Advocacy is imperative.Raising a collective voice on behalf of the association community protects the right to speak out. Chairman David N. Parker, CAE (1) (Computer-Aided Engineering) Software that analyzes designs which have been created in the computer or that have been created elsewhere and entered into the computer. , sees the need and benefit of speaking as one.
At one point in his career, ASAE ASAE American Society of Association Executives
ASAE American Society of Agricultural Engineers (Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food, and Biological Systems)
ASAE Alkali-Sulfite-Anthraquinone-Ethanol Chairman David N. Parker, CAE, was the president's scheduler. He has a system down - he even has lined notepads specially printed with column rules to help organize his lists - and the system is based on the credo "Seek achievement, not activity."
Acknowledging an ability, to be well-organized and decisive, Parker, president of The Aluminum Association, Inc., Washington, D.C., explained: "My training in government included working for a senator, then for a cabinet officer, and then for two presidents. That's when I learned to commit to get the job done regardless of how much time it took." Parker's career includes 9 years with the Edison Electric Institute The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of United States shareholder-owned electric power companies. Its members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. and 17 years in government in Washington, D.C., and in the field.
In this interview Parker shares his vision for ASAE and the association community.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: What difference do you think the just-passed Volunteer Protection Act will make to nonprofit organizations Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. and volunteers?
David N. Parker, CAE: Passage of the legislation is a real success for the association community because it is directed to, and impacts on almost exclusively, the nonprofit A corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive.
Nonprofits are also called not-for-profit corporations. Nonprofit corporations are created according to state law. community, and in so doing, acknowledges the importance of the work of nonprofit organizations. Equally important, we're hopeful this legislation will remove a barrier for individuals who were hesitant hes·i·tant
Inclined or tending to hesitate.
hesi·tant·ly adv. to be part of volunteer groups in the past because of the liability question.
While I appreciate the initiative that President Clinton, former President Bush, and General Colin Powell Noun 1. Colin Powell - United States general who was the first African American to serve as chief of staff; later served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush (born 1937)
Colin luther Powell, Powell took in launching the Presidents' Summit for America's Future in April, in terms of elevating the American interest in volunteerism vol·un·teer·ism
Use of or reliance on volunteers, especially to perform social or educational work in communities.
volunteerism , we have to be realistic: Volunteer participation is diminishing because people's lives are fuller and everyone has more choices - whether it's to make a living or pursue other interests. Nonetheless, the association community should be encouraging volunteerism as much as possible.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: And what impact will the Volunteer Protection Act have on ASAE's visibility on Capitol Capitol, seat of the U.S. Congress
Capitol, seat of the U.S. government at Washington, D.C. It is the city's dominating monument, built on an elevated site that was chosen by George Washington in consultation with Major Pierre L'Enfant. Hill?
Parker: One of my principal interests in getting involved in the leadership at ASAE was to be a strong advocate for ASAE to be better recognized and represented on Capitol Hill.
When people ask me what association executives do, I describe the job functions as falling into four categories: We represent, we communicate, we link and identify new resources, and we manage an operation. However, the perception of what we do is far less precise.
We now have adversaries in the public policy area who are defining us - when we really should be defining ourselves. We should be speaking out for ourselves, and we should be speaking out collectively. My hope is that with a growing interest on the part of ASAE's Board of Directors, and hopefully its membership, we will be able to advocate our public policy issues as well as the professional interests of the association community, on Capitol Hill much more clearly. We need to make the association community a force to be heard in the years ahead.
To achieve that goal, I cannot emphasize enough the need for ASAE and its members to speak out collectively with a clear, focused message. I think advocacy - the need to be involved-must occur in the American media and in state houses and city halls, not just in Washington. We need to distinguish ourselves from all the other people out on the playing field. We need more activities like the recent ASAE 16th Annual Legislative Summit and Associations Advance America Day, which were terrific successes. They involved people from all over the country to learn about the public policy process and participate in it. Of some 470 participants, 100 attendees from 27 states made 150 visits to members of Congress and congressional aides. In addition, 60 SALT (State Action Legislative Team) individuals were brought to Washington on scholarships to be involved in the Legislative Summit.
