Let me first take the opportunity to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. 2017 was an important year for NAATA in that we ushered out the “old” and ushered in the “new”. Our conference in Toronto was a huge success and the attendees agreed that it was filled with great content and useful information. We intend to keep going in that direction.
When I agreed to accept the Presidency of NAATA, I requested as a pre-requisite that all then current board members remain for at least one year while we reorganized the organization. Each of them agreed and I appreciate the support that was shown. As part of our restructuring we amended our by-laws which allowed for “staggered” directorships. This would allow for some continuity on the Board and at the same time new Board members and ideas.
This year Jan Zurek, Andrew Pilsworth and Wouter Van Essen will be stepping down from the Board. I want to personally thank each of them for their work and dedication to NAATA and its cause. Their support of the organization and of me personally when we transitioned last year was “above and beyond” and I appreciate their work and dedication.
When I accepted the role as President, I made it very clear that (1) this was not an appointment for life – I would do a job and then step aside for the next person; (2) that there would be complete transparency within the organization – our by-laws; directorships; finances – everything about the organization would be transparent (3) that I wanted to see an increase in our membership to really reflect the industry here in North America (4) that I wanted to encourage participation from all Members not just the few on the Board and that included fresh faces and ideas on the Board.
With elections coming up for Board seats we recommended certain individuals to take positions. You have all received the email from Mike O’Rourke, our Executive Director. I was very pleased to see that Paul Nader threw his “hat into the ring” and he will be placed on the ballot for voting by the membership. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to participate and if you feel that you have something to offer the organization and are willing to work towards it than by all means have your name placed on the ballot.
Although being a director requires some commitment of time – it is by no means an extraordinary commitment. The Board meets via telephone once per month for an hour; directors attend the annual meeting and our annual conference; they serve on one or two standing committees of the Board in order to handle certain issues; they bring new ideas and issues to the organization so that NAATA can stay current with the needs of our members; and they help us to encourage new membership and stay in touch with existing members. Watching an organization grow and flourish is very rewarding – especially when it involves your livelihood.
Transparency and participation are the cornerstone of any successful trade organization. We need your participation. If you are on our website and/or reading this and are considering whether to join and become active – I strongly encourage you to do so. Go to www.naatatrade.org and click on Member.
Our annual Membership meeting will be on April 6, 2018 in New York City. We will announce the venue within the next few weeks. We have already secured the attendance of Supervisor Noel Moloney of US Customs and Border Protection for Port of Newark as well as Special Agent in Charge Sean Willman of the US Department of Homeland Security. They will be taking questions from our members.
If you want to make a difference in our industry than you need to join NAATA. If you are a member you can participate in this program; you can vote on or run for a director’s position – you can get involved and make a difference.
If you are already a member – get involved. If you are not a member – join us – and get involved. I look forward to working with all of you.
Charles S Brofman