Tom Skiba, CAE, CAI’s chief executive officer, speaks to attendees at the 2019 CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW, in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by Brian Adams)
Twenty years ago, there were approximately 240,000 community associations in the U.S. and about 48 million Americans living within them, according to estimates from the Foundation for Community Association Research. With common interest communities experiencing steady growth both domestically and worldwide, CAI had to maintain pace with the rapidly evolving needs of its present and future members.
It was in this changing landscape that Tom Skiba, CAE, became CAI’s chief executive officer in 2002. Coming from a consulting background where he advised nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses, Skiba was positioned to deliver the expertise to guide CAI’s education programs, advocacy efforts, and membership expansion into the future.
CAI’s membership has grown from 16,500 to more than 42,000 during Skiba’s tenure. Today, there are approximately 74.1 million Americans living in 355,000 community associations.
To mark 20 years with CAI on April 22, Skiba shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities for the community association housing model and what the future holds for the organization.
What’s been the biggest change for communities over the past 20 years?
One that has had the greatest impact is the increased complexity of the legislative and regulatory environment. Every year, we track thousands of pieces of legislation at the local, state, and federal levels that could potentially impact our members. This ever-changing landscape is a challenge to communities and their boards, community managers, attorneys, and others.
What’s the biggest challenge community associations face today?
Boards face increased pressure to deliver high-quality living environments in an ever more complex world. While residents’ expectations continue to grow, pressure to keep costs down is increasing. This results in a fundamental disconnect between expectations and resources. Boards, managers, and business partners walk a fine line to meet community expectations within a framework of constrained resources.
How can CAI improve the experience of members?
There are always opportunities for us to provide our members with enhanced and expanded resources as well as new tools that can help homeowner leaders, community managers, and business partners be successful and, ultimately, help the communities that they serve be successful. We can be a true global force for our industry with all the resource development we do, but just as importantly, we can bring people together from around the world to share experiences and to learn from one another.
What’s been the most rewarding experience for you at CAI?
While I am very proud of our organization and all the things that we have accomplished, the most personally rewarding element has been the people: the members I have met; the staff whom I have had the honor to work with; the tremendous volunteer leaders who have given their time to make our organization and industry better; and the many friends that I have made along the way.
>>Read more about Tom Skiba and his 20 years with CAI in CAI’s Common Ground magazine.