To those who attended the Annual Meeting, it was great to see you, to those who didn't, you missed another great event.
I'd like to address a few things...
1. To Mike Jones and the crew: Thanks for putting on another great event. If you've never hosted a National Meet or tour, I will be the first to tell you that it's not an easy task, and Mike and the crew do this very well, every year and they have done this ever year for several years.
2. Hotel - A lot of renovation work has been done to the hotel since last year and the rooms were much nicer than a year ago. It was never a case of having a lousy room, but I found the rooms to be a lot nicer this year.
3. Parking - To those of you who used the valet parking, check your hotel bill. AACA was given a special rate at $20 a day, but the desk clerk couldn't lock us in at that price when we checked in and she made that known to us when we checked in. The desk clerk made the changes this morning when we checked out. It is not a case of anyone trying to rip anyone off, it's a case of where I was told they had to do it manually, so if you didn't get that discounted rate, call them up and they'll make the deduction. If not, they'll charge you their regular rate for valet parking.
4. Steve and the folks at AACA Headquarters - Once again thanks for all you do not only with the Annual Meeting but with the day to day operations of the club all year long. Those folks work long and hard to take care of the membership. It wasn't until I was a meet chairman before I was ever able to comprehend what they do. They not only have to deal with the day to day things, but they also have to plan the move into the new headquarters. The move in itself is going to be a full time job, but remember they have to do that as well as still run the club. I'm not saying the current AACA headquarters is substandard, but I'm looking forward to seeing those folks that work for us have a better workplace. They work long, they work hard and they've earned that. If things don't seem to be as good as they can be, those folks are going to be very overwhelmed for the next year at best, so bear with them.
5. Seminars - For the first time in several years, they brought back the Advanced Judging School. For those of you who have had any time being a judge, you'll know that going to the annual judging school can often be more painful than being forced to sit outside to watch cars rust. The advanced judging school knocks out the BS that had beat the horse so bad that there was glue on the floor. Thanks for bringing it back!!
6. New AACA Headquarters - Can't wait to see it done!! Thank you Steve and Chris for taking the time to answer those questions. Although I've never had a problem with the new building, I had some concerns over what was being done. After knowing what was being done with the money being spent, my concerns are over because they've already been addressed. A know a lot of people have "sticker" shock, but whenever you get into a large project like that, it isn't cheap by any means and there is a huge difference between building a house and building an office building. Ten years ago I laid the groundwork to put a $3 million dollar firehouse in a town the size of 3,500 people. When you figure the size of AACA in terms of numbers, dollar for dollar our project was more money than the new AACA headquarters is ten years later so I'm surprised that they're doing what they're doing at the price it's being done. I know what it's like in terms of budget, wants and needs and I've been in the situation where I had to pick and choose my battles to not only take care of our needs now, but also address the needs in the years ahead. Our new headquarters building is not being built to meet the needs for today, it is being built to meet the needs for the future. By doing what the national board is doing now, it'll save the club a boatload of cash by not having to do it later. Although there are some who don't see that now, they will see that in the years ahead. In terms of the national board of directors who are overseeing this project, I give them a lot of credit because I know from my own experience it is very difficult to work from within your heart, while still trying to stay within budget, while also trying to address wants and needs. I know in my own situation I was forced to give up some things that I wanted that I couldn't do because the money wasn't there, and I had to address needs first. Despite that, I was forced to take some heat and wear a black eye from people who don't have the vision to be able to comprehend what's being done so I'm sure the national board is in the same boat. For those of you who might be against this project, keep an open mind. I can't wait to go to Hershey and see the show taking place next to the new headquarters. I think the headquarters will boost the show, and the show will boost headquarters. If nothing more, it'll give Judges admin a better workplace during Hershey. The National Board has had to "weather the storm" of building a new headquarters, and I know from my own experience it isn't easy, so thank you for "weathering the storm."
7. Awards - It sure was great to get our second national award. I had always maintained that winning one national award was enough, and it truly was. Although I would've been fine not winning the award, the second time is even better. My dad and I have a long history in the fire service, and we have several old cars, but winning the Peterson Fire Apparatus award has cemented ourselves to combine our association with both old cars and the fire service. Everyone we know in the fire service knows we're car guys, while the car guys know we're in the fire service. I was pretty rough on a few folks in terms of the nomination letter but it turned out that the US Post Office dropped the ball pretty bad. As it turned out, it took the Post Office nearly two weeks to deliver the nomination letter. The letter was sent out on time, the post office in Hershey did their job, but somewhere between the Hershey post office and my mailbox, someone messed up pretty bad. If only they post office would lose my tax bill...… Again I'd like to apologize to Steve, Bob and a few others because the problem lied with the post office and no one else.
8. Annual Meeting - Whether you win or lose, the Annual Meeting is a good time. If you have never been, consider going next year.