The Cooperator’s 28th Annual Expo Learning and Information for Boards and Managers

Thousands of board members, managers and building owners packed the aisles of the Hilton New York exhibit hall as The Cooperatorpresented its 28th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo, providing networking, informational and educational opportunities for boards, managers and residents throughout the tri-state area.

Since 1987, the Expo has been a fixture on the business calendar of vendors, service providers, board members, building staff and residents in the co-op and condo community. The 2015 Expo—on April 21st—was no exception as nearly 4,000 attendees visited some 290 exhibit booths and took in this year's lineup of informative educational seminars.

“When we are putting these Expos together for the past three decades,” says Yale Robbins, president of Yale Robbins, Inc., Expo producer and publisher of The Cooperator, “our team has a vision to help attendees and exhibitors understand the big picture, anticipate trends, and stay up-to-date on advancements in the co-op, condo and HOA industry. I am overwhelmed by the positive feedback we constantly get. The participants notice the improvements we make and it really motivates us to build an even better Expo next year.”

Henry Robbins, executive vice president and director of sales for Yale Robbins, Inc., said the show’s success is cumulative and reflects on the both the exhibitors and the attendees. “Attendance and interest in the Expo—from everyone involved—has grown each year since it was first produced 28 years ago,” he says. “The passion and enthusiasm is contagious… the fact that the event draws more people each year is proof of its attraction.”

What Show-Goers Had to Say

Board member Kimberly Overs said the most important feature of the expo is the ability to meet with other board members, compare notes and network with the service providers in attendance. “There is a real need to build a community among us,” she says.

Furthermore, Yolanda Pessina—another board member—complimented the educational seminars, which give attendees the opportunity to learn from industry professionals. “The seminars and booths that I attended and visited were very well prepared and informative,” she says.

The exhibitors keep returning each year to The Cooperator’sfamily of expos because the shows attract the key decision-makers in the co-op, condo and apartment building industry.

“As a board member, this show gives me the ability to interact with the many service providers directly, without a middle man,” says attendee Richard Jarocki, a board member.

A Day of Learning

Attendees not only came to meet with exhibitors…they also came to learn. One of The Cooperator’s annual Expo mainstays are the educational seminars that routinely draw large crowds.

Attendees came early to hear Meridian Capital Group’s Steve Geller explain the ins-and-outs of financing your building’s underlying mortgage in the seminar entitled “The Underlying Issue—What You Must Know About Refinancing.”Geller spoke about how boards and buildings can save money by refinancing. He also discussed mortgage loan options for the board/management team—an important issue, especially in today's economy. Geller also explained what monies are available for capital improvement projects and he discussed in detail about new federal requirements.

A standing-room only crowd gathered to hear the hot topic of the day with a discussion on homesharing services. “The Homesharing Dilemma: Best Practices for Board Operations,” presented by the law firm of Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold, LLP, looked at all the pros and cons of online portals like Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway, and others, which have become extremely controversial in co-op and condo buildings. Those who attended also learned what their building’s “Best Practices” should be for alteration agreements, warranties, contract dates, and more.

Dr. Dana L. Levy from the office of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) spoke to a packed house about how a combined heat and power (CHP) system, otherwise known as a co-generation system, works. In the seminar, “Save Money and Avoid Power Outages—Adoption of Combined Heat and Power in Multifamily Buildings,” Dr. Levy outlined the benefits and cost savings of CHP for residential multifamily buildings and how the system operates in the event of a power outage. Dr. Levy also outlined options that come into play when choosing CHP as a power source and what needs to be done before installing a co-gen plant in your building.

Verizon’s Andrew Perdek in a return engagement spoke on “Trends in Telecom—What’s New and Notable in Multifamily Telecommunications.” The Verizon Enhanced Communities’ representative explained to co-op and condo board members and building managers the intricacies of bandwidth and demand, how hot new trends and technologies keep residents connected, and how Verizon can help managers and residents meet the city’s new energy management goals. They also provided an overview of the FiOS installation process and operating system.

A panel of management experts presented the last seminar of the day with “Proactive Partnerships—Getting the Most from Your Management.” Sandy Adelsberg of Veritas Management, Elly Pateras of Douglas Elliman, AKAM’s Michael Rogoff and Dermer Managment’s Dan Dermer, collaborated on how to work with your board/management team and develop successful relationships along the way. The managers spoke about how they go about their day-to-day routines to make the properties they manage as efficient as possible. Two separate seminars for apartment and building managers also were presented and touched on security issues and dealing with environmental hazards.

Gifts & Giveaways

Exhibitors come to the Expo each year to get their products and services in front of thousands of building decision-makers; attendees come for information, education and of course, prizes. Exhibitor-sponsored prizes at the 2015 show included gift cards, gift baskets and the grand prize, a $3,500 contribution to one lucky board member for their building's reserve fund, courtesy of Yale Robbins Publications and The Cooperator.

Attendees were also able to seek advice from a distinguished array of residential industry professionals who generously donated their time in the advice booth area.

Next Year’s Expo…

And don’t forget 2016. Even before the 2015 Expo closed shop and exhibitors started taking down their wares, planning and preparation began for the April 13, 2016 show, which promises to be bigger and more exciting than ever. Stay tuned to www.coopexpo.com for more information, important deadlines and online registration.    

Blake A. French is associate editor at The Cooperator and other publications.