A special thanks to NAMB's 2004 Convention backstage choreographersJoel M. BermanNAMB 2004 Convention,Joel M. Berman I'm sitting on a plane heading back to New York from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers 2004 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Salt Lake City. I was greatly satisfied with what I learned during the event, and more importantly, excited by the wealth of contacts available by the "melting pot" of our nation's mortgage industry brought to this annual ritual. As I left the hotel in Salt Lake City, I realized that the feeling everyone leaves with is dependent on the hard work of dedicated volunteers and NAMB staff members who, in the background, carefully choreograph every detail of the event, so that each and every one of us transitions flawlessly from one component of the convention to the next. As I left the hotel, a van was pulling away with NAMB staffers. While the entire staff of NAMB immerses themselves in the coordination of the convention, it is Executive Vice President/CEO Mike Nizankiewicz, Meetings and Convention Director Rebecca Dopkin, and Manager of Meetings Jason Hawthorne Petty who inspired the staff and on-site volunteers to identify with their passion and zeal for great success. Their tired and drawn faces depicted the true testament to their successful efforts. If you've attended NAMB conventions, you'd certainly recognize their faces as they traversed the halls of the convention, attending to everything from registration, to signage program transitions, to the supervision of the professionally presented general sessions and gala. It's true that it's their job, but collectively as an industry, they do their job well and with sincere commitment to go that extra mile to deliver (I have received e-mails from them sent during the wee hours of the morning). We often neglect to say thanks, and I wanted to take the time to say, "Job well done!" (By the way, while their faces may have shown their exhaustion, it didn't stop them from telling me that they couldn't wait to get back to D.C. and start planning the 2005 Annual Convention in Minnesota.) Mr. Smile, as I like to call NAMB Director and Convention Chair Doug Anderson, is the epitome of a consummate professional who set a goal for the NAMB 2004 Convention and Exhibition. In my opinion, and the many with whom I had a chance to speak, he exceeded everyone's expectations--and probably his, as well. Sitting on the NAMB Convention Committee, I had a bird's eye view of Doug's intensity in making NAMB 2004 the best convention, ever. Doug, I am proud to say that I was part of your committee, but more proud of the class act you delivered to this industry. Your smile guided us through a wonderful experience, which included excellent seminars, speakers and entertainment. Simply put, your contagious smile was mirrored on the many faces of the attendees who truly enjoyed every aspect of the convention and the beautiful venue (both hotel and city) that it was held in. My final thanks goes to our outgoing NAMB President A.W. Pickel who tirelessly traversed our nation to countless NAMB state affiliate events, not to mention the dozens of other trade association conferences and legislative meetings and hearings also attended. The industry owes a great deal of gratitude to A.W. for both the personal and business sacrifices he made this past year fulfilling his role as NAMB President. Having been a two-term president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, I had a minimal glimpse of the enormity of his responsibility this past year. A.W., you led well this past year and NAMB 2004 represents the culmination of your term, but more importantly is testament to a foundation that you not only strengthened but have built added stories to. You set the tone for our future and we heard it loud and clear in Salt Lake City. I don't want to close this note of appreciation with the impression that only the highlighted individuals are worthy of our collective thanks and recognition. I want to acknowledge all of NAMB's Industry Partners, sponsors, exhibitors, Officers, Board of Directors, committee chairs, the NAMB state affiliates (especially host state the Utah Association of Mortgage Brokers!) and the 24,000-plus NAMB members as well. But if it wasn't for the inspiration and energy of these individuals to motivate the others into action, these events would not have been possible. If I may quote Roy Firestone, featured speaker at the NAMB 2004 Convention and Exhibition Gala event, when he said to take the word "impossible" and change it to "I'm possible." So, if you're reading this article, take a second and think of these unsung heroes who work in the background to make our industry better, and say thanks! Joel M. Berman is president of The Mortgage Press Ltd. and past president of The New York Association of Mortgage Brokers. He may be reached at (800) 890-8090, ext. 310 or e-mail [email protected].