August President's Message
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
I have been involved in several different organizations and associations, and one of the things that they have all had in common is a desire to increase their membership. I’ve never heard anyone complain that their organization has too many members. Where they have differed is in their strategies for increasing membership. Some organizations have been very aggressive in their recruitment efforts, whereas others have taken a more passive approach.
From what I have observed, SEAONC’s approach has been relatively passive. It is not in the nature of most engineers to engage in active promotion. That is not what attracted us to engineering nor was it what we were trained to do. In addition, even those in our organization who have a natural ability or desire to promote SEAONC often do not have the time or energy to do so.
Like most professional associations, SEAONC lost members during the recent recession. There was a modest rebound in the first couple of years of the recovery, and our membership has remained relatively stable ever since. While it is good news that we are not losing members, it also speaks to our need to look for new, more active ways to increase our membership. This involves strengthening our efforts to recruit new members and our efforts to retain and engage the members that we already have.
As part of the implementation of the new strategic plan, the SEAONC Board this year will be exploring in depth how we can increase our membership and how we can better serve our members. We will explore programs and events we can provide to our members that would be of the greatest benefit to each of you. We will also explore how we can improve on our outreach to structural engineers who are members, structural engineers who are not members but are willing to consider joining, and to structural engineering students who will be joining our profession when they graduate.
We will be working with the Membership Committee, chaired by Caroline Tsang, on many of these initiatives. However, as talented and dedicated as Caroline is, she cannot do all this work on her own. We will need a robust and active committee to assist the Board in developing new membership initiatives and then to implement them. Thus, I’m putting out a call to all of you who have ideas or interest in membership to consider joining the Membership Committee. You can also talk to myself or any member of the SEAONC Board.
On a related item, you may be wondering why there was not a dues notice sent out in June. It was not because we forgot or decided to give everyone an honorary membership. It was because the SEAONC web site is in the process of being revamped and we wanted to take advantage of the new web site’s features to make it easier for everyone to pay their dues. Our goal is to have the new web site online soon, so you should be getting your dues renewal notice shortly. I encourage you to consider renewing your SEAONC membership for another year.