The Chicagoland Cooperator's Expo Debuts to Rave Reviews Thousands Attend Pier Event

The Chicagoland Cooperator's Expo Debuts to Rave Reviews

 Thousands of enthusiastic attendees packed The Chicagoland Cooperator’s first annual Condo, HOA & Co-op Expo to learn about new products and services, network with hundreds of  service providers, socialize and exchange information with their fellow board  members and peers and get valuable advice to help their boards and community  associations run more efficiently.  

 The all-in-one-day event at the Navy Pier Convention Center brought together  Chicagoland’s best property managers, board members, real estate professionals,  shareholders, service providers, vendors and unit owners all under one roof.  

 Many attendees were impressed with the diversity of information available at The  Chicagoland Expo, “As a board member I never realized the wealth of resources available. Today has  been exceptionally helpful and I got as much information as I could to share  with my fellow board members,” said Paul Segal from Chicago. “Next year I'm going to get others to come with me.”  

 In challenging economic times, good information is critical and The Chicagoland  Cooperator’s Condo, HOA & Co-op Expo provided the resources and learning tools board members and industry  professionals need to stay ahead of the curve. The Chicagoland Expo not only  gave attendees a chance to meet with professionals in the community association  field but also provided a full slate of unique educational programming, plus  free management, legal, insurance and financial advice. Attendees filled the  aisles to meet with exhibitors showcasing every product and service available  to the condo, HOA, and co-op market.  

 “Attendees can find everything here from asbestos abatement to window  replacement,” said Henry Robbins, executive vice president and sales director of Yale  Robbins, Inc., the producers of the expo.  

 An Information-Packed Day

 Attendees were not only there to network but to learn. Educational seminars  attracted standing-room-only crowds as nearly a thousand people attended one or  more of the six seminars. The instructional offerings started early with a  seminar entitled “Top Financial and Legislative Updates Every Manager Should Know,” sponsored by the Illinois chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI-IL).  Lara Anderson, Esq. of the Lake Zurich-based law firm of Fullett Rosenlund  Anderson PC discussed licensing for community association managers, and David  Sugar, an attorney with Arnstein & Lehr LLP, spoke about statutory disclosure and requests for association  records. hosted a seminar to explain and demonstrate their intuitive  building and management website tool. Tim Jessup and Rina Kestenbaum of  BuildingLink presented various modules which allow management and boards to  communicate with residents regarding package delivery and access, fire safety  and emergency preparedness, and filing of management and maintenance requests.  

 Orest Tomaselli, president of National Condo Advisors LLC, sponsored a seminar  which examined changes adopted by the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac related  to condo lending and reserve funding. Tomaselli said many associations are  unaware of the ramifications of being FHA-approved. After the mortgage crisis  and tighter lending standards, about 9,200 developments across the country lost  their status and haven’t gotten it back.  

 Tomaselli was extremely pleased and energized. “It was amazing. One of the biggest turnouts we’ve ever had. Amazing questions, a lot of problems were handled, and we had a  line out the back of booth for the last two or three hours. It was a fantastic  presentation.”  

 Associa’s Christine Evans and Gina Rossi spoke to a packed room when they hosted their  seminar “Secrets of a Productive Board/Management Relationship.” They met with an enthusiastic crowd discussing the interaction between the  property manager and the board. Evans said managers are there to help, and not  make the decisions or replace of the board. “My philosophy is that the management company is not the hired help. You don’t order them around. You don’t throw things on their plate and tell them what they did wrong. You tell them  what they did right. It is a partnership.”  

 One attendee remarked that the seminar gave her much food for thought. She  indicated that the information she learned was going to help her in the future  and looked forward to sharing her newfound knowledge with her fellow board  members.  

 The seminar rooms remained packed for the next seminar moderated by Attorney  Ebony Lucas of Peace of Mind Properties, LLC. This Chicagoland  Cooperator-sponsored panel of attorneys, including Jim Slowikowski of Dickler,  Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd., Charles Keough of Keough Moody PC and William Chatt of Erwin Law  Firm, discussed rules enforcement and collecting common fees. Lucas explained  the collections process and how to get owners to pay without resorting to  eviction or serious litigation.  

 The crowds did not wane for the last panel. Attorney Jill Tanz of Chicago  Mediation LLC joined with property manager Marcia Caruso and attorney Steven D.  Welhouse of The Sterling Law Office LLC to examine the ins-and-outs of  arbitration and mediation in resolving disputes. Caruso recited the  oft-repeated mantra of association disputes: people, parking and pets. She  pointed out how managers are on the front lines to referee disputes and  reminded all that it's important to rely on the condo’s rules and regulations. “There are conflicts that are going to exist when more than two people live  together.”  

 Free Advice & More

 Besides the seminars, attendees lined up for free advice booths hosted by The  Chicagoland Cooperator and staffed by a rotating roster of industry  professionals throughout the day, one of the Expo’s prime attractions. Lines stretched down the aisles as attendees waited to  question experts about association finances, policies, and day-to-day  management issues. The Expo featured a cyber cafe to check email, stocks and  other news of the day; a full service food court to whet the appetite, regroup  and re-energize before heading back to the Expo floor packed with hundreds of  exhibitors.  

 $2,500 Reserve Fund Giveaway

 No trade show is complete without giveaways and raffles. One lucky board member  is going to receive this year’s reserve fund prize giveaway, courtesy of The Chicagoland Cooperator and Yale  Robbins, Inc. In a drawing held after registration has closed, one Expo  attendee will win a $2,500 contribution to their building or association's  reserve fund. A check for the winnings will be made payable to the winner’s building, care of their management company. Only board members qualified to  enter the reserve fund drawing, and attendance at the Expo was required for  eligibility. Information on the winner will be announced.  

 For Chicagoland area condo owners and managers, the Expo was truly a  one-stop-shop for all services needed to manage and maintain buildings. When  the booths closed up at 5 p.m., attendees of The Chicagoland Cooperator's  Condo, HOA & Co-op Expo had enjoyed a full day of activities, and went home with lots of new  information, business contacts, valuable insight into the workings of their  buildings, and ideas on how to make their communities even better.  

 Get ready for next year since we've already begun planning for the 2012 Expo  which blows back into “The Windy City” on Wednesday, November 14th, at the Navy Pier Convention Center. For more  information, go to