it Forward Award went to Vince Pelose with Access to Independence (ATI), who will be retiring in January from the industry. Under Vince’s leadership, we were able to host three to five consecutive days of hands-on factory training at their business. Their 9,000 square foot showroom, their products on display, and the attached classroom makes for a perfect setting for this type of training. Vince was also happy to help any member looking for advice or help through a phone call or visit to their showroom. He truly showed the spirit of helping the industry grow and helping our members get their technicians the training needed to do the job right. He may be leaving the industry, but his legacy will be remembered for years to come. We are pleased to announce that Lyn Weiss, the new CEO of ATI, will continue to welcome VGM members to training next year. We will miss Vince, but we believe that we will cross paths again.
We also honored Bill Stelzer, who has been a consultant for Live at Home since its inception, with the Home Access Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill has authored many of our educational programs, spoke at several of our events, hosted many of our trainings at Access to Independence, and taken hundreds of calls from members who wanted his advice. Bill’s example of integrity, doing the job right, and showing empathy for the people we serve are the fundamentals that Live at Home lives by. His values are faith and family first, helping this industry, and being the #1 fan of the Green Bay Packers. The man has a twinkle in his eye and a genuineness that endears him to everyone he meets. He will no longer officially be a consultant for us, but we will keep his phone number handy when things come up.
This has been one heck of a busy year for all of us. We hope that the holiday season will give you a chance to take a minute to reflect on what’s been accomplished and get recharged for what’s to come. We believe the industry grew at an 18-20% pace and will continue to grow rapidly moving forward. We have some new partners lined up and are piloting some new programs to share with you that we feel will help you meet the challenges and potential this growth will bring.
We thank you for your membership and wish you, your team, and families a memorable Thanksgiving weekend.