The NC Candidates’ Club Challenge

It wasn’t always called the NC Candidates’ Club. There was no need to designate it as the “NC” club because we were the only such club in the nation. The club started in 1984 at what was then called the “Institute of Government”, so it was first named the Institute of Government’s Candidates’ Club. Just one year earlier, a young appraiser who started his career in Tennessee began lecturing at UNC’s Institute of Government. His name was Joe Hunt and is now known by many as one who advanced the science and art of property tax assessment in North Carolina.

Joe Hunt, CAE

In 2003, Joe was honored by the NCAAO with the Henry W. Lewis award for doing just that.

The 2003 Henry W. Lewis Award

Joe did a lot of great things as a lecturer and adviser here at the School of Government from 1983 to 2009. If you were around during his tenure, you are certainly aware of many of those accomplishments. This blog post is about what Joe wrote in a 2008 IAAO Fair and Equitable article as being one of his most meaningful events to him, establishment of the North Carolina Candidates’ Club.

The club was started by Joe to encourage county appraisers to earn an IAAO designation with the help and support of others. In 1984, when the club began, I had very little knowledge that one day the club would lead me to one of the most rewarding career moves I would ever make. In 1995, David Baker looked at me while taking IAAO Course 500 and said, “Kirk, we need to get our PPS (Personal Property Specialist) designation.” I agreed.

The PPS designation requirements changed over time. Dedication to the goal changed. My available time to work on the designation changed. The NC Candidates’ Club was always there. Club members were a constant reminder of the goal, and the resources available to help me get there.  David and I encouraged five others to join us on this elusive quest. One reason that all candidates will attribute to a designation’s elusiveness is committing to an exam date. If your designation requires a project, such as a demonstration appraisal report, that is certainly a big hurdle. But almost all designations require a long, intimidating exam called a case study exam. They typically take most of the 8-hour time limit. Seven club members committed to a week that we would retake IAAO 500, study in the evenings, and take the exam together on a set date. It was not without struggles, but the point of the story is that the 7 of us stuck together.  Today the 7 of us have our PPS designations and all 7 would admit that the journey was well worth it. In alphabetical order, the group is David Baker, Kirk Boone, Tammy Holder, Tom Tucker, James Tyner, Tina Stone, and Mary Yow. Since earning that designation, the entire group advanced in their careers in various ways.  North Carolina had enough designations that year to win the 2006 Virginia Cup.

It is time to renew and revive the goal of earning an IAAO designation! The Candidates Club Officers, including current president, Harry Smith, are ready to push you. Great job on that video Harry! I’m ready to push you, and probably join you for another designation myself.

Please read the challenge Wake County Tax Administrator, Marcus Kinrade, gave to his staff. He challenged them to earn their designation and help Our State win the 2019 Virginia Cup. I think that plan is right on target and I hope other assessors will follow Marcus’ lead. Will you?  The candidates club website is updated, the officers and members are ready to work with you to earn your designation. There has been recent excitement in our discussions. Let’s be a part of winning the 2019 Virginia Cup!  Here are upcoming courses in North Carolina.

Share your own designation story below, ask a question, or just let everyone know that you’re ready for the challenge that may very well define the rest of your career!



  1. Pretena Brydson- Ingram

    May 18, 2018 at 6:09 am

    This was very motivating to read. I am excited for the opportunity to obtain my PPS. Are there still plans on doing a review workshop?


    • Yes, we are planning to hold a PPS case study review workshop later this year. With the AAS and RES workshops being held in the fall, this is the year to make it happen! Go Pretena!

    • That is great! Let me know how I can assist in helping you in the process! As Kirk stated we will be working to schedule the PPS Workshop review later this year! Chelsie Cornelius with DOR is working on her PPS and I will be sitting for the AAS Case Study soon! As the IAAO Rep I support the challenge from Marcus to his staff at Wake Co and also challenge appraisers across the state to obtain their designation this year! As Brad stated it is a huge accomplishment and very rewarding! There are several resources available to assist in the process from support and encouragement to scholarship funds that can help with cost! Ok North Carolina it is time to bring home the VA Cup again!!

  2. A professional designation is a huge accomplishment!.. I am glad to see Marcus lead an effort in his office. From my experience, folks around the state are extremely helpful in assisting you through the process. With some of the recent requirement changes, a designation is achievable for nearly everyone. I am excited to see if we can get that VA Cup!!
    Thanks Marcus and Kirk

  3. Hey Kirk. Good post man! Thanks for putting it out there. I’ll be glad to share my experience as it’s a little different than Kirk’s. I took the workshop like the ones mentioned in the post. There were 5 of us enrolled; 4 of us scheduled the case study the next day and 3 of us are in the May F&E. Kirk, you’re right, the key is to prepare, review and schedule it. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.

  4. Great article, Kirk. I’m working on my AAS this year and am glad there’s a network to help me.

  5. Tommy Readling

    May 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you Kirk for your post and guidance. I am close to obtaining my PPS designation. Without the help of the SOG and Candidate’s Club (Harry Smith and Kenya Allen to name a few), the process would not be as clear and concise. I am happy that I joined as a member last year.

  6. Dwane Brinson

    May 21, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Kirk – thanks for sharing this article. Just to be sure, the time frame that one needs to earn a designation to count towards the Virginia Cup would be October 31, 2018 through May 31, 2019, correct? Also, keep in mind that we have a number of Professional Designation Advisors (PDA) already recognized by IAAO to help and provide guidance to those seeking a designation. Once someone becomes a candidate, he/she would be assigned a PDA, likely right here in NC, which makes the process more manageable.

    • Dwane, you’re welcome! The Professional Designation Advisor’s handbook lists all PDA’s (thank you for being one) and there are many other NC designees, not listed in the PDA handbook that would be more than willing to assist a new North Carolina candidate. In addition to a list of PDA’s, you’ll find a lot of other helpful information and forms in the handbook. Also included are some snippets of IAAO’s procedural rules which read that any designations we earn in NC between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 would count toward the 2019 Virginia Cup. Practically, let’s not cut it close. IAAO needs time to grade exams and read reports (when required). So those of us ready for the challenge should double check with IAAO and your PDA on our master exam dates to make sure IAAO would have time to grade and award the designation prior to June 30, 2019.

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