Here I am in seat 10C on my way home from Colorado and NACM National Credit Congress. A free cookie and a couple of hours to ponder this year’s conference.

One of the high points of our year, the Big Event is always chock-full of good presentations, lots of networking with old and new friends, and a chance to look at the future. This year was no exception.

There are two takeaways for me this year.

FIRST:  The new tools being unveiled for credit professionals are coming fast and they are exciting. Jan Minniti, Jaime Gibson, and I had the opportunity to learn more about automation, API’s, and a number of other data products that will change how our members do their work. These new tools are not years away. They’re here now. Based on conversations we had with several of our members, it’s clear many of you are interested in knowing more. Now.

Our staff is spending a fair amount of time learning what all this means so we can answer your questions. We want to be your go-to experts because that’s what your membership is all about. As it is with you, Congress is our opportunity to become knowledgeable on this new subject matter. We have several new vendor partners ready to help us advise you on the best solutions. As we packed up to head home, about half a dozen of our attendees were asking for immediate help on Autonomous Intelligence (A.I., for short) and we’re glad to provide that guidance.

SECOND:  The second takeaway is that this association, after 120 years, still has enormous value for members. Congress is the biggest opportunity to learn and network on a national basis, and it is very clear that our affiliate’s members appreciate this chance to grow professionally.

We also realize that everyone is not able to pack up and go to Congress. Whether it’s cost, time or other obligations, many of you face limitations. For that reason, we are organizing NC3 – the Northwest Commercial Credit Conference. Using the model of our successful Hawaii Credit Forum, we will have a full day of presentations in Seattle on Thursday, September 12th. Great speakers, interesting topics, and it’s all close to home. If you want to fly in from Alaska, Hawaii or wherever you may be, you will be warmly welcomed. Plan now to join us by taking advantage of Early Bird registration.

Finally, it has gotten harder to spend time together. Awful traffic, busy schedules, and other distractions have just gotten in the way in recent years. The old ways of doing things just don’t seem to work very well anymore. Beginning this month, I will be attending Industry Trade Groups for the purpose of hearing from our members. If you have questions about what we’re doing at NACM BCS, have suggestions for what we could do better or even want to complain, this is your opportunity. Over the next several months, I will get to every group meeting. What if you’re not in a group? I’ll be at a Starbucks near you each quarter in the coming year.  I’ll also be holding Coffee with the Prez, including Kent on June 18, Seattle, July 1, and Tacoma, July 18.  Come join me and an NACM colleague or Board member to talk about whatever may be on your mind. FYI, for Alaska and Hawaii – we’ll have chances for you, too.

Bottomline: This association is for you and all credit professionals. Thanks for being part of it.