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ACE Update – September 2016

  • President: Looking ahead to management transitions
  • Phoenix + Ag Media Summit = ACE 2018 Annual Conference
  • Consider state rep role as a leadership opportunity
  • New finance committee looking for more members
  • Join and engage in a learning community
  • Retiree John Wozniak: You can help flood victims, too

President: Looking ahead to management transitions

I’ve said and written this before and you’ll see it in every column I write as president: No other agricultural communication association has the depth and breadth of ACE. I’m proud to be a member.

ACE executive director Holly Young let the officers know during the summer meeting she may retire in June 2018. I am happy for her, but this means we as an association are at the crossroads of a landscape-changing decision. Do we continue in an executive director model, contract with an association management company, or are there other management strategies we should consider?        

I’ve asked — and they have graciously agreed — former ACE presidents Frankie Gould and Robert Casler and current membership director Beth Forbes to participate in an information-gathering committee. Generally speaking, they are charged with investigating and gathering information about appropriate management options that might best serve the long-term viability, efficiency and health of this great association and its mission to serve members.

Having the ad hoc committee be the hunter-gatherers of information frees time for the board to concentrate on meeting their ACE goals and responsibilities and still make a timely decision. The committee will provide their report to me by the end of December. Board members will then receive the information, with a timeline that calls for a decision from the board in March. As background, ACE reverted to an executive director model a few years ago when the ACE contract with the management association Third Eye ended.

The process is exciting but a little unnerving because the model by which ACE will be managed in the future is unknown. The process is also enlightening; information needed to make the decision will involve gathering details about the organization that may have been taken for granted, forgotten, or assumed. Weaknesses and strengths will emerge. This is a great opportunity to transform weaknesses into strengths.

Your board is meeting the first week of October in New Orleans at the site of the 2017 conference – the Hotel Monteleone. Determining how the board will select the course for ACE will be discussed along with development of a long-needed social media strategy. The agenda is being updated as the meeting nears so if you have an item you would like brought before the board, please email me at slmiller@uwyo.edu.

– Steve Miller, ACE President

Phoenix + Ag Media Summit = ACE 2018 Annual Conference

ACE is heading for the Valley of the Sun. Known for its golf courses, botanical gardens, great food and proximity to lots of natural beauty, Phoenix, Arizona, will be home to the 2018 Annual Conference.

ACE is joining forces with the Ag Media Summit, which includes members from the American Agricultural Editors Association, the Livestock Publications Council and the ABM Agri Media Council. Dates are still tentative, but likely to be July 22-25 or 26, with optional tours on the 21st. Four property options are being considered.

Want to help plan the meeting? Members of ACE’s professional development team will be working on the programming, so check with Professional Development Director Beth Raney to see if you can join her team.

We will also need volunteers to help plan activities and tours. Let Suzanne Steel know if you are interested in helping. There will be daily ACE-only events so that our members can still connect with their professional family. See agmediasummit.com to get a feel for our partner’s professional development opportunities.

- Suzanne Steel, ACE Vice-president

Consider State Rep Role as a Leadership Opportunity

ACE is looking for a few good leaders to serve their colleagues at the state level. Being an ACE state representative offers an excellent opportunity to enhance your leadership skills and provide feedback to the organization’s board of directors.

You do not have to be a long-time ACE member to serve as a state rep. We have information on the ACE website to help get you started. The state representative is the primary local contact for ACE members. You are the one who welcomes new members to our organization and provides state members with a local contact for ACE.

You also have flexibility as a state rep. There are no rules. You get to determine what works best for you and your local ACE members. Some states meet regularly to discuss upcoming events and deadlines; some meet just once or twice a year informally to discuss communications research or issues in their state; and some are even less formal, with the state rep primarily acting as a local connection between ACE members and organizational leadership.

We have several states that are in need of a state representative.  Here’s a list of states that do not currently have a state rep:

Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

If you have questions or are interested in serving as a state rep, please contact Beth Forbes. Thanks to all the state reps who serve in this vital role for ACE! If you are unaware of your state’s current rep, just check out the state rep directory.

- Beth Forbes, ACE Membership Director

New Finance Committee Looking for More Members

There are so many ways to get involved with ACE and while many communicators avoid numbers, the organization could use a few more of you to help us develop financial guidelines.

