0515 EC Minutes
Executive Council Meeting
May 16, 2015 – Simpsonville SCOfficial
1. Opening Business
Others attending: Rich Hanson, AMA Government Relations Advocate; Dist I AVP Steve Brehm; Dist II AVP Reid Condon; Dist IV AVP Randy Elliott; Dist IV AVP Nic Burhans; Dist IV Webmaster Jack Upchurch Jr.; Duane Lundahl, Eastern Shore Aeromodelers; Dist IV AVP Terry Terrenoire; and Dist V AVP Don Wise.
b. Additions to the agenda: Scholarship Committee report; Joe Nall 2016
c. Final Flight recognition (Appendix): Additions to the list – John Reed, TX and Harry Peterson, NY. A moment of silence was observed.
It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation to accept the Minutes of the January 11, 2015 Executive Council meeting as presented.
The following Mail/Phone votes were read into the Minutes (Appendix):
Mail vote-Jan 29, 2015 AMA Corporate Resolution
Mail vote-Mar 13, 2015 Joe Haas Distinguished Service Award
Mail vote-Apr 29, 2015 Flying Site Assistance Grants
3. President’s Report
Travel included attending WRAM Show in NJ; attended meeting with E. Williams and G. Fitch, and New York City clubs to discuss proposed legislation re model aviation & drone use in the boroughs of NY; presented award to George Brown of Brownie’s Hobbies; with D. Mathewson, R. Hanson and G. Fitch attended meeting with FAA in D.C.; attended AMA Foundation meeting, hosted by Aurora Flight Sciences; attended NASA/NACA 100 year anniversary event; attended Efest meeting with Hobbico and Horizon to discuss the Know Before You Fly campaign; Lebanon Flea Market; North East Electric Fly; Toledo Weak Signal Show; FAI CIAM meeting; AUVSI Convention and Joe Nall.
Received instruction on media presentation by CLS Strategies; additionally met with CLS and members of the press.
During the Weak Signals Show, the President presented the AMA Heritage Society Award to the Weak Signals for their donations to the AMA Scholarship Program. Attended a meeting with Sean Elliott (EAA VP of Advocacy and Safety), Rick Larsen (EAA VP of Community and Member Services), and had a meeting with several board members from the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC).
By the direction of Council, the FAI CIAM budget had been cut significantly. At this time HQ funds only the Delegates attendance at the meetings unless representatives’ attendance is approved by the President. Funded by their associated Special Interest Group or their own personal finances, U.S. Technical Committee members attending included Chuck Etherington (NFFS); Derek Koopowitz (NSRCA); Dr. John Langford (NAR); and Steve Neu (Electric community). During the meeting the Andrei Tupolev Medal was awarded to Carl Dodge. Dr. John Langford and Bob Brown were named along with several others to explore and develop a competitive aspect for sUAS; Langford volunteered to provide a trophy for the competition.
The President had discussions with many individuals during AUVSI including Michael Huerta (FAA Administrator), Jim Williams (UAS Integration Office Manager) Ben Gielow (Amazon Prime Air), Travis Mason (Google Government Affairs), Mark Baker (AOPA President), Brian Wynne (CEO AUVSI), Joe Ambrose (CEO Horizon), Yoschi Yamamoto (President Futaba Electronics) and Davis Vos (VP Google Project Wing).
Travel included attending Efest in Champaign and along with B. Brown, D. Mathewson and R. Hanson, the EVP met with Horizon and Hobbico to discuss the Know Before You Fly (KBYF) program; both signed agreements to work with the AMA. Discussions with Castle Creations and Futaba revealed they were interested in the program as well. Also attended WRAM Show in NJ; attended CLS media training; met with T. Bertoson and the FAA (P. Gilligan, J. Williams, other FAA staff members and two individuals from the Justice Department); attended Perry Show; Lebanon Flea Market; NEF in Akron, OH; attended and worked booth at Weak Signal Show and travelled to Staten Island where he met with six New York City club presidents along with E. Williams and B. Brown to discuss proposed legislation to eliminate model aviation and drone use in the five boroughs of New York. Travelled to Buffalo NY to meet with legal counsel of the RC Pulser’s club re current litigation.
