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Inside The Minds of Association Execs

Getting a sense of where politics is going is like predicting how much snow we'll get next winter. (Eric Cantor bought a spoon when he needed a plow.) So Bisnow assembled six association execs last week at Smith & Wollensky in DC to shed light on how they view the political landscape.

Our moderator Jerry Jasinowski (former CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers) is watching four trends: Tech is accelerating and disrupting everything; only 25% of Americans think the US is going in the right direction; the economy is not going to pick up in any major way; and the country's future depends on a better educated workforce. Speaking of tech, Aerospace Industries Association president/CEO Marion Blakey says unmanned aircraft systems are exciting for aerospace and defense. AIA is educating the public and policymakers on beneficial uses and safety related to these systems. The European Commission expects to have regs on unmanned systems by the end of this year and Japan is already using them in agriculture. The FAA has until 2015 to establish regs for integration of unmanned systems into US airspace.

Polarization in Congress is forcing some associations to change how they tackle elections. American Forest & Paper Association president/CEO Donna Harman says the organization is playing a bigger, more grassroots role in primaries and inviting future members of Congress for tours of paper facilities before they start drafting legislation that will affect the industry. (Our advice: while there, take notes on paper instead of your phone.)

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations president/CEO Pat Cleary says NAPEO, which represents businesses that handle human resources and other back office functions for small businesses, is the epitome of a mixed emotion association. The more regs Washington hands down, the better his members do in business. Obamacare, with its several thousands of pages of confusing regulation, was a gift, says Pat. But his board is fairly conservative, so cheering on more regulation is awkward. Heidrick & Struggles partner Julian Ha says more companies are hiring chief revenue officers. They intersect strategy, finance, and marketing.

Builders and tenants are moving to Northern Virginia because of regulatory changes in DC. That's why the District of Columbia Building Industry Association is more proactive than ever before, says CEO Lisa Mallory, who left DC government six months ago. But that hasn't slowed down construction. DC has some of the most complicated building projects going on, including Capitol Crossing, a large mixed-use structure requiring air rights over I-395. DCBIA is also closely monitoring the mayoral race and its two leading candidates.

Electric Drive Transportation Association president Brian Wynne says the electric car industry has good political support ahead of it as it contributes to the transportation infrastructure, tax incentives, and sources of power. He's optimistic simply because of how much drivers love their electric drive cars. The association is partnering with Formula E, a worldwide FIA-sanctioned championship featuring pure electric open wheel racing.

Big thanks to Heidrick & Struggles and Smith & Wollensky for helping us throw the roundtable luncheon. 

CohnReznick (Field) ASSOC
Arent Fox (IntellProp) ASSOC
Bisnow (CapStack2014)

$1.1M Raised in 24 Hours

The United Way National Capital Area's second 24-hour crowdfunding campaign raised over $1.1M for over 560 DC area nonprofits. Last Thursday's online giving campaign had 11,358 donors, outpacing last year's inaugural event. (This is United Way NCA's Emerging Leaders reception at the end of the day.) CEO Rosie Allen-Herring says support came from corporations, retailers, local governments, nonprofits, and media. Donors had a choice of where to put their funds. The top overall donation earners were Joseph's House ($36,304), Friends of Homeless Animals ($28,594), and Little Lights Urban Ministries ($26,516).

First Lady Addresses DC Grads

First Lady Michelle Obama sending them off with some advice: Invest in yourself and never stop struggling in the face of adversity. The first lady is here with DC-CAP president Argelia Rodriguez, DC-CAP Perseverance Award Winner and speaker Jamila Lee, DC-CAP Community Involvement and Leadership Award winner Isiah Guinyard, and DC-CAP Academic Achievement Award winner Faith Ajayi. The nonprofit helps students in DC public and public charter high schools pursue college careers. (See our recent story.) The first lady also told the students to never shy away from a good struggle. “Instead, I want you to seek it out and dive in head first, because that's what truly successful people do.”

Send Us Your Stories:
Family Business

Do you work with your father/wife/daughter/twin brother/second cousin twice removed? We have a new feature where we share pics of families who are making it work—working together. So, if you're lucky enough to not have to wait for Thanksgiving to see your family, and instead you get to see them at the water cooler ever day, don't keep it to yourself. Let us know! Here's an old adage we just made up: The family that sells together, gels together. Email tania.anderson@bisnow.com

What is your association doing differently in light of the current political environment? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.



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