BeTheChair - 12/29/10

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“There is a force in the universe that makes things happen and all you need to do is get in touch with it. Stop thinking, just let things happen, and BE THE BALL”. Chevy Chase, Caddyshack.

I can’t believe that it was almost four years ago that I became the President of the ISA Denver Section, time sure does fly and a lot has happened. When I took over as the Section President, I had been active on the ISA Certified Automation Professional ® (CAP ®) Exam Writing and Exam Assembly Committees but had served at no other capacity at Section, District, or Society level.

A year or so later, in October of 2008, I was approached by Steve Pflantz (2007-2008 Vice President, ISA District 8) and Keith Thomas (2007-2008 Vice President-Elect, ISA District 8) and asked if I would accept a nomination to be the 2009-2010 Vice-President-Elect for District 8. I accepted the nomination and was subsequently elected to be the Vice President-Elect for District 8, where I began working closely with Keith Thomas (2009-2010 Vice President, ISA District 8). I’ve learned a lot from Keith over these last two years and I’m looking forward to our continued work together, as Keith has been elected the Nominator and Treasurer for District 8.

In a few short days, along with taking over the Vice Presidency of District 8 from Keith Thomas, I'll be taking the baton from Kevin Dignam (2010 ISA District Board Chair - Ireland Section, DVP ISA District 12). Kevin, like Mario Cash (2009 ISA District Board Chair – Rochester Section, DVP ISA District 5 ) the year before, was tasked with Chairing the District Board through some very lean and trying economic times. Revenue had begun tapering off late in 2008, continued through 2009, and has somewhat leveled off as we enter 2011. Some very difficult decisions had to be made throughout the Society which included budget and Staff cuts to minimize our ISA deficit.

The reduction in ISA Staff led to more duties and responsibilities being placed on the District Vice Presidents and their Elects. In an effort to help the overall ISA Budget, the 2009 Board of District Vice Presidents went further and voted to temporarily suspend the Society funding of District Leadership Conferences and the reimbursement of DVP travel to Sections for the 2010 Budget year. This was a great benefit to the Society, as the District Board was able to successfully cut almost 50% of their budget for the 2010 year. The 2010 District Annual reports are almost all in now from the DVPs and most all reflect that the Districts remained very active, with DVPs visiting Sections, and almost 100% of the Districts holding successful District Leadership Conferences.

Kevin Dignam, as Chair, was able to recognize strong leadership qualities and duly appointed some very capable District Vice Presidents to Chair the Budget and DLC
Committees of the District Board. The District Budget Committee was able to successfully Coach and steer the District budgeting process through and over some rough patches to bring the 2011 District Budget to final Executive Committee approval. The District Board DLC Committee was able to do some awesome things as well as they successfully worked with the DVPs and helped them in the planning of DLCs for the upcoming year at no or low cost to the Society.

The ISA District Board now has a Windows Live SkyDrive, where we will be able to collaborate on work product, share ideas, and create an invaluable repository of working documents that will facilitate our day-to-day operations. The standardization of forms and documents will help the DVPs’ productivity and also assist in the yearly transitioning of Vice Presidencies.

I’m looking forward to a successful 2011 and realize that my job has been made much easier due to Kevin Dignam’s fine leadership and mentoring qualities that I have witnessed throughout these last two years on the District Board. I have to thank Kevin for all that he did for me, District 12, the District Board, and for the Society as a whole. Thanks Kevin!! You’ve been an awesome Vice President, Chairman, and Friend.

I’m also looking forward to working closely with my complement on the Department side, Ian Verhappen (2011 Chairman, ISA Department Board & 2010-2011 VP of the Strategic Planning Department). Both Ian and I feel that open and transparent communication is necessary for the continued successes of not only the ISA Department Board and the ISA District Board, but of the entire Society. As evidenced by this blog and Ian’s blog (on this same website), we intend to offer open and frank access to the activities of both Boards throughout 2011.

To facilitate communication with and amongst the Members of the two Boards, we have also formed two LinkedIn groups:

‘ISA District Board’ for the ISA District Board and
‘ISADeptBoard’ for the ISA Department Board communications.

To further the accessibility of the ISA Department and District Boards, there are also two new Twitter feeds: @ISADeptBoard and @ISADistBoard respectively.

Ok Chevy,
While I do agree, to an extent, that there are forces in the universe that make things happen, I don’t feel that we can just stop thinking, and just let things happen. To assure success and minimize reactivity, I feel that we must Be Engaged, Be Proactive, and BeTheChair.

Thanks for reading and commenting,
Greg Lehmann, CAP
2010 DVP-Elect, ISA District 8