I’m sure you all have heard this over and over, but we are in unprecedented times… globally. I think we have all lived through challenges and difficulties throughout our lives, but never have we dealt with such a global pandemic of this magnitude. I hope and pray this finds you safe and well, and maybe even able to get out and about a bit by the time you read this. As I write, most of the U.S. is under stay at home orders. That is both good and bad for me as I’ve been able to catch up on some office work that has piled up over the last few years, but also am getting further behind in other areas, especially field work. I know many of you are in the same boat, especially those that work for federal, state and local governments.
Rest assured that SRM leadership is not taking this lightly. EVP Peterson and our staff are used to working from home for the most part since our shift to a “virtual” office. Luckily this shift several years ago, unbeknownst to us at the time, prepared us for a time such as we are experiencing now, and the staff has not missed a beat, other than the effects on our face-to-face efforts on the hill. This could and probably will affect our summer Board Meeting and DC fly-in in some way, but we are also thinking about the potential impacts to our Winter Annual Meeting process as well. Not jumping the gun yet but looking at contingency plans should this pandemic last that long or show up again next winter.
This might be a good time to remind you that SRM Sections and Committees have full utilization of our Uber meeting platform for web-based meetings. You can simply conduct your meeting as a conference call or a full level web meeting including screen sharing. Take advantage of this resource for SRM related business. Contact Vicky Trujillo if you would like to schedule a virtual meeting.
As you heard during the Business Meeting portion of the 2020 Annual Meeting in Denver, thanks to some good investments, prudent spending by past Boards, good overall fiduciary responsibility and foresight by many of our members involved in the Endowment fund, SRM has the ability to weather the storm for a period of time with good reserves in place. What we are experiencing globally right now is precisely the reason we needed to have reserves to pull us through lean times. We always know they are coming, maybe not for the reasons we see today, but nevertheless we are prepared. The next few months will tell more of the story about how long this may last and what overall affect it may have on SRM. The Board and Officers will continue to monitor and adjust accordingly.
In the meantime, our responsibility to the Society has not diminished and your Board and Officers are active and at work, after a short break from the Annual Meeting. We are working through Committee requests and had discussions at our most recent meeting on the Board and Officer nominations process, SRM Program Accreditation Committee findings (University of Wyoming) and Certification Ethics Review. Additionally, per Board vote, we are working on establishing a Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Thank you to all the Committee Chairs, Co-Chairs and members for your diligent work and communication to the Board through your Committee reports.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t publicly thank all the individuals that worked tireless hours before, during and after the Denver meeting. Meeting Co-Chairs Chuck Butterfield and Julie Elliot and their team did an outstanding job of not only setting the bar higher for future meetings but challenging the status quo on how we conduct our meetings. From the Range Practicum, Ignite Sessions and Campfire Conversations, things might have seemed a little different at the Denver meeting. I’ve heard mostly positive comments from some of the 1391+ attendees at the meeting. Time will tell if some or all the changes “stick” but kudos to Chuck, Julie and crew for a job well done and thinking outside of the box! We grow from getting outside our comfort zones.
Charles R Hart, PhD, SRM President – 2020