Met with staff in Muncie to discuss retail marketing initiatives; while there met with J. Nance and S. Grubbs to discuss membership/marketing efforts. While in Lakeland FL, the EVP presented the Legion of Honor Award to Frank Tiano, for his long time financial support of the AMA.
The EVP has spent significant time and effort working on the KBYF program, working with model manufacturers, retailers and hobby distributors. Currently in talks with JR, HiTec, Hobby Lobby, Hobby Manufacturers Association, and Jeff Weinmiller has expressed an interest through his Roxy Drones. When a group joins the program, AMA provides them with KBYF graphics that they can use in their marketing efforts; they are asked to make a commitment to put the program information in their products, as well as information about the AMA.5. Chief Financial Officer's Report
K. Sessions reported the audit had been moved from March to May; this resulted in a savings of approximately $3,500. The audit report will be presented at the July meeting. One reason HQ was able to move the audit was the retirement of the bond; once it was retired we did not have the government restrictions that requires financials in the first quarter.
There is still a tax issue related to non-business related income (advertising, booth expense, etc.); the ED and staff are working to maximize deductions.
A line of credit was established; it is currently at 1.9%. This is a floating rate but we have the option to lock it into a fixed rate, however the fixed rate is significantly higher and given the projection over the next 2-3 years he sees no reason to lock into a fixed rate.
6. Executive Director’s Report
Bylaws requirement for MASC/UMASC
Staff has suggested that the bylaws requirements for the Model Aviation Student Club and University Model Aviation Student club be eliminated. These clubs have a different internal structure and most are governed by school/university procedures that are already in place, including disciplinary procedures.
MOTION I: Moved by R. Cameron (VI) and seconded by M. Johnston (VIII) to waive the bylaws requirements for MASC (Model Aviation Student Club) and UMASC (University Model Aviation Student Club).
MOTION passed unanimously.
Intro to sUAS Program
We are seeing a shift in opinion from some of the clubs and members relative to multirotors. AMA’s position is instead of separating ourselves from the technology, we feel the best approach is to help educate the community to ensure they fly safely and responsibly. The Education department developed this program for AMA clubs; it is a takeoff of a project M. Radcliff created in his district. The community was invited to come out and learn about the technology, safety concerns, and how to fly responsibly.
This program is currently being beta-tested. It will eventually be placed in BaseCamp and will be available to everyone. It includes a Power Point presentation and templates on press releases. We need to actively promote this program to the clubs. Several VP’s shared what they were doing in their districts relative to educating the community, local governments and law enforcement.
Trade Show Discount
This $10 discount policy was created when the pro-rate for new members was on the back-end. The pro-rate has since been moved and is given up front to all new members when they join. It was asked whether Council wanted to modify the discount policy or leave it in place.
Comments included: this is a member-acquisition cost; eliminate the $10 discount; keep the $10 discount in the first quarter and pro-rate beginning in the second quarter; pro-rate the discount; and offer a 10% discount. There was a motion to change the policy to offer a percentage discount instead of the $10 discount; there was no second.
The $10 discount policy remains in place.
CLS was contracted for a 6-month term; this expires in June 2015. Contracting with them was one of the best decisions this organization has made. They have done outstanding work relative to public relations, legislative strategies, they give us a Washington, DC presence and have a four person staff working on our behalf. The ED shared a number of examples of their great work.
At this particular time while AMA is still involved with the Interpretive Rule, the NPRM issue (will continue for another 18 months or more), the revision of 336, the Reauthorization Bill coming up in 2016 and the legislative issues, the ED recommended continuing the contract with CLS.
MOTION II: Moved by J. Tiller (IX) and seconded by R. Cameron (VI) to continue the contract with CLS Strategies at the rate negotiated by the Executive Director.
MOTION passed unanimously.
7. NAA REPORT
To benefit the newer members of Council, J. Gaffney will present an overview of the NAA and the AMA/NAA relationship at the July 2015 EC meeting.
