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Growing our way to financial health

In January, when the Board met for the annual midwinter board meeting, I presented a report on the financial and operational status of the organization. Like previous reports, it focused primarily on the financial and membership aspects of OWAA operations. It is my pleasure to share that with you as well.

Even though 2014 saw some cash flow challenges, we are able to present a balanced budget for 2015. The key to our financial security continues to rest on the revenue side of our operations. We can’t “cut” our way to financial security; we need to “grow” our way there. As you will see below, we are making good progress.

Membership is up 10 percent as of December 2014 compared to May 2014 and Supporting Group affiliations are up 18 percent

Since the last board meeting the team at headquarters has been busy on a number of fronts, and here are some highlights of our efforts.

While the presentations were excellent, the attendance at Conference in McAllen, Texas, was a disappointment. There was a big lesson learned: No more conferences close to holidays.

When the U.S. Forest Service initiated a rulemaking on filming and commercial photography in wilderness areas we responded with press statements, columns in Outdoors Unlimited and blog posts. President Mark Freeman and I had telephone conversations and meetings with Forest Service leadership. We submitted written comments viewable at http://owaa.org/blog/2015/02/owaa-position-filming-photography-public-lands/ for the record. OWAA’ s efforts were acknowledged in USFS Chief Tidwell’s letter to the field clarifying the policy http://owaa.org/file/20141104CommercialFilming&PhotographyPermits.pdf.

In order to help increase awareness of OWAA we sponsored the Press Room at the American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s International Fly Tackle Dealer show which is co-located with the American Sportfishing Association’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show.

I joined the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) and had the pleasure of attending their 50th anniversary conference. It was a great opportunity to visit with past and present OWAA notables. Board member Tim Mead very graciously made my “green ribbon” experience quite enjoyable. Thank you,Tim.

We added the Ocean Conservancy as a new EIC Fishing Category Co-Sponsor thanks to the good works of Brandon Shuler.

Working with the Strategic Planning committee we implemented a revised Strategic Plan (http://owaa.org/about/strategic-plan/ -See Strategic Plan 2014 Update 2).

Finally, as we move into 2015 we will be focusing on having a successful conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, and looking at ways to improve member and supporter communications.

As always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Call me directly at 406-552-4049 or email me.

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