OWAA board of directors meeting

OWAA Board of Directors Meeting
January 23, 2010
Las Vegas

President John Beath called the meeting to order at 8:20 a.m.
Secretary John McCoy called the roll. Present were Beath, First Vice President Tony Dolle, Second Vice President Mike Walker, Third Vice President Mark Taylor, Treasurer Kris Thoemke, McCoy, Jim Foster, Mark Freeman, Jim Smith, Pat Stockdill, Lisa Densmore, Bill Hilts Jr., Mary Nickum, Katie McKalip, Matt Miller, Ty Stockton, Legal Counsel Bill Powell, Executive Director Kevin Rhoades, and Conference Planner Robin Giner.
Moved Dolle/Nickum to dispense with reading of the minutes of the June 17, 2009, Board of Directors meeting. Motion carries.
Beath asked Board members to give brief updates on their lives of the past few months. The Board spent several minutes doing that.
Moved McCoy/Dolle to approve all actions of the Executive Committee and the Board since the June 17, 2009, meeting. Motion carries.
Beath gave his biannual President’s Report. He reported that OWAA had not been able to obtain substantial foundation- or corporate-based grants despite efforts to do so. Beath expressed hope that OWAA might eventually obtain grants for operating capital after the economy improves.
Rhoades gave the Executive Director’s Report. He challenged the Board to find ways to change OWAA’s operating template in order to boost membership.
Beath read off the list of committee reports the Executive Committee had proposed for the meeting’s consent agenda. Moved Thoemke/Dolle to approve placement of all Executive Committee-recommended reports onto the consent agenda. Motion carries.
Conference Program — Walker gave the conference program chairman’s report. He reported that the 2010 program is coming along nicely, with plenty of variety and technology-oriented seminars. He reported that the conference so far lacks a keynote speaker and might possibly take place without one.
Contests — Densmore reported that the current co-chair arrangement for the Contests Committee is better because it spreads the work around.
Craft Improvement — Stockdill reported a shortage of craft improvement articles for Outdoors Unlimited. Beath passed along an Executive Committee recommendation that OU Editor Ashley Schroeder ask specifically for numbers and types of articles. Densmore suggested that Schroeder make specific request/assignments and to follow up the requests. McKalip suggested that Craft Improvement Committee members help direct Schroeder toward sources who might provide content.
Officer Nominating — Hilts gave an update on numbers, but not specific names, of people being considered for officer nominations. Beath reported on an Executive Committee recommendation to eliminate the office of third vice president; he explained that the duties of the office are already being taken care of by other means, and he suggested that eliminating one year from vice-presidential service might help attract more candidates. Powell outlined the potential procedure for the process if the Board chose to vote on a bylaws change. Moved McCoy/Hilts to ask Powell to draft a proposal to eliminate the office of Third Vice President. Motion carries.
Board Nominating — Beath reported that the slate of potential board candidates had been reduced to two by recent withdrawals. The bylaws require seven. Board members had made some contacts and reported that three additional candidates had made solid commitments to run, and that another was probable.
Sections — Taylor reported a downturn in activity in the Newspaper Section, steady work in the Photo and TV/Video Sections, and growing interest in the Magazine Section. He also reported the absence of a chair for the Radio/Audio Section. Stockton agreed to chair the Radio/Audio Section.
Taylor proposed a Digital Media Section for the growing number of bloggers and other new media participants. Beath said he had already volunteered to head the section after his term as president ended. Several variations on the idea were discussed. Moved Thoemke/Foster to create a Digital Media Section. Motion carries unanimously.
Beath called for a break at 10:02 a.m.
Beath called the meeting back to order at 10:36 a.m.
Finance — After reprising the charge for the Finance Committee, Thoemke presented the Board with graphs that showed steady downward trends in member registration, numbers of individual members and supporting groups, and a concomitant drop in operating income.
Thoemke expressed confidence that OWAA could remedy the situation, but would need to adopt a new business model in order to do so. He said without immediate action to reverse the trends, OWAA could have its financial core shaken. The Board took several minutes to read the handouts Thoemke had prepared. Thoemke then made a presentation that included cost-saving recommendations made by Finance Committee members. He asked the Board to approve the 2010 Budget as developed by the committee. A lengthy series of proposals and counterproposals ensued. Moved Taylor/Dolle to adopt the 2010 budget as proposed. Motion carries.
