2009-06-20 minutes

Friends of Tuckerman Ravine
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
June 20, 2009 at Pinkham Notch Camp

 

Directors Present:  Hannes Schneider, Sally Dinsmore, Bob Ackland, Rich Brauel, Dave Esty, Matt Serge, Bruce Doten, John Gorman, Bill Downey.

Regrets: John Egan, Vince Tully, Chris Thayer, Ted Sutton, Jeff Leich, Tom Eastman

Advisory Board Members Present: Al Risch

USDA Forest Service present: Dave Neely

With 9 Directors in attendance, there was a quorum present (9 are required).

1. Welcome and Introductions-Dave Esty:

*This is Dave's last meeting as president. He hopes to continue on as a director. This is a milestone because the Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service is nearing a final draft.

*Dave has left two major things undone. There is not a lot of money floating around the organization right now. When the economy turns around, Dave wants to go knock on doors on behalf of the group again. The second thing he has been unable to do is to encourage the organization to be a 12-month organization. The ravine sees visitors 12 months a year, and Dave wants to help Matt and Ted and the board figure out what we can do to have a presence in the summer time.

*Dave has closed the bank account in Waitsfield, and presented the check to Rich. There is one more check that will be coming to Rich.

*The special fund to hire Donna Woodward was supported by 12 directors, 3 ex-directors, now advisors, and one friend. Nine directors declined to respond. Dave had said he would make up the difference between the donated amount and the $9,000 needed to hire Donna for 9 months. Because there was not 100% participation, he will not do this and sees the lack of complete support as a failure on his part because he was not persuasive enough. When the economy turns, and we hit the foundations and the corporate marketing and charitable trust dollars, how do we legitimately, ethically say we have 100% board participation?

 

2. Matt Serge, incoming president:

*Matt thanked Dave for his service on behalf of everyone, and remarked that there are no failures, just work that remains unfinished.   

*Matt has been with the organization 6 years now and has grown to love it very much. He is very honored to work with Ted and all of the board. As we approach the 10-year anniversary he hopes we can take the group to the next level and start raising funds and making a name for ourselves. Al has some great ideas for fundraising for four season operation, and Matt sees things moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, with this economy, no one is raising much money so we will have to weather the storm, and we will get there.

3. Secretary's Report-Bruce Doten:

*The minutes of the 3-14-2009 were revised to show that Bob Ackland was present.

*A motion was made to approve the minutes; the motion was seconded and the motion passed without dissent.

4. Treasurer's Report-Rich Brauel:

*This time last year, (May 31) our net income was about $10,000 ahead of this year. We have about $3,400 in cash, and $1,000 in accounts receivable, $500 of which is expected in June. Those are our liquid assets. That is the same amount as our restricted balance for the avalanche boards, education and training, so we really don't have any available general fund cash.

*Accounts payable amount to $1,900, all but $400 of which was paid in June.

*We have some loans from Al and his son, which is basically our cash balance.

*Compared to budget, we are very far behind in fundraising, though the ski show has not taken place yet.

*We are several thousand dollars ahead in race proceeds compared to last year.

*The costs of website, computer consulting, and cell and land line was discussed. The plan with membership software was to spend money to spur membership dues. Most membership renewals take place in the fall or winter, so the return from this has not been seen yet.

*Al reminded directors that membership is a requirement of serving on the board, but he does not think that a financial requirement is appropriate. The hope for 100% board participation at some level, however minor, in supporting the administrator was discussed. Dave remarked that he did not hear any complaints from anyone about the initiative to raise funds from directors for the administrator's position.

*A motion accept the Treasurer's report; the motion was seconded and the motion passed without dissent.

5. Executive Director's Report-Al Risch:

*The Inferno event went well. Ted and the crew on the mountain did a fabulous job under adverse conditions. The volunteers have gotten better every year. The Wildcat portion brought in almost $5,000. That will grow as the Inferno stays at a manageable level.

*Al is planning a new event in October, possibly the weekend of the 17-18th-the Mt Washington Wildcat Wilderness Walk and scavenger hunt. This will be like the Observatory's Seek the Peak. The walk starts in Jackson and winds up at Wildcat with a barbecue. Anyone who raises $100 or more can get involved. Seek the Peak has turned into a major fundraiser for the Obs. Sponsors will donate items for the scavenger hunt. The board's help will be needed. Al will work on the operating plan for the Forest Service. Because Thom Perkins of Jackson Ski Touring has concerns about people using the Wildcat Valley Trail, Al may have to adjust the route. Wildcat is on board. Jackson Fire Department will be involved for rescue.

*In response to a question from Matt, Dave Neely stated he was pleased with the way the Inferno was organized. The transition at Pinkham went smoother, while the weather was difficult on the mountain. The go/no-go decision was right on the line, and well-managed. State police, DOT and AMC all gave good feedback as well as suggestions for 2010. The car count at Pinkham was down this year.

*Zimmerman's in North Conway has come on as an Inferno sponsor. They have three other regional stores. Al has spoken to them about obtaining North Face uniforms through their local shop.

*With respect to the proposed new event, Dave Neely noted that the term "wilderness" has a very specific meaning, and might be best avoided by a close partner like FOTR outside of designated wilderness.

*Hannes Schneider cautioned that if another organization like Jackson Fire is brought in and earns a share of the proceeds, the division of proceeds should reflect the division of labor between the two groups.