I applaud ASAE for these initiatives. ASAE's perception on Capitol Hill can be strengthened when individuals interface with their own members of Congress in Washington and in their home districts.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: How do you expect to be able to rally ASAE's diverse interests in a common effort?
Parker: There is no silver bullet No Silver Bullet - essence and accidents of software engineering is a well-known paper on software engineering written by Fred Brooks in 1986. Brooks argues that there will be no more technologies or practices that will serve as "silver bullets" and create a twofold . This is an ongoing process. It will require hard work. Basically it's going to be up to our communications program Software that manages the transmission of data between computers, typically via modem and the serial port. Such programs were very popular for connecting to BBSs before the Internet took off. at ASAE to illustrate those issues that are of importance, particularly the ones that have national implications - at the moment, for instance, not just volunteer legislation but also the lobby tax and music licensing. It's up to ASAE to bring these issues to the attention of the membership. We have to use our strength. If we can mobilize mo·bi·lize
1. To make mobile or capable of movement.
2. To restore the power of motion to a joint.
3. To release into the body, as glycogen from the liver. just 10 percent of ASAE's 23,500 members to become actively involved in communicating our positions to policy makers, we'll be heard. We'll have a very formidable advocacy base to represent our positions.
I sense that we're starting to wake up and recognize that by working collectively, we will find ourselves gaining greater respect.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: Do you think association executives recognize the strength of their position?
Parker: It's important for people to understand that the association community is in large part just one step away from public service. We represent special interests but act in the public interest. The president talks about the bridge to the 21st century. But what about the bridge between the private sector and the public sector? I want everyone to recognize that associations are the bridge between the two.
More and more government agency people are seeking information from associations regarding their positions on specific issues. And the association community needs to maintain absolute credibility, integrity, and unity in dealings with the government.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: Are associations doing a good job of providing information for the government and the public?
Parker: I can't speak for any other industry except for the aluminum industry. I believe we are doing the job our members expect us to. The proof is that the EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.
n. , Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, and White House frequently seek our input on various business issues affecting our members. We work hard to maintain that position of trust by working closely with them on both positive and negative issues. Over the last four years we've had three major public policy successes that have been very important to our industry because we worked in partnership with the government and not as an adversary adversary
traditional appellation of Satan [O.T.: Job 1:6; N.T.: I Peter 5:8]
See : Devil .
Let me cite just one example. When communism collapsed in Russia, the Russian ruble The ruble or rouble (Russian: рубль rublʹ, plural рубли́ rubli was worthless. To derive hard currency, the Russians literally started selling all their commodities - petroleum first and then aluminum - on the world market. After a time, the Europeans limited the amount of aluminum the Russians could send to Europe by imposing a quota quota
In international trade, a government-imposed limit on the quantity of goods and services that may be exported or imported over a specified period of time. Quotas are more effective than tariffs in restricting trade, since they limit the availability of goods rather . Huge quantities of aluminum started flowing into America. Our industry was threatened. We went to the White House to talk to the president. The president and his team organized the major aluminum-producing nations of the world to bring the Russians into the world economic system on an orderly basis. Eleven government agencies focused on the issue. Solutions and agreements for technical assistance resulted, and the market righted itself within months.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: What kinds of changes have you initiated at The Aluminum Association during the past year or two to keep pace with constant change?
Parker: We recognized early on that to be a viable organization, we had to purchase the hardware and software we would need to not only access the Internet but also create our own Intranet, which links all of our member companies. We've also produced a CD-ROM CD-ROM: see compact disc.
in full compact disc read-only memory
Type of computer storage medium that is read optically (e.g., by a laser). that goes a long way toward capitalizing on one of our biggest market growth opportunities - namely, to put more aluminum in automobiles. We distributed the CD-ROM to colleges and universities to include it in their metals curriculum. We want engineering and design students to know the benefits of aluminum automotive applications right from the start.
We mailed our CD-ROM, called "Drive Aluminum," to just about every automobile designer in the world. On the jacket of the CDROM See CD-ROM. we detail the advantages of using aluminum in automobile design; explain that the CD-ROM is interactive and can be used over and over; and, of course, mention that it's being provided courtesy of The Aluminum Association.