8. Committee Reports
a. Special Interest Groups (Appendix)
The committee received a request for special interest group status from the Association of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (AsUAS). A. Argenio and E. Williams are personally involved and have spoken with numerous EC members. They would like to bring these individuals into the community, engage them more, give them the opportunity to develop competitions, and the ability to participate in the governance of their community. This is part of the future of the hobby and about building a bridge with that community.
MOTION III: Moved by R. Cameron (VI) and seconded by J. Tiller (IX) to approve AsUAS (Association of small Unmanned Aerial Systems) as an AMA Special Interest Group.
MOTION passed: 11-Y; 1-N (VIII)
b. Flying Site Improvement Grants
The committee received a request to change the procedures to have the grant applications sent directly to AMA HQ to be electronically scanned; all applications will be forwarded to the respective Vice Presidents for review and approval. The discussion turned to how the VP’s and committee members evaluate applications.
Comments included: VP’s review the applications and if they are of the opinion the application warrants consideration for a grant, they sign it and forward it to HQ; VP’s check to see that the application is completed in the best way possible; in reviewing an application, the VP does not know the criteria the committee uses for evaluation and therefore can only check to see that all the information is submitted properly; if a club does not receive a grant the VP should be able to offer advice on writing a better grant request; and the VP should be an advocate for the club.
Each VP evaluates their applications differently and each committee member ranks the applications differently; this has been a contention for years. Many issues need to be addressed including guidelines, and criteria for evaluation. Committee members were asked to provide the chairman comments on how their scoring went, what should and shouldn’t be allowed when scoring, etc. The committee is working to update the application to identify what is and is not allowed in a grant, create a score sheet, and request clubs financial information; this will help in the VP’s and committees evaluation of applications. The 2016 application will be taken off the AMA web site until changes can be made.
The President appointed an ad hoc committee chaired by R. Cameron to update and further develop the grant application/scoring criteria. They should also consider the proposal that the applications be sent directly to HQ to be scanned and then forwarded to the VP for review and evaluation. A report will be presented at the July EC meeting.
c. Museum (Appendix)
E. Williams reported that Eric Boehm is a new committee member; he is the curator for aviation and aircraft at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in NYC. He shares in the belief that we should bring the AMA museum to the world.
A Keyence GyroSaucer E-170, the first multi-copter (sold only in Japan), was donated to the museum. Five new clubs have been added to the history program; VP’s should encourage clubs to send their information to the museum. Volunteers are working on LED lighting in the displays. The museum has arranged to have the Villard Cup on display; this is on loan from the San Diego Air and Space Museum and is the first national model airplane trophy to be awarded (in 1915 by the Aero Club of America).
In July the committee will report on areas they will be focusing on. These include the building infrastructure, the web site, museum displays and storage. The roof was replaced last year, but there are some issues with the outside of the building that need to be addressed (rusting, etc.) Williams will work with PADCOM on these issues.
The committee would eventually like to expand their online outreach to include webinars.d. Marketing (Appendix)
The question was asked whether to continue with the Park Pilot program; it is the magazine that is keeping the program going. The ED reported he has charged the staff this year to come up with a plan to address the Park Pilot issues; create a procedure to revive the program.
If the new member growth could be attributed to multi rotors, it was questioned whether the PP magazine could be worked into one for multi rotor and advanced flight. It was noted that the multi rotor community and technology advance so rapidly, a quarterly publication would not serve the audience. The ED reported there has been discussion that this community needs a publication that speaks to them; this is entirely different than the traditional model aviation community. Whatever content is provided to them must directly relate to their interest. Discussion has leaned towards a digital publication. HQ will need to tailor the publication to address the needs.
We need to use the tools we have that are working (Google, renewal mailings, partnerships and advertising) and focus on the Park Pilot program; 250 PP memberships have converted to Open membership in the last 12 months. The three-month trial to Open membership conversion is 251. We may need to view the PP membership as a gate of entry program.
HQ staff and the Marketing/Membership committee will investigate making the Park Pilot program a gate of entry program to Open membership, and explore other opportunities.
e. Education (Appendix)
MASC - Beta testing continues on the Model Aviation Student Club; test schools include Stanford University, University of South Dakota and University of Washington.
