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Look for the Watermark 

Posted By: John Mitchell Dimensions Online ,
John Mitchell served as AATC's CEO for nearly 29 years.

I recently heard an excellent sermon comparing change to a sudden attack of vertigo. At first, glance that may sound like a weird analogy but look deeper. If you’ve never experienced this dizzying experience, watch out! It’s an unexpected battle between balance and confusion. One moment everything’s fine and then quite suddenly life’s a spinning freefall. At best, it’s disconcerting. Worst case, it’s downright scary. And yes, I’m talking about change as well as vertigo 

We’ve experienced an unprecedented avalanche of change during recent months including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with unthinkable deadly results, an incredible Snowmageddon freezeout throughout most of Texas, our favorite restaurants and many other business ventures closed forever, a rapid transition to virtual church and schools, no more sports to cheer and jeer, an unbelievably divisive federal election yielding an eye-popping siege on our nation’s capital, no more travel by any means anywhere, loads of lost jobs, the newest norms of social distancing and digital everything… and the list goes on and on. So, here we are or should be, thoughtfully pondering lessons learned.  

For me, this vertigo-ish work and staycation marks the conclusion of a long and cherished career. I’ve been blessed beyond every conceivable expectation while serving the association management world for the past 43-years; almost 29 as the apartment association’s executive director. All I know to say from the bottom of my heart is, thank you forever and always. 

Most of my dearest friends are AATC, TAA, and or NAA members or they’re directly connected to the multi-housing business. My cherished family knows and loves these peeps and a handful have become those special 3 am friends who’ll do anything and everything it takes to support one another.   

Without a doubt, I’ve stumbled at times along the path, but for the most part, I’m abundantly proud of the things we’ve accomplished together. In fact, several of our craziest ideas have become standards for the rental housing industry from coast to coast. I’m especially proud of the many relationships cast in stone – truly, compadres forever, including my dear friend Brad Williams. 

My friend and TAA president Hugh Cobb recently quoted a verse from Ecclesiastes 3 that says, “For everything, there is a season, a time for everything under heaven.”  At the moment, for me, there’s never been anything truer. It’s time to turn, turn, turn my attention far more to my family and friends. It’s time for an exciting new adventure.

As I drift away, there’ll no doubt be some bumps in the road that you’ll need to thoughtfully navigate one step at a time. The key to most worthwhile endeavors is the art of sticking together. Best advice… continue investing in servant leaders; be KIND to one another; keep moving forward – refusing to go back, and look for creative new ways to encourage those wonderful volunteers working right by your side.  

In conclusion, many thanks to a long list of associates, colleagues, and cherished friends including many of AATC's outstanding past presidents and my wonderful staff, current and past. These are the people who’ve established the watermark for AATC's future. 

As the highly regarded author and teacher John Maxell once said, “Everyone has the potential to become an encourager. You don’t have to be rich, don’t have to be a genius and you don’t have to have your act together. All you have to do is truly care about other people.”  

John Mitchell feels deeply honored to have served as AATCs Executive Director, its Chief Executive Officer since July 1992. With a grateful heart, adios mi amigos.