Minutes: Board of directors meeting

Related links: Minutes for the  June 17 board meeting and June 17 business meeting.

OWAA Board of Directors Meeting • June 12, 2009

Amway Grand Hotel • Grand Rapids, Michigan

Opening Procedures
President Phil Bloom called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.
Secretary John McCoy called the roll. Present were Phil Bloom, John Beath, Tony Dolle, Mike Walker, John McCoy, Paula Del Guidice, Bill Graham, Ann Hirsch, Wayne Van zwoll, Jim Foster, Mark Freeman, Jim Smith, Pat Stockdill, Lisa Densmore, Bill Hilts Jr., Mark Taylor and Bill Powell. Kris Thoemke participated via telephone hookup.
Moved Beath/Foster to approve the minutes from OWAA’s winter Board of Directors meeting. Motion carries.
President’s Report
President Bloom said most of the previous year’s achievements would be revealed within the committees’ reports. He credited the OWAA headquarters staff, the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors and committee members for any successes. He singled out for special recognition members of the Website Improvement Committee and the Development Committee.
Executive Director’s Report
Executive Director Kevin Rhoades reported that the OWAA Headquarters building in Missoula, Mont., had been put up for sale. He said the property had been listed for $430,000, and that four parties had viewed it. He said the listing realtor expected interest in the property to increase as the summer progressed.
Rhoades reported that OWAA had applied for five grants. One had been received, two had been turned down, and two were pending.
Rhoades told Board members that attendance at the Annual Conference was hovering near the 350 mark, down from 400 in 2008.
Rhoades also reported that the OWAA-produced Freelancer’s Guide to Business Practices should be released late in the summer.
Standing Committee Reports
Development — The Board discussed a Development Committee recommendation to examine the possibility of having Executive Director Rhoades attend a grant-writing seminar or grant-writing program. Rhoades acknowledged he could use some training.
Moved Foster/Taylor to approve Rhoades’ participation in a grant-writing seminar. Mike Walker suggested asking Gail Wright, who has extensive experience, to help with grant writing. The sense of the Board was to have Rhoades pursue educational opportunities without a Board directive. Motion withdrawn.
Finance — Treasurer Kris Thoemke reported that a budget shortfall appeared likely for OWAA in 2009. He echoed Rhoades’ sentiment that the budget’s uncertain status could be traced to the national economic situation. Thoemke asked Board members for ideas on how to keep the budget solvent.
Taylor voiced concern about falling individual membership numbers, and said membership needs to be a top priority for the organization.
Foster said there is a perception that OWAA had not taken actions to rectify past mistakes, and urged the organization move toward that.
Graham pointed out that the organization lacks younger members; Stockdill pointed out a trend away from younger members in organizations in general.
Densmore pointed out that many people are joining regional organizations instead of national organizations. She urged OWAA to pick conference locations that would tap into regional associations’ members and resources.
The discussion expanded to include OWAA’s perception as a hook-and-bullet organization. Thoemke pointed out that the issues the Board was wrestling with should be addressed through proper strategic planning. The discussion ended with no call for action.
Ad Hoc Committees
Conference Template — Actions were deferred until after a meeting of the Conference Template Committee, which was to be held immediately after the Board meeting ended.
President Bloom called for a 20-minute break. The meeting reconvened at 10:40 a.m.
Contest Review — McCoy gave an overview of a proposal, requested by the Board at the winter meeting, to revamp and streamline the Excellence in Craft Awards competition.
McCoy outlined a template designed to rearrange most contests into media-based categories instead of theme-based, and to reduce the number of contest categories by approximately one-third.
Moved Del Guidice/Freeman to adopt the proposal.
Discussion on the proposal’s details ensued. The consensus of the Board was to tweak some of the contest-category definitions. The motion was called to question, with the understanding that categories be tweaked and voted on at the Board’s end-of-conference meeting. Motion carries unanimously.
Hirsch suggested that OWAA promote its Youth Writing Contest to get more young people involved in outdoors writing. Stockdill suggested that members sponsor local writing contests that could be published in newspapers’ outdoors sections.
New Business
Approval of New Endowment Trustee – Thoemke reported he had not yet had the chance to touch base with potential trustee candidates. He asked the Board to suggest members who might possess the necessary financial acumen. Bloom said the Board would put out feelers and make a decision by the Board’s end-of-conference meeting.
Supreme Court Case — Bloom gave a summary of a request from the Professional Outdoor Media Association and the U.S. Shooting Sports Foundation to participate in an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” action in U.S. v. Stevens, a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court that could potentially affect outdoor writers’ ability to report on hunting. Bill Powell outlined the majority and dissenting opinions of the appellate court decisions, and weighed the chance that a court might rule hunting and fishing videos fall within the same legal realm. Powell said jumping into the case had more risks and costs than OWAA should assume without a careful analysis. The Board deferred action until a later date.
Outstanding Board Member — The Board voted via secret ballot for the annual Outstanding Board Member award.
Third Vice President — The board then heard from Jim Foster, Dan Nelson and Mark Taylor, candidates for Third Vice President. Moved Dolle/Hilts to move into executive session to discuss the candidates. Motion passes. After discussion, the Board cast secret ballots. Moved Dolle/Smith to come out of executive session. Motion carries.
Mark Taylor was then announced as OWAA’s new Third Vice President.
Good of the Order
Bloom invited board members to come to the president’s reception.
Bloom commended staff on the program booklet for the 2009 Annual Conference, with emphasis on the sale of advertisements to defray printing costs.
Bloom announced that with Taylor’s election as Third Vice President, the replacement Board member would be Jason McGarvey.
Moved Walker/Beath to write a letter endorsing the naming of a mountain in Arizona after the late Bob Hirsch. Motion carries.
Moved Hilts/Freeman to adjourn. Motion carries. The meeting adjourned at 12:17 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
John McCoy
OWAA Secretary ◊

Related links: Minutes for the  June 17 board meeting and June 17 business meeting.


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