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Toronto Impressions: ASAE into the 21st Century.

By every measure, the Toronto CSAE/ASAE meeting was outstanding. The Toronto Sheraton's facilities and empowered staff capped an exceptional planning effort by CSAE hosts and ASAE staff. The result was an enjoyable and - with 1,130 technical papers and poster sessions - professionally enriching experience. Fortunately, the record 1,831 members, preprofessionals and guests from 41 countries will magnify the long-term benefits of this event. In recent years, the priority focus of the entire Society has been on meeting member needs. It is clear from member feedback and the attendance trends shown in the charts at right that this focus is resulting in dividends.

Major meeting achievements

* Strong continuing professional development (CPD) program: 21 topics.

* Full three-day preprofessional concurrent program.

* Creation of a new technical division: Biological Engineering.

* Approval to activate a $250,000 electronic publication project.

* New, expanded business meeting with Council achievement reports.

* Launch of a Foundation initiative for ASAE's centennial in 2007.

* Fantastic member networking and collaboration.

One of the more satisfying observations of this year's meeting was the continuing maturation and success of the Society's new flatter administrative structure with its four Councils: Meetings, Membership Development, Publications and Standards. Everyone is learning new processes - from budgeting to ways to effectively communicate with other units on crosscutting issues. But the critical observation is that the new structure is effective! We are achieving the benefits of quicker decisions and greater flexibility to adapt in a rapidly changing world. The goal is to continue to more effectively engage more members - ideally, all members - in growing this profession.

Toward a new century

At the awards banquet, I was asked to give my outlook on the Society's coming year. We will continue to make meeting member needs our first priority. In that context, I see opportunities for major accomplishments in at least three areas.

* Member service. We must continue sound business principles for headquarters' operations, but it's the volunteer member participation that makes us a professional Society. We must appreciate, celebrate and nurture our committed membership.

* Growth. In the coming year, we will rightly celebrate agricultural engineering's 20th century achievements. But we must each be more proactive at inviting new members and nurturing new opportunities on an ongoing basis. Continued growth is vital.

* E-access. This winter, you will see new online services, the evolution of electronic publications and, hopefully, more effective and efficient electronic meetings mechanisms for committees and small groups.

I urge you to put the 2000 annual meeting, our first of the new century, on your calendar. It will take place July 9-12 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and have the theme, Engineering Solutions for a New Century. I'm optimistic about what biological engineers will achieve in the 21st century, and don't doubt that as a result of their developments some of us will still be knocking around in 2100. But don't bank on it. You may not get another chance to attend our Society's first meeting of a new century!

Finally, thank you for the privilege to serve as your president this year. I pledge to do my best to increase the visibility of and respect for our profession. Working together, we will build on recent Society progress and growth to make our profession's 21st century a spectacular one. I particularly urge you to share your ideas or concerns with me, either by e-mail huggins@asae.org (recommended mode) or phone 765-494-5349.
COPYRIGHT 1999 American Society of Agricultural Engineers
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Author:Huggins, Larry F.
Publication:Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:562
Previous Article:business briefs.
Next Article:Highlights of the 1999 Annual International Meeting.
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