Maybe you can’t balance your checkbook, but are you a great bargain shopper?  So you don’t do math, but you have a knack for strategy? Again, you don’t have to be a number cruncher to serve on the ACE finance committee – just someone who is willing to contribute to the financial health of our organization.

Serving on the ACE finance committee is not a long-term commitment. Committee members rotate off, so you can serve as long as you feel that you are able.

If you’re interested – or want to nominate someone  – please contact Becky Koch by Oct. 1.  Thank you!

- Becky Koch, ACE Treasurer

Join and Engage in a Learning Community

This year’s Learning Community Leaders are in place and hard at work.

Feedback from members indicated we had too many Learning Communities and there was overlap between some of them; thus fewer was better. Therefore, consolidation has been in the works. So far, the Academic Programs and Research Learning communities have merged together, and Distance Education and Instructional Design has merged with IT. As a result, there are currently 10 Learning Communities and several more are considering mergers. You can find the list and join a Learning Community at the ACE website.

Your Learning Community Leaders are currently reviewing the C&A awards class lists and descriptions to make any recommendations for changes, including proposed additions and eliminations. Please contact your Learning Community chair with any recommendations.

You are likely aware by now that our Vice-President Elect, Elizabeth Gregory North, is leading a team of volunteers to strategically update the ACE website with a focus on relevant content and usability.

As part of this process, we will be developing an organizational strategy for social media that will include the Learning Communities, so each Community does not need to maintain their own sites and members can find all the information in one place. So stay tuned!

A reminder: you can find a listing of upcoming professional development opportunities on the ACE home page and an archived list of past offerings. I just partnered with eXtension for an hour long webinar titled Hope is Not a Strategy,  for your viewing enjoyment!

It is a case study of the state budget challenge our college faced this past year and our engagement and communication strategy. Please consider doing a professional development webinar for your Learning Community.

- Mary Wirth, ACE Learning Communities Director

Retiree John Wozniak: You can help flood victims, too

I'm reminded of the yearly school essay "What I did on my summer vacation.” In school, I always tried to think of the most exciting bits of summer to write about. My plan this summer was to be on the motorcycle in Colorado, Montana and Idaho.
Change of plans - I decided that the recovery from a 1000-year flood event was a more worthwhile use of my time. If you haven't heard, Baton Rouge flooded after 15 to 25 inches of rain dumped on us in a 3-day period. We flooded like never before.

The number of homes affected rapidly went from 10,000 to 20,000 to 40,000 to 50,000 and was still climbing when I stopped looking at the news.
Streets were flooded everywhere. The interstates were shut down for 5-7 days.Volunteers formed a Cajun Navy and assisted National Guard, first-responders and neighbors in the evacuation of almost 100,000 people. The Red Cross, churches, Salvation Army and groups mobilized to feed, shelter and clothe the masses.
I joined the ranks of a city of volunteers who gave shelter, shared food and drink, transported material, washed untold loads of clothes and gave a shoulder to cry on. We are in the process of removing all contents from the affected houses, ripping out the walls, insulation, carpet and floors. It stinks. Mold is everywhere. No one complains.

Everyone volunteers. Everyone is either affected or feels guilty because they were spared. I could not do enough, fast enough. I drove 500 miles with a jeep full of tools in a week, yet wasn’t more than six miles from my house. I have ripped up carpeting, wood flooring, trim, sheet rock, cabinets, sinks, toilets, and lifetimes of destroyed possessions. An inch, a foot or 10 feet of water affects all the same way. It's devastating.
We have been forgotten by the national media that refused last month to leave town. We are resilient, we are strong, we will get through this.
This is not what I planned to do on my first summer of retirement, yet I would be nowhere else right now.

- John Wozniak, retired from the LSU Ag Center

You can help as well. The Louisiana 4-H Youth Program is collecting school supplies to distribute to parishes that were affected by the floods. You have until Oct. 1 to donate by shipping school supplies to:

LSU AgCenter Warehouse
ATTN: Louisiana 4-H School Supply Drive
4161 Gourrier Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Newsletter editor: Beth Forbes. Send submissions, upcoming webinars and ideas to forbes@purdue.edu. Contributors to this issue: Steve Miller, Suzanne Steel, Becky Koch, Mary Wirth, and Janet Rodekohr.

Copyright © 2016 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences. All rights reserved.

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