By Kelly Burge, NWIA CEO

Kelly Burge PhotoWow, 2018 is over. Where does the time go, especially considering I get younger every year.  Ha!  As we sit at the cusp of a new year, I thought it would be wise for us to take a step back and look at how far we came together in 2018, and preview our walk together into 2019.

Take a look at a few of our board’s most compelling stats and activities from the year we just completed:
• We welcomed 36 new Realtor members to NWIA.
• Six new Affiliate Members joined our organization.
• We hosted a whopping 148 hours of local continuing education.
• We held a successful community blood drive.
• We staffed four kettles for a full day of bell ringing for the Salvation Army of Siouxland.
• We supported the Siouxland Sleep Out event by providing volunteers and a financial donation.
• And the biggest accomplishment of 2018—-we went live with Paragon, our brand new MLS software, and successfully merged our three old MLS’s into one harmonious system. And we are all still speaking to each other!

Never ones to rest on our laurels, we’ve been running forward at full speed since we merged together as one board in 2015. Can you believe that was four years ago? Wow! And now, with 2019 at the door, we are poised for more big things coming.

• We will make the move to new lock boxes with Sentrilock on February 12 and 13. None of you can complain that we didn’t get you a Valentine’s Day gift now! Truly, this will be a great change, with better security and more options for agents than ever before. For some of our areas, lock boxes will be a tremendous new benefit.
• Kris Brend, former Ames Board CEO, has joined IAR as Education Director. I’m excited to see what new course offerings Kris brings forth in the year ahead. Watch for us to bring you an endless array of classes starting this spring, both as a membership benefit, and from the IAR team.
• Our new Northwest Iowa MLS group continues to grow on Facebook, and is becoming a go-to place for our MLS members to ask questions and find information quickly from others. If you* haven’t joined us there, please request to be admitted. (Sorry, we know it sounds like fun for everyone, but this group is closed.  Membership is for Northwest Iowa MLS members only.)
• Plans are underway to do some fairly substantial remodeling around the NWIA office in the year ahead. After years of discussion, we will reconfigure our existing space to better meet the needs of our growing membership and simultaneously improve staff safety and efficiency. Details are coming soon about the plans, and some temporary relocations for staff. Like those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get to the gym five days a week (yeah, right), we are going to experience some short-term pain (a few inconveniences) for what will end up being a great long-term gain (awesome remodeled office, yay!).

I am excited about the future, as we continue our march forward to continually serve your professional needs in the best way possible.  We are all privileged to carry the banner to represent the Realtor brand well in Northwest Iowa.

Onward to 2019, and may it be our (and your) best year yet!