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Professional Insights: Johnnie White, ASA Chief Executive

26 January 2022

We spoke to ASA Chief Executive, Johnnie White, to find out more about his vision for the future of the appraisal profession

Johnnie White

CEO, American Society of Appraisers

We spoke to ASA Chief Executive, Johnnie White, to find out more about his vision for the future of the appraisal profession…

How has your career to date led you to the role you have now?

My education and work experience has directly led to my current role as CEO for ASA. With a training and background in business, information systems and non-profit association management, my career has increasingly progressed over the past three decades to prepare me to successfully lead ASA.  Also, managing medical associations over the decades have prepared me to work with very diverse groups, which is perfect for ASA where we represent multiple types of appraisers.

How do you interact with appraisers/the appraisal profession in your current role, on a day-to-day basis?

As CEO, I interact with appraisers and allied professionals daily. Prior to the pandemic I was visiting appraisers at ASA chapter meetings and appraisal conferences.  Now, I am constantly visiting with appraisers virtually and as things are coming back to normal, I am starting to meet with appraisers again in-person.

I have always had an open-door policy and look forward to individuals contacting me. My contact information is listed on ASA’s website and social media channels, as well as in articles published to our newsletter and journals and communications sent to members and allied professionals. This interaction is like a compass that helps guide me and our organization on the topics and issues that are important and where the profession is heading. I also connect on a regular basis with my counterparts at compeer organizations often regarding common interests and opportunities for joint partnerships to further the profession.

Watch again: IVSC Standards Review Board shares update on current work programme (October 2021).

What have you learnt about the appraisal profession in the period since you took the helm at the ASA?

For those new to the profession, including myself, the breadth of its coverage and impact is staggering. When looking at the profession through a multidisciplinary lens, which makes ASA so unique, one will see that appraisers play a critical role in every major industry and asset class. Appraisers in general are also very committed to excellence and are proud and passionate about what they do.

How does the appraisal profession and ASA compare to other professional fields /associations you have been involved in? Are there any notable similarities and differences?

Because of my past leadership experience, I would say the appraisal profession is very comparable to the medical services profession. Both include similarities with speciality disciplines and corresponding professionals with concentrated professional development and accreditation options. Those in the medical profession rely on data to help them in making their decisions and this is the same for appraisers as they use data also in their process of determining the value of an asset.  The one unique difference I see that separates appraisers from other professionals, is their commitment to being objective, unbiased consultants of values.

Appraisers play a crucial role in the operations of the global economy. Their commitment to the highest levels of ethical and professional standards, like IVS, fosters public trust of the appraisal profession and the opinions of value received.

Johnnie WhiteCEO, American Society of Appraisers

In what ways have you seen the appraisal profession evolve in recent years?

The profession is constantly evolving to meet the changing demands of the greater global financial markets especially during these challenging times. It is exciting to read monthly breaking news headlines about emerging assets and seeing our members and other professionals right there keeping stride providing insight and recommendations on valuation practices. We’re seeing this real-time right now for business valuation and ground breaking changes with ESOPs and intangible assets; for gems & jewellery and synthetic diamonds; for machinery & equipment and the latest technological advancements in aircraft, healthcare, marine, mining and transportation equipment; personal property and the introduction of NFTs and Crypto art; and real property and the efforts to address diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as explore metaverse property.

What are some of the big challenges facing the appraisal profession in the coming years?

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the appraisal profession now and soon is the sunsetting of careers by baby boomers and their exit from the workforce. Although this will provide job opportunities for a new generation, short term there will be a collective brain drain as these senior experts with decades of experience retire. I see professional organizations like ASA and IVSC playing a pivotal role during this transition helping new valuers fill this knowledge gap with professional development, accreditation, advocacy, networking and many other valuable programs, products, and services. Another challenge is technology and how it will change the landscape of the profession.  Professional organizations are going to have to be proactive in preparing the profession for this change by providing education and try to guide the technology to be an aid for the profession and not a replacement.

How well recognised and respected is the appraisal profession in the United States? How do you think this compares with other parts of the world?

Here in the U.S. most consumers at some point in their life will encounter a changing event to where an opinion of value will be needed for a related asset. For many that may be when buying an engagement ring or their first house, for others it may be when they get divorced or need to settle an estate; or business owners looking to lease or liquidate used equipment. The introduction or referral to a valuer is typically made by a trusted advisor like an accountant, financial planner, lender, etc. Savvy consumers will recognize the importance of working with valuers who are educated, experienced, accredited and hold membership in professional organizations like ASA, as well as understand and respect the importance of hiring a qualified professional. I see this pattern occurring in other parts of the world too.