Grant funded summer camp - By the end of the summer the committee should have comprehensive planning updates and activity templates available for members that want to hold activity camps for youth in their communities.
Have had some improvements in the TAG Program, 25 applications were received with 22 receiving awards.
The Youth Leadership Award was presented to Hunter Jones during the Weak Signals Show.
All 40 slots are filled for Camp AMA; 22 of the 40 are returning individuals. This camp makes a significant impact on their lives.
J. Tiller reported that within days of setting up their UMASC, kids were showing up at the field and club members were eager to help them. Within a couple of months the clubs’ by laws were amended so a member of the MASC is automatically a member of their club. Bower reported his clubs are very accepting of the UMASC program and want to support them. Mathewson reported that while they were at AUVSI, a fair percentage of the interest at the booth came from universities and colleges that were interested in the UMASC program.
Update since January – met with some members of the FAA Executive Staff; hoped to negotiate settlement on the Interpretive Rule but that did not happen due to pending litigation. During talks the FPV issue was mostly resolved; Part 107 says you must have 2 operators, one with goggles and the other for see and avoid, however there has been no official clarification. They are pleased with the Know Before You Fly program and indicated they would like to partner more closely; they have taken no action to do this yet. They have designated an area around DC as a “No Drone Zone”. The proposed rule for small UAS (107) was not as stringent as expected; no practical skill test will be required to get this ticket. They use a weight of 4.4 pounds; AMA suggested the weight should be heavier. We did submit comment to this proposed rule; the FAA stated they need to review the comments to the Interpretive Rule before addressing comments to the proposed rule for small UAS. President Obama ordered a multi-stakeholder task force to address the privacy issue in commercial and recreational UAS.
Congress has gone into session which means new reauthorization for FAA; they will look at Section 336. Senator Booker introduced his bill which would allow commercial UAS to operate under that law. The Reauthorization Bill is going through the hearing process. Todd Bertoson attended a bi-partisan FAA subcommittee meeting where they were addressing section 336. He spoke on AMA’s behalf in an attempt to close the loopholes that were presented with the Interpretive Rule. Revisions Hanson submitted included a mandate that the FAA recognize qualifying CBOs (Community Based Organizations); enforce the operation of model aircraft under the special rule and a change to the five-mile rule. There was a lot of discussion about whether or not the CBO process has been working; not so much for the traditional aircraft community but for the emerging community of drone users. They wanted to know how many of them were engaging with AMA and becoming members. They are still unsure whether that is going to be the resolution or solution to the new problem of drone users vs new regulation/enforcement. Todd argued the FAA does not have the resources to enforce this community and can’t do it without partnering with a CBO. They are moving forward with putting together draft language. They hope to have a draft reauthorization bill by the end of June, with a bill hopefully ready for vote by the end of August. AMA has from now until the end of June to continue to encourage them to accept the revisions we proposed. Todd has suggested we do a limited mail-in campaign for those key members of congress that sit on those influential committees; this would include the states of Washington, South Dakota, Alaska, Florida and New Hampshire (these individuals sit on the Commerce Committee). He suggests we have club presidents (and perhaps AVP’s) within those states, do a targeted campaign to their representatives, encouraging them to support the revisions to 336 and the CBO program. HQ has developed a distribution list but still needs to develop the template letter for them to fill out.
In review the three critical issues still out there are the Interpretive Rule (FAA has not reached the second 90-day point yet to tell the court how close they are with the public comments); the Reauthorization Bill (that will be going through Congress; have limited campaign but could turn into an all-out campaign if necessary) and resolution of the Interpretive Rule.
During a conference call with CLS it was noted that AMA is not positioning themselves in the small UAS community as the guys with the solution. We are still getting lumped in with the “bad actors”. Hanson feels the best tool we have to counter this is the KBYF program. Nothing has ever given AMA the kind of standing in the communities (political and aviation) as this campaign; we must continue to waive this banner.
b. Dues/Fees Structure (Appendix)
K. Sessions reported that we are working on 2015 wants, with a 2003 budget; this restricts our growth, and our ability to serve our members. There are many new expenses that have come into play since 2003. AMA has spent over a million dollars just on government relations, and expenses are kept to an absolute minimum. We have increased our public relations. The ED requires that each department in HQ strictly adhere to their budgets and they have done so. We have looked for alternative ways to bring in money; we’ve partnered with Nationwide and we have farm income. The proposed increases were reviewed; the numbers presented are not arbitrary, they are inflationary adjustments. This dues/fees increase can easily be justified; the EC has a fiduciary responsibility to the organization.
