By Karen Aspelin, P.E., PTOE, Western District Secretary-Treasurer
On January 27, 2012, Western District Board members, committee chairs, section leaders, and guests met at the Hilton Garden Inn in Las Vegas for the 2012 Western District mid-year board meeting. President Alyssa Reynolds announced appointments of Joey Markuson as WesternITE Managing Editor, Amit Kothari as Technical Committee Chair, Roberta McLaughlin as Legislative Committee Chair, Lisa Martellaro-Palmer as WesternITE Advertising Manager, Chuck Huffine as Public Relations Committee Chair, and re-appointment of Patricia Camacho de Cano as Career Guidance Committee Chair. Alyssa pointed out that due to the vacancy in the position when Edgar Perez left the District, Monica Suter served as Past President from August to December 2011 and Ken Ackeret will serve as Past President from January 2012 until the Santa Barbara meeting.
Vice President Walter Okitsu provided an update on the Western District budget. The Anchorage meeting netted over $19,000 after repayment to the District of the $6,000 advance. The endowment fund received about $26,000 in donations in the fiscal year. Western-ITE’s advertising revenue was about $8,000 less than budgeted, which was not enough to cover expenses of the mailed newsletters. Dues revenue fell by about $9,000 because of a drop in membership. The District’s reserves fell to $70,000, which is not as low as had been projected at the annual board meeting in July 2011, but still well below the target reserves of $120,000. Walter reported that with the current trend we should be able to avoid dissipating our reserves without raising annual District dues to $40 as authorized at the last Board Meeting.
Walter reported that the WesternITE committee set an advertising revenue target for 2012 of $11,000, in comparison to last year’s revenue of $8,000. That amount would cover the cost of the three printed issues (two of which are mailed). The committee concluded that if more revenue is generated, then a third issue of WesternITE could be mailed next year.
The following slate of candidates was announced and accepted during the Past President’s report for the 2012 elections: President: Walter Okitsu, Vice President: Karen Aspelin, Secretary-Treasurer: Carlos Ortiz and Justin Link, International Director: Jenny Grote.
The District’s three International Directors, Dalene Whitlock, Michael Sanderson, and Monica Suter, provided summaries of their recent activities. Michael reported that he had been appointed to chair an International ITE committee on leadership development. ITE will be developing a leadership program of webinars and face-to-face meetings for a class of approximately 20 to 30 ITE members.
During her District Administrator’s report, Jenny Grote reported that she had received a request to reveal the number of votes that candidates had received in a past election. The group concluded that this information might be vital to a candidate’s decision whether or not to run again. In response, the District’s election policy will be revised so that election results can be released to candidates and/or Board members. Jenny submitted, and the Board approved, the bylaws of the University of Colorado-Denver ITE student chapter. The CSU Fullerton ITE student chapter sent four of its founding members to the meeting to request approval of their chapter and bylaws. The Board approved them, and Jenny noted that the student chapter set a new District record by getting the documents approved in only 15 days.
WesternITE Managing Editor Joey Markuson informed the group of her goals and visions for WesternITE, which were to provide information from the Board and committees to the membership, and to generate enough revenue in advertising to be self-sustaining. Joey is considering a “digest” format where short blurbs are sent out to members via email on a weekly or monthly basis.
WesternITE Advertising Manager Lisa Martellaro-Palmer reported that advertisers have been paying promptly when invoiced. The District has 48 vendors between the website and the printed version of WesternITE, and Lisa expects revenues of about $16,000 this year.
Technical Committee Chair Amit Kothari informed the Board that for the five student data collection project spots 11 applications were received from nine student chapters. Selected proposals were from Cal Poly Pomona, BYU, UC Berkeley, Oregon State, and the University of Washington.
Membership Chair Joe De La Garza reported that the District lost 19 percent of its total members in 2011, but many of those were students who did not pay dues to the District anyway.
Career Guidance Committee Chair Patty Camacho de Cano reported that the mentorship program currently has students on a waiting list for professional mentors. The committee is trying to track down informal mentorship programs in the District and merge them into one central program. The committee will be posting resumes and jobs available at the annual meeting, and electronically for those unable to attend. The committee is also considering conducting mock interviews for students at the Santa Barbara meeting.
Vendor Committee Chair Janna McKhann reported that the large IMSA meeting in 2013 will not be in conflict with our Western District annual meeting in Phoenix that year, and that IMSA and ITS America now have the dates of our 2014 meeting so as not to hold conflicting events.
Student and Faculty Initiatives Committee Chair Danielle Scharf announced that there will be a MiteY Race at the Santa Barbara meeting, but it will be on Saturday so it won’t conflict with the Kell competition. Danielle announced that BYU had won the District’s 2011 Student Traffic Bowl and had gone on to win the International Student Traffic Bowl. Oregon State University won the Best Student Chapter award and Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Long Beach won honorable mentions.
Student Endowment Fund Committee Chair Cathy Leong announced that the Student Endowment Fund has broken the $300,000 mark. Over $13,000 in donations were collected at the Anchorage meeting, including $5,000 from the Washington section and $2,000 from the student raffle. Several Endowment Fund fund-raisers will be held as part of the Santa Barbara meeting, including the MiteY Race that will be held the Saturday before the meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. and a Guitar Hero-style traffic counting game to be held on Sunday night of the annual meeting
Public Relations Committee Chair Chuck Huffine described his vision for the committee, noting that he wants to distribute our members’ news beyond the walls of ITE and build up the power and credibility of our organization and profession. Chuck is soliciting members for his new committee.
Traffic Bowl Committee Chair Jerry Hall gave a brief history of the District’s traffic bowl and asked the meeting attendees to contribute questions for the event.
Statements of interest for the 2016 annual meeting were received from the New Mexico Section (to host in Albuquerque) and the Utah Chapter (to host in either Salt Lake City or Park City). Alyssa will invite both groups to make a presentation to the Board at the Santa Barbara Board meeting.
Santa Barbara LAC General Chair Tom Mericle reported that they had received 100 abstracts to fill the three tracks of technical sessions. A partial fourth track will be held on Monday for parking pricing, safety audits, and civic engagement. Bill Fulton has agreed to speak at the Monday kick-off luncheon. Sunday’s activities will include a wine tasting tour during the day to the Santa Ynez Valley and a pub crawl on Sunday evening. The family night on Monday will be at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The banquet will have a swing band and requested attire will be “retro formal.” The Board approved Santa Barbara meeting registration fees of $395 for early ITE members, $50 for early student ITE members, $495 for late ITE members, $150 for late student ITE members, $495 for early non-members, and $595 for late non-members.
In Old Business, Walter reminded the group that the board can raise dues up to 10 percent each year without a vote by the membership. The dues this year went up to $24.20. With the help of the meeting surplus from Anchorage, the District should be able to keep a safe amount of reserves if we continue to raise dues 10 percent per year and break even on upcoming meetings. The Board voted to defer the membership vote to increase District dues to $40.
In New Business, the Board voted in support of a prequalification quiz, if needed, to narrow the field of participating student traffic bowls at the District annual meeting to nine.
The Board concluded its meeting on time.