“As a leader I witnessed first-hand how important communication, setting expectations, and working together is for overall success.”

How well do you think governments and financial regulators around the world understand the appraisal profession? How do you think this level of understanding can be improved?

When I look around the world at different countries, I see a direct correlation between its appraisal profession’s current stage of development and its understanding by governments and financial regulators.  The more developed the profession and VPO is the more aware and understanding the country’s government and financial regulators are. One of the keys to improving awareness and understanding is partnership among VPOs or allied professional organizations to raise a larger and collective voice. I have helped coordinate partnerships for when key issues have arisen and seen first-hand how successful a united profession can be.

How do you see the appraisal profession changing over the next decade?

I see opportunities for technology improvements as the profession moves forward to address coming workforce shortages; demands for transparency; and the need for uniform standards. This trend is already underway as we are beginning to see vendors introduce new and innovative solutions for improving practice management, streamlining workflows, organizing client files, safeguarding sensitive data and many more.

How is the ASA involved in the work of the IVSC?

ASA has been an active member and supporter of the IVSC since 1994. Our organization understands the importance and needs that drive the IVSC and is fully committed to jointly supporting this along with our fellow compeer member valuation professional organizations. A recent notable example of this is the collaborative effort by ASA, IVSC and other VPOs was the update of the International Valuation Glossary for business valuation.

IVSC Standards Review Board Chair, Mark Zyla, is also a member of the ASA’s Business Valuation Committee.

Why do you think it’s important to have an independent global standard setter for the valuation profession?

Valuation standards are key to ensuring the necessary accuracy, transparency and assurance consumers need and are demanding. Having an independent organization like the IVSC to provide guidance is critical for valuers and their clients.

What are some of the external business and market trends that will influence and shape the work appraisers do in the future and why?

Defendable value conclusions will be key as increased attention is brought upon valuers and their work. Particularly the methodology, comparable and documentation used by appraisers to form their opinions will be placed under a spotlight. Successful valuers will take the necessary measures to mitigate their risks by educating themselves and pursuing advanced professional development and specialty accreditation programs relating to appraisal review and management.

How has the Pandemic impacted your leadership?

During the early stages of the Pandemic, prior to fully understanding its global impact, I worked with our leadership and staffing teams to shift priorities and implement a comprehensive pivot to virtual educational programming. The move proved to be highly successful, not only financially, but also in terms of acceptance by our members as a viable delivery medium for professional development. As a leader I witnessed first-hand how important communication, setting expectations, and working together is for overall success.

Now is the perfect time to consider this profession. An uptick in job vacancies is expected and the demand for a more diversified, technology-driven workforce has never been greater.

Johnnie WhiteCEO, American Society of Appraisers

Find out more: ASA's valuation courses

What advice would you give to somebody that is thinking of starting a career as a valuer?

Now is the perfect time to consider this profession. An uptick in job vacancies is expected and the demand for a more diversified, technology-driven workforce has never been greater. Whether individuals wish to pursue the corporate path and join a valuation firm or strike it out on their own as an independent valuer, there are plenty of options that fit a person’s preferences. The profession also provides a variety of disciplines to specialize in depending on their background or affinity. Ask any valuer about what they like best about their job and they will tell you about its rewarding challenges, growth opportunities, interesting clients, and flexibility. A key starting point is to choose a leading valuation professional organization that offers the developmental education and accreditation programs, which I would promote ASA every time.

What are you most looking forward to in your role for 2022?

I, like many others, am looking forward to meeting and interacting with people in person at profession events, particularly internationally. I find it very rewarding and valuable to learn and connect with others. I am looking forward to how the profession grows and changes, particularly as it moves to address some pretty important issues. Also, I am very excited about the enhancements we have planned this coming year with ASA’s technology platforms that includes a new website, new customer relationships management database and new learning management system that will enable us to better serve the appraiser profession.

There are more than 170 member organisations
of the IVSC, operating in 137 countries worldwide. Join them.

Become part of a global network working to enhance valuation standards and professionalism.

There are more than 200 member organisations
of the IVSC, operating in 137 countries worldwide. Join them.

Become part of a global network working to enhance valuation standards and professionalism.