November 27, 2011

"Call Me a Traditionalist"

"Tradition is the illusion of permanence." ~ Woody Allen

'Tis the season and with it is comes times of reflection of the past year and optimism for the next. Christmas time, for me, has always been a very special time and whichever holiday others celebrate is equally as special to them. It's about family, friends, loved ones who are gone but remembered and new additions to welcome into the fold.

'Tis the season as well for home builders associations around the Federation to install their incoming leadership team for the upcoming year. 
My first time attending an installation dinner occurred many years ago. I looked forward to attending as it was going to be my first black tie event. In the building industry, the opportunity to wear a tuxedo comes rarely, if it all. As a matter of fact, it was the first time I wore a tuxedo since my wedding day. I rented a tuxedo for the installation but learned quickly that it would be less expensive in the long term to buy. 

The installation of officers, and the board of directors, was also a time when you had a Christmas Tree at the event (before political correctness ran amuck), with women in gowns, adding to almost all the men in tuxedos; something special was taking place, you could feel it. 
The installation banquet era, for the most part, is gone. It was a simpler time that called for an extravagant celebration of leadership to end one year with the promise of the next. Business casual has replaced the tuxedo & gown and the reverence of the installation has been replaced by a quick swearing in of the officers and board. Once in awhile some of the actual members being installed, both officer and board, don't even make the event! 
Call me a traditionalist but for me it's very sad to watch and experience the "new" ways of an old, but eloquent tradition. Blame it on the economy if you want but the volunteer leadership installation needs to return to the days of past. I know what you're going to say; "learn from the past, experience the present and prepare for the future." Some traditions have a place that doesn't need to be improved upon and in my opinion this is absolutely one of them. The installation banquet is a time where you leave the real world outside and, for a few hours, we celebrate our industry. 'Tis the season to visit with old friends and meet new ones, enjoy the evening with your (again, political correctness) significant other and at the end give a standing ovation to the newly installed volunteer leadership.

In an ever changing industry, with the highest of peaks and deepest of valleys, one thing can be a constant. The traditional installation banquet.
Maybe tradition is "an illusion of permanence," and tuxedos won't make a comeback, but could you please put on a tie?  

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman


Jlowe said...

Mike, I Can't agree more. HJL SFSA

Anonymous said...

Michael, great observation!

brenda said...

I agree 100%. We need to celebrate our volunteer leadership and a once a year splurge on the installation and awards banquet is the place to do that.
EO of an association