The question was asked whether we could institute a “Handicapped” membership category or offer a discount to anyone who is 50% disabled or more. Many were sympathetic to the idea but noted that it would be difficult to regulate and put a huge burden on those that would be responsible for administering it.
MOTION IV: Moved by M. Johnston (VIII) and seconded by C. Bower (XI) to accept the AMA Dues and Fees structure as recommended by the Chief Financial Officer; effective for 2016 calendar year.
MOTION passed unanimously.
A motion was made to give a 50% discount to anyone that is 50% disabled or more. There was no second to the motion and it was referred back to the proposer for further study and definition. (Define at what level a person is considered handicapped; and define what documentation will be acceptable to confirm an individual qualifies.)
In January the ad hoc committee presented their findings and recommendations to Council. Since there were a number of questions, the Elections Process Review committee was asked to look into the proposal. Members of the ad hoc committee (L. Tougas, J. Marsh and C. Bower) worked closely with the committee. A motion was made to modify the existing Standing Rules as they relate to the By Law Article IX. The changes in the standing rules pertain to “Candidate Guidelines” (found on page 14 of the Membership Manual), and the addition of “Campaign Communication” and “Campaign Etiquette” to the Special Rules. Changes to the Candidate Guidelines clarifies that all required dates for nomination, acceptance, résumé and campaign statement have to be met with no exceptions. The addition of Campaign Communication and Campaign Etiquette rules further defines and clarifies what is expected and allowed by candidates.
Item (b) under Candidate Acceptance was modified to require Campaign Statements and résumés be submitted electronically; they will be place in a sealed envelope.
The committee chairman reported there is nothing in these documents that preclude a candidate from doing things external to HQ and at their own personal expense; i.e. using banners, sending out emails from their own personal account, creating web sites, etc.
MOTION V: Moved by G. Fitch (EVP) and seconded by M. Johnston (VIII) to accept the changes to the Standing Rules relating to Article IX of the AMA By Laws (Candidate Guidelines), as submitted by the Election Process Review Committee and amended May 16, 2015.
MOTION passed unanimously.
There are three items in the proposal. The first is to accept the election of the AMA Foundation Board of Directors; the second to accept an amendment to the Foundation By Laws Article VIII Officers, to modify the titles to Chairman, Co-Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary; and the third is to approve the Foundation budget.
The proposed change to the officer titles was done to eliminate confusion between AMA officers and the AMA Foundation officers. There was no foundation budget included in HQ budget for 2015; the ED reminded Council that there was a motion from 2011/2012 where the Council allocated approximately $141,000 as seed money to get the Foundation up and running. The expectation is that this money will be repaid when possible.
MOTION VI: Moved by E. Williams (II) and seconded by G. Fitch (EVP) to accept the three items pertaining to the AMA Foundation.
1. Accept election of AMA Foundation Board of Directors officers: Dr. Laird Jackson (Chairman); Ron Pitcock (Co-Chairman); Dr. John Langford (Treasurer) and Mandee Mikulski (Secretary).
2. Accept AMA Foundation Board of Directors Bylaws amendment: Modify the officer titles named in Bylaws (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) to AMA Foundation Chairman, AMA Foundation Co-Chairman, AMA Foundation Treasurer, and AMA Foundation Secretary.
3. Approval of the AMA Foundation proposed budget.
MOTION passed unanimously.
c. Membership Join/Renew Options
G. Fitch reported that all metrics are saying we should consider a year-to-date membership. It will have a positive impact on our revenue; expecting a gross revenue increase by making this change of $207,000. The net revenue will be about $112,000; this is after additional expenses for magazines, etc. It will create a leveling of cash flow throughout the year and reduce the use of the line of credit and/or investments. It will also improve forecasting and operating expense management. This will not happen overnight but over time it will have a leveling effect. It will increase member satisfaction, retention, acquisition and revenue.