After seeing "Drive Aluminum," one of my members - who's also an ASAE member - sent me probably the most congratulatory con·grat·u·late
tr.v. con·grat·u·lat·ed, con·grat·u·lat·ing, con·grat·u·lates
To express joy or acknowledgment, as for the achievement or good fortune of (another). note I've ever received, saying this was the finest product that he has ever seen an association produce. We're very proud of this, and in fact we've demonstrated the CD-ROM to about 50 association executives from manufacturing associations. I'm excited about the product and happy to be showing other association executives a way in which they too might apply this technology to meeting members' needs.
ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT: In a recent Harvard Business Review Harvard Business Review is a general management magazine published since 1922 by Harvard Business School Publishing, owned by the Harvard Business School. A monthly research-based magazine written for business practitioners, it claims a high ranking business readership and article, the author said that "too much stability and rigidity rigidity /ri·gid·i·ty/ (ri-jid´i-te) inflexibility or stiffness.
clasp-knife rigidity are death to an organization." Do you see ASAE as an organization that is becoming more flexible, nimble nim·ble
adj. nim·bler, nim·blest
1. Quick, light, or agile in movement or action; deft: nimble fingers. See Synonyms at dexterous.
2. , and able to change?
Parker: I think ASAE as an association is generally responsive to its members. Staff and leadership listen and encourage full discussion of public policy issues. It's my impression that the use of such things as broadcast faxing, fax-on-demand, e-mail, and listservs has prompted a great deal more communication among ASAE and its members.
However, all the online activity does beg the question Beg the Question is a graphic novel by Bob Fingerman. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of protagonists Rob — a squeamish freelance cartoonist/pornographer — and Sylvia — a beauty salon manager with loftier aspirations — as well as a , how do you respond to all of it? It reminds me that we can't be all things to all people. And I think we've got to be reasonable in communicating with the membership as to what to expect. Member expectations shouldn't exceed what's deliverable.
Change is constant, and with it is opportunity. And I think that association executives are expert managers of change.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Chairman's Role in the Search Process
One of the most important responsibilities of David N. Parker's chairmanship is the appointment of a search committee that will organize the effort to identify a candidate to replace ASAE's current president.
Parker pointed out that there is no prescribed pre·scribe
v. pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing, pre·scribes
1. To set down as a rule or guide; enjoin. See Synonyms at dictate.
2. To order the use of (a medicine or other treatment). timetable as yet, other than that we know President R. William Taylor's planned retirement date is August 1998. A board-approved resolution describing various criteria for the process is in place. For instance, the resolution specifies that the search committee will be a diverse group representing all segments of ASAE membership and that no member of the search committee may be considered for the position.
Parker expects to appoint the search committee in the earlier part of his tenure as chief elected officer, so that the committee will have ample time to seek out the best possible candidates for consideration.
Parker guesses that the search process will take six or seven months. In Parker's words, "The process doesn't have to take forever, and it shouldn't. It's important that the process be orderly, open, comprehensive, and smooth, ending with a seamless transition."
RELATED ARTICLE: About The Aluminum Association
Staff size: 30
Budget: $23 million in FY 1996
Size of membership: 63 U.S. companies
Size of board: 19 board members who meet two times a year
Interesting trivia: What's the highest point in Washington, D.C.? Answer: a 100-ounce aluminum pyramid pyramid, structure
pyramid. The true pyramid exists only in Egypt, though the term has also been applied to similar structures in other countries. Egyptian pyramids are square in plan and their triangular sides, which directly face the points of the capping the top of the Washington Monument Washington Monument, obelisk-shaped tower, 555 ft 5 1-9 in. (169.3 m) high, located on a 106-acre (43-hectare) site at the west end of the Mall, Washington, D.C.; dedicated 1885. and functioning as a lightning rod lightning rod, a rod made of materials, especially metals, that are good conductors of electricity, which is mounted on top of a building or other structure and attached to the ground by a cable. .
RELATED ARTICLE: Management Maxims maxims n. a collection of legal truisms which are used as "rules of thumb" by both judges and lawyers. They are listed in the codified statutes of most states, and include:
"When the reason of a rule ceases, so should the rule itself"
* The association community needs to speak for itself and with one voice.
* Credibility and integrity have to underlie all that we do.
* Change provides opportunity.
Ann I. Mahoney, CAE, is editor of Association Management.