The Restoration Industry Association’s 63rd Annual “Solutions” Convention & Exhibition, March 12-14, saw its first full day of education and information Thursday.
Following early-bird seminars “Raging Profits, Fearless Numbers” by Chuck Violand and “Top 10 Ways to Get Sued and How to Avoid Them” by Randi Klein Hyatt, the official opening got underway.
“When we met this time last year, RIA had just launched some highly visible changes for the association and our industry, all of them centered around the rebranding of the association,” RIA President and CEO Gary Dooner, CR, said. “During the past year RIA has strengthened its administrative systems to improve the security and accuracy of its member records, and our communications efforts continue to pay off.”
After a few additional housekeeping remarks, Dooner introduced the day’s keynote speaker, Kelly McDonald of McDonald Marketing. A marketing and advertising expert, McDonald’s specialized expertise lies in reaching and understanding the Latino marketplace. She walked the audience through a number of examples and situations, addressing cultural differences, perceptions vs. realities, and pointed out some prime examples of the Latino influence on the country’s economic and cultural landscape.
“We are living through a moment in history that you may not know. It is a moment in history that you will tell your children and your grandchildren about. Keep your eye on New Orleans,” McDonald said. “Pre-Katrina, as in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was a black city and a white city. But it really wasn’t an Hispanic city, they had something like a 3 percent Hispanic population.
“Guess who’s rebuilding New Orleans? Hispanic construction workers, specifically from Texas,” she said. “In fact, there’s a bit of a labor shortage in areas of Texas because there’s so many Hispanics from Texas who elected to work in New Orleans rebuilding the city.
“In one fell swoop, this natural disaster called Katrina forever changed the demography of that city. They’re saying 36 months from now, when the dust settles in that city and the city is pretty much back on its feet and rebuilt, the city could be as much as 30 percent Hispanic, all because of Katrina,” McDonald said.
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