President Message – December 2015
December 14, 2015
2015 is almost over and what a year it has been. At this time last year, I had absolutely no inkling that I would become President of the FBA during very troubled times. I think those times are behind us and hopefully the FBA is stronger going into 2016 as a result of them. I have been President for just over three months but I guess it only seems like forever. When I took over, I had four immediate goals: a functional Board, getting our finances under control, transparency in everything the Board does, and getting the new web site up and running. I think we have an excellent Board that is more concerned with the interests of the FBA than their own interests. The bank account has gone from $748.00 to around $18,000. In large part due to the efforts of our treasurer, Robin Yelverton. All FBA business (the good, the bad, and the ugly) is out in the open and member input is not only solicited but valued. The web site is not where I would like it to be but I was overly optimistic about how quickly it could be finished. The Beta site is up and you are encouraged not only to explore it but to send any comments, good or bad, to our IT folks. Just as an aside for the non-geeks in the group, a Beta site is used to find bugs and problems that arise when the site is actually put into use and people that will actually be using it often find problems the designers missed because they were too close to the site.
I hope that 2016 will be a year to consolidate our gains and make some much needed improvements to our infrastructure. The Board is currently working to find a way to restore sending a newspaper to members. At the moment, we have some options so early next year, I’ll probably send out a survey asking for your input as to the solution that satisfies most of the membership at a price we can afford. The web site will be up and running well. It will also be time for the dread by-laws review and changes. That is a long, complicated and often misunderstood process. I’ll try to explain in in a “Ramblings” early next year.
This is your organization. It doesn’t run by itself and the Board can’t do it all. There are several opportunities to excel here. You can help the organization and probably have a lot of fun doing it.
1. Fun Cook.
We need a co-chair for the Fun Cook to work with Mike Deming.
We need lots of volunteers to manage smaller bits of the fun cook such as Kids Q, anything butt, desert contest, etc.)
2. Cook Team Committee Chair.
We have a cook team committee with four excellent members to advise the Board on things related to cook teams. However, none of the four want to be the Chair. Duties would involve getting opinions on actions the Board is considering and then communicating a committee position to the Board. The committee work is done entirely by email. Reporting to the Board can be done by calling in to the Board meetings or sending an email to me a few days prior to the meeting.
3. IT Support Staff.
Our current IT chair, Gary Washam, is doing an incredible job with the new web site. However, if he were to get run over by a sleigh pulled by reindeer or abducted by aliens, we would have to start over with our corporate knowledge.
We need one or two more IT types to help with the web page. It would be nice if they are proficient in PHP coding, C+ and web server maintenance if we hope to become less dependent on outside paid consultants.
We also need help documenting all the pieces and operating parts of our website, server and Scorecard software to ensure we are stable for the long haul and can be supported reliably by future IT staff volunteers.
Don Fisher will be sending out a survey to all of our organizers in an attempt to find ways to better serve them. If you receive one of these, please fill it out quickly and honestly. Don will remove your names from the remarks before he sends them on.
The first quarter of the year will be a chance to expand BBQ horizons for each of us. We are incredibly fortunate to have a number of unique events in our area. Even if you don’t participate, I would urge you to attend to meet new people and get new ideas.
1. Apopka – This is an extremely well run event that will host about 125 teams this year. Everyone should experience a contest of this magnitude at least once.
2. Sonny’s Invitational will host teams from all over the country. Come and meet folks from other sanctioning bodies and see how they do things.
3. The National BBQ Association will hold their conference in Jacksonville this year. Take a look at their website and see all that they have to offer. Meet the big names in BBQ and see the latest in equipment. If you plan to go, consider joining and paying the member’s registration fee. If you can’t go for the entire event, you can register for a day.
Don Fisher has acquired a hot air balloon with the FBA logo on it to advertise his events. You should see the FBA Logo on the Pig’s hat. What an incredible thing. I have to admit a serious bias here – in another life, I piloted commercial hot air balloons.
I’d like to wish all of you a very, very happy holiday season, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.
Smoke well my friends,