One thing for certain is the COVID pandemic, although not an ideal scenario, has provided an opportunity for many people to slow down, take a deep breath and place additional focus on things having great importance. Everyone and everything is important and you may agree that our former fast paced lifestyle did not always allow additional time for relationships of any sort.
There is a shift and I for one feel quite fortunate in this regard for a couple of reasons. Spending less time on the road and working daily in the office has provided an opportunity to get reacquainted with everyday duties such as picking up and reviewing mail, answering phone calls that do not automatically route to the appropriate team member and other weekly association chores.
Another reason is when EXPO vendor registration opened. The first couple days are hectic, and the current work environment allowed me to be involved in the start of EXPO registration season. Since I was the “newbie” on the registration team, I had the privilege of answering the phones when other team members were busy assisting exhibitors with selecting display space. What a great opportunity to get to know those who called, thank them for participating, and fill them in on the value their participation provides to GLTPA members and associates. I hope those conversations were as enlightening for the them as they were for me. The multiple benefits of their participation in GLTPA’s EXPO cannot be overstated. Hearing vendors thoughts on current topics, perspectives on the business climate, ideas for moving forward, and the variety of products which have been developed to sell was very informative to say the least. Thank you for taking time to have a conversation.
From the conversations mentioned and those I have had since registration opened, learning is in full swing to the benefit of both vendors and the association. From these conversations it occurs to me the reason for doing an EXPO has been somewhat lost over the years. The reason? To raise money with which GLTPA can provide an organized approach for continued promotion of sustainable forest management and to serve members in a meaningful way. There is the reality vendors attend shows to promote their products which in itself is a great reason. In addition, though, GLTPA wants EXPO participants to know that by attending they are engaged in a cause. The cause is ensuring we never run out of trees, ensuring the opportunity to sustainably manage forests is never diminished, and to safeguard lifestyles founded on healthy forests. How awesome is that!!
Clearly EXPO income provides funding for organized representation for forest loggers, truckers, and manufacturers who in turn provide a much broader spectrum of benefits for the massive public. What happens when funding for this organized approach is diminished because of unexpected realisms such as the current COVID pandemic? To have funding is to have representation, to not have funding is to not have representation. It all costs money and it is that simple.
Since the pandemic began GLTPA like all responsible businesses is keeping a close watch on financial matters by looking through the proverbial crystal ball. COVID is an unprecedented event for all of us and calculating the “what ifs” is a guesstimate at best. Even though responsible past decisions have been made by the FISTA/GLTPA Boards with investments and savings to provide association security, those funds are not bottomless. Under current COVID mandates opportunities to generate regular annual income are diminishing allowing the bottom to appear closer than anyone could have ever predicted.
The question then becomes where to adjust to keep the bottom as far away as possible for as long as possible to survive. Despite best planning efforts and because of circumstances beyond GLTPA’s control the reality is if the EXPO is cancelled one of two things will happen. Either reductions in expenses will be made or creative minds including yours the readers, will seize the moment and take the opportunity to proactively find funding alternatives. Either way the goal remains that services and legislative representation will notice as little disruption as possible.
With the realities of the pandemic looming, it is also a time to gauge how members and others view and value the representation these associations offer. If the value is great enough somehow and someway GLTPA will be provided with the means to remain fully engaged at current levels providing representation and member services. Rest assured those not fond of forest management and in denial about their dependence on forest generated products will take full advantage of this situation to further their agendas.
On a final note be on the lookout for a link to a new commercial promoting loggers and their relationship to forest management and the products currently in high demand. It is always a costly promotion, but timing could not be better.
Two important dates in June are Father’s Day which is celebrated on June 21st and Flag Day which is celebrated on June 14th. To all the dads, Happy Father’s Day!Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States of America on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day and on August 3, 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Fly it high and display proudly. America is still the best and freest country in the world!!
Until next month,