Year-to-date membership eliminates AMA dues pricing confusion, prorates and the need to offer deep discounts. It allows more effective advertising messages and provides the ability to package and promote AMA annual memberships with retailers, organizations such as EAA, and universities.
Year-to-date spreads membership processing over the year reducing the volume of the heavy processing period of September-January. It reduces the need to pull staff from other departments to assist in the membership crush. Renewals will be sent to members on a monthly basis including “soon-to-expire” notices. Fitch reported that HQ does have the ability right now, to send renewal notices electronically. Year-to-date will have no impact on the ballot mailing; individuals (with voting rights) who are members by the cut-off date, will receive ballots.
It was stated that this may create difficulty for clubs. HQ staff has stated that all club officers (not just the club secretary) will receive: a monthly club membership list by email; notification of members’ pending expiration date 60 days out, 30 days out and when the membership expires. Expiration dates will be on all membership cards and there will be a current membership roster available online at all times. The ED is of the opinion that someday we need to offer our clubs a membership management program that would synchronize with AMA’s system and allow information to be seamlessly coordinated back and forth between the two systems. E. Williams felt this should be an outward goal since this year-to-date will be a big change for the clubs. It will be dependent on the District VPs to repeatedly communicate information about this change to their AVPs, LMs and clubs.
MOTION VII: Moved by A. Argenio (I) and seconded by C. Bower (XI) to accept the Year-to-Date membership proposal as submitted; implementation date of January 1, 2016.
MOTION passed unanimously.
Johnston reported there was $38,000 available for distribution in the C.H. Grant Scholarship; $2,000 in the Weak Signals Scholarship; $1,000 in the Ryan Sherrow Memorial Scholarship; $500 in the Dorothy and Basil Cooper Memorial Award and $5,000 for the Telford Scholarship. The committee’s recommendations are included in the report. Results of the scholarship should not be disclosed until the recipients are informed.
MOTION VIII: Moved by T. Jesky (VII) and seconded by G. Fitch (EVP) to accept the report of the Scholarship Committee.
MOTION passed unanimously.
The President reported that the Foundation is looking to change some of these scholarships into endowments which would aid them in approaching potentially significant donors. It is possible there may be less money available for next year’s awards; although nothing has been finalized.
e. Joe Nall 2016
J. Upchurch shared some comments he made to E. Williams about seeing AMA representatives. He has been a member of his club for about 12 years they had never had anyone from AMA visit them at their field. AMA was a concept, it was where they sent their dues and got their insurance. Within the last five months, things changed and an AVP attended one of their club meetings. Members need to have a face to put with “the voice of AMA”, the things they read on-line and in the magazine, etc. Otherwise, it’s just insurance and just a magazine.
E. Williams would like to see Kris Dixon and HQ work with Triple Tree to have a hospitality tent located on the pilot’s side of the road. We could possibly give out water and have an area where members could talk with AMA representatives. Other suggestions included: having a smaller AMA tent (manned by EC members) at each of the different sites (3D, Electric, Helicopter and CL areas); put AMA flags on all of the AMA-rented golf carts; have large AMA banners in highly visible areas. The President stated that AMA has been very lucky, in that much of what we receive there is gratis; Council needs to understand that it is a business and we should expect to pay for the things we want.
Williams is proposing that the ED generate some ideas and bring some recommendations back to Council; K. Sessions will generate discussion with P. Hartness about what we want and the cost.
At this time the President presented to following awards:
Gary Fitch – Exemplary Service for years of service as EVP on Council
Eric Williams – Exemplary Service for years of service as District II VP on Council
Mark Radcliff – Exemplary Service for years of service as District III VP on Council
Tim Jesky – Exemplary Service for years of service as District VII VP on Council
The EVP presented the following award:
Bob Brown – Exemplary Service for years of service as President on Council
No awards were requested at this meeting.
Next Meeting: July 17/18, 2015 (Fri-SLRP/Sat-EC meeting)
Meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.