Strategic Planning — Thoemke pointed out that OWAA still does not have a formal strategic plan. He said the goals set forth in a strategic plan would help focus the Board on innovative ideas and establish a format for acting on them. Beath suggested that the Executive Committee be charged with developing a simplified strategic plan. Moved Foster/Miller to have the Executive Committee come up with strategic plan by the first June Board of Directors meeting. Motion carries.
Marketing — Beath described a discussion by the Executive Committee to have OWAA members involved in radio and television produce public service announcements promoting OWAA. The PSAs would be offered to outdoors-related networks for inclusion in programming. Lisa Densmore agreed to coordinate the effort.
Beath declared a lunch break at 12:12 p.m.
Beath reconvened the meeting at 1:20 p.m.
Member Recruitment — Taylor expressed concern that OWAA still offers the same basic product it began offering to members in 1938; he reported that he had tasked other members to ask former members what they had liked and disliked about the organization. Likes had included conferences, the newsletter and the directory. Dislikes included the cost of membership and unexciting conference locations. Taylor challenged the Board to find ways to make OWAA more attractive to potential members. He suggested providing premiums to new members, and broached the possibility of eliminating OWAA’s initiation fee. Rhoades suggested the possibility of lowering OWAA’s annual dues to less than $100 a year.
Moved Foster/Freeman to eliminate OWAA’s initiation fee. Motion carries unanimously.
Beath charged Taylor with putting together a further package of options for the Board to consider at its June meetings.
Beath asked Tony Dolle and Mary Nickum to revamp the wording for membership criteria to make them more understandable.
Moved Freeman/Taylor to eliminate OWAA’s $25 re-initiation fee for former members whose membership had lapsed. Motion carries unanimously.
Goldenrod Writing Workshop — Stockdill encouraged Board members to drum up interest in the Goldenrod Writing Workshop scheduled for August.
Beath called for a break at 3:21 p.m.
Beath called the meeting back to order at 3:46 p.m.
Excellence in Craft Contest Rules — Nickum went over recommendations the committee had formulated for Excellence in Craft Contest rules. Board members worked through the categories and suggested several adjustments.
Board members then considered mechanisms for funding contest prizes. The consensus of the Board was to set supporter levels at $500 and $1,000. Full sponsorship of a category would be set at a level determined by the amount of prize money awarded for the category. The Board tabled further action pending additional committee work.
Endowment Trust — Thoemke reported that OWAA’s investments have recovered some from the decline they suffered during last year’s economic downturn. He also gave reports on the Endowment Fund, the Bodie McDowell Scholarship Fund, and the Madson Fellowship Fund.
OWAA Headquarters Building — Rhoades reported a lack of movement toward sale of the OWAA condominium building. He reported that the two other owners within the building are holding off on making an offer as they vie for control of the entire condo unit.
Beath said Rhoades would put a “For Sale” sign on the building in the hope that it would attract prospective buyers and force the co-tenants’ hand.
President’s Reception Budget — Beath said he would pay for his own party in June and forgo the $1,200 provided within the OWAA budget. Moved Foster/Hilts to eliminate the line item from the budget.
2013 Site Selection Report — Giner reported that OWAA has received 13 proposals, including eight complete proposals. She said Birmingham, Ala., and McAllen, Texas, had offered $50,000 concession packages within their proposals. She said she would be setting up site visits and requesting additional information.
Outdoor Programming Awards — Beath reported that Dr. James Swan asked OWAA to be involved in a program that would honor producers of hunting, fishing and nature programming. The Board discussed the idea briefly but did not act.
OWAA Supporters — Walker asked to entertain a motion to restore the “member” label to supporters. A lengthy discussion ensued on the merits and demerits. Moved Foster/Walker to change the name back to “supporting members,” without returning to a vetting process for said members. Further discussion ensued. Motion withdrawn and replaced a motion by Foster/Thoemke as follows:
“The board requests that the issue of changing the name of ‘supporters’ back to ‘supporting members’ be studied by the executive director and legal counsel and recommendations be made back to the Board as soon as possible.” Motion carries unanimously.
Moved Thoemke/Walker to adjourn. Motion carries. Meeting adjourned at 4:47 p.m. ◊

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