By 2002, the staff at HQ was starting to solidify into what would become a long-term team. Jim Birdsong had taken over as CEO/EVP the previous year, and Kris Ammerman, Micki Kamszik, Karen McElroy, and William Myers were all in what would end up being their roles for over a decade (in most cases, multiple decades).
One major annual tradition that was initiated in 2002 was the RCI Foundation Auction, which would become one of the Foundation’s largest and best fundraisers. Spearheaded by the new CEO’s wife, Sharon Birdsong, a successful silent auction was run at the 2002 convention. When the final figures were in, the Foundation realized a $6,600 profit on a gross of $14,000. As readers are likely aware, the Foundation Auction has since become a staple of the IIBEC Convention and Trade Show, growing and changing over the years into the major event it is today.
IIBEC headquarters also moved to 1500 Sunday Drive in 2002, where it would stay until 2020. The new office allowed for the subsequent expansion of staff, which happened gradually over the years.
The North and South Carolina chapters combined to become the Carolinas Chapter. The Delaware Valley Chapter and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter were both formed in 2002, bringing the total number of chapters to nine.
The RRC Exam Development Committee made the decision to change to a multiple-choice format, allowing the exam to be electronically graded.
A joint task force was formed with IIBEC (then RCI) and NRCA. It met for the first time in 2002 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The end of 2002 brought tragedies. Michael DeFrancesco, RRC, RRO, who was at the time serving as second vice president, passed away in November at the age of 48. Then in December, RCI Headquarters was shut down from December 5-8 due to the devastating ice storm that affected a large swath of the Southeast, including Raleigh.