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My third conference as your executive director is in the history books. Every year I’m amazed at how much news, information and fun gets packed into three days.
Among that news is an OWAA status report I give to the membership. I’m recapping the highlights here for those unable to attend the conference.
While we could always be in better financial shape, we are holding our own. At the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year there are no unanticipated or extraordinary expenses. Revenues and expenses are in line with projections.
The key to our financial security rests on the revenue side of our operations. We can’t cut our way to financial security; we need to grow our way there. Which brings me to membership.
Going into conference we had 721 individual members and 162 supporting groups. From April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, we added 64 new members and 43 supporting groups. Of course we lose members and supporters each year for a variety of reasons but the trend continues to look promising.
And if each member recruited just one new member — just one — we would double the size of the organization. If you believe in OWAA and what we do, I am sure you can help one other person benefit from membership as you do.
One of those benefits is our membership directory, which as I announced at conference is moving online. Hopefully by the time you read this, it is up and running. This searchable online directory will replace the printed version. We’ll update it twice a month to keep it current.
Much of the content in the current printed directory, other than member and supporter information is already on the website in members area and where appropriate on the main website.
We also are working on the continuing issue of filming on federal public lands.
We hosted a panel on the subject at conference and used that discussion to move the federal agencies to recognize the importance of this issue to our members. President Lisa Ballard created an ad hoc committee to monitor and engage on this issue. Mark Freeman will chair that committee and he and I will continue to use the website to keep our members informed on actions on this issue.
Earlier this year, the American Sportfishing Association instituted a fee for media credentials for ICAST. Responding to some concerns raised by our members I worked with the association and they agreed to waive the fee for all OWAA members in good standing.
Even with these efforts, we are always looking at ways to improve. The membership will receive a survey from the Member Services Committee, chaired by Colleen Miniuck-Sperry, asking how we can improve conference. Your response will help shape future conferences.
The fact that OWAA’s reputation and general “buzz” has improved this past year is a direct result of the terrific effort the headquarters team puts into the organization. Jessica Seitz and Kelsey Dayton are essential parts of a small team managing a demanding workload. They are often the first contact for members and supporters and it is their efforts that keep the members and supporters happy. They both are constantly working to improve communications and service delivery for both members and supporters.
In addition to the headquarters team we have seen some exceptional volunteer efforts from the board. Many of the committees toiled quietly in the background discharging their duties and helping the organization. You’ll see the fruits of these labors as OWAA heads into what I’m confident will be another great year. ♦
— OWAA Executive Director Tom Sadler, email@example.com