*There was discussion as to whether $100 is the right price for the new event. A suggestion for a more detailed plan with estimated costs was made.

6. Marketing Committee/PR Committee-no report.

*Rich Brauel suggested committees submit written reports when not presented in person. Matt concurred. Bill Downey will join the Marketing/PR committee.

*[Unidentified director] spoke to a lack of a coordinated marketing plan. We need a marketing strategy that takes us from where we are to where we need to go. We have one of the better people in this field sitting at the head of the table, but we have not made a plan.

*Matt asked if Dave would be willing to serve as an advisor to the Marketing committee, if not a member. Matt further suggested that the Marketing committee meet and begin a discussion about strategy for where the group should be in two years. Dave Neely mentioned that the Forest Service will want to be involved in the development of the group's message.

*Rich suggested some committee reporting, perhaps via e-mail, between quarterly meetings.

*Dave Esty noted an article on Tuckerman in the current issue of Forbes, which we did not initiate. There is a fascination about the place. Perhaps the marketing committee should focus on creating a broad strategic statement that describes what we need to do as an organization from a marketing standpoint. This summer, Dave would like to help the committee with that. Hannes suggested that the group write a letter to the editor about the piece.

7. Membership

*Currently there is no membership committee. Sally Dinsmore Baldwin volunteered to be chair and work with Donna on the membership database. Others are welcome. Matt serves as membership chair of a different organization and has found it to be a key position.

*Dave Esty noted that more than 80% of marketing should be directed at retaining and increasing membership, since the organization needs to be member-driven. We are poised to use the new membership software to send out regular dues renewal notices, and hope that will increase renewals.

*Hannes expressed some frustration with the committee structure and the relaxed atmosphere. Years ago he was named to the Education Committee, which has been totally inactive. Matt agreed on the need for a bit more regimentation.

*Matt suggested re-evaluating which committees are needed now, regardless of which were formed in the past, and quickly come to a decision with Ted on reactivating those that are necessary. By September, Matt wants to have a list of what committees we will need going forward.

8. Fundraising

*Al already updated the group on the new event.

*Dave replied to the question of whether we have a grant writer. The first point is to define what it is that we have that is at all interesting to funding organizations. Rather than a fundraising chairman, we need to do good jobs with membership and public relations/marketing. Dave will have time this summer to talk to some people of consequence in the world of fundraising, and will give a report in September.

*Bruce mentioned the idea of a trip to Austria in late March as a fundraiser for FOTR. He has done some research that seems promising. Two hoteliers have made offers to rebate some lodging fees to FOTR. Bruce arranged a trip like this in 2008. Is there enough interest for "Friends of Tuckerman go abroad?" There was positive discussion. Bruce will have a fully developed proposal for the next meeting.

*Al mentioned the recently completed DVD "Intrepid Descent" about skiing in the ravine by two college students. Al plans to package this with a DVD of the Inferno as a promotional tool once the DVDs are in production.

9. Nominating Committee-Bob Ackland:

*Bob made a motion related to an April 16 e-mail sent to all board members that we accept the changes to the Articles of Association and Bylaws as presented then. Notice was needed at that time to make the changes at this meeting. In highlight the changes add the chairman as an officer, that the retiring president shall remain a member of the Board for a two year term, and that we change the annual meeting to the fall meeting. The full text of the proposed changes from the April 16 e-mail is this:

 Articles of Association changes:

 Article VII:  The officers of this association shall be four (4), a Chairman, a President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.
(a new section F will be added with sections A becoming B, B becoming C, C becoming D, D becoming E and E becoming F)

New section A: The Chairman shall serve as a liaison with the USFS and represent the association with all Federal and State authorities.  The Chairman will work with the President in managing the association to its mission and in developing the long term strategy of the association.

Article VIII Section A:  An annual meeting for the Board of Directors of this association shall be held in the fall of each year as scheduled by the Officers.

Article IX, (2nd paragraph, first sentence) - The annual meeting of the membership shall be scheduled each fall by the Board of Directors.

Add: Article VII Section A - Retiring President shall remain a member of the board of directors for a term of two years following s/he's term as President.

By Laws changes:

Article II, Section 12 Annual Meeting - change the first sentence

An annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall be held in the fall as scheduled by the Board.

Article III, Section 1 - Number - change the first sentence

The Officers of the Association shall be a Chairman, a President, a Secretary and a Treasurer, each of whom shall be elected by the Directors.
(ad a new Section 8 - with Section 5 becoming 6, Section 6 becoming 7 and Section 7 becoming 8)

New Section 5 - The Chairman shall serve as a liaison with the USFS and represent the association with all Federal and State authorities.  The Chairman will work with the President in managing the association to its mission and in developing the long term strategy of the association.

Add to Article III section 5 - Retiring President shall remain a member of the board of directors for a term of two years following s/he's term as President.

[Dave Esty?] seconded the motion. The motion passed unopposed.

*If there are to be any nominations to the Board, they should come before the Board at the annual meeting in the fall. Don Bishop's move to the Advisory Committee leaves at least one opening on the Board. There is also a vacant slot on the Nominating Committee.

10. USFS Update-Dave Neely:

*There is a new Chief of the Forest Service, Gail Kimbell having resigned. The new chief is Tom Tidwell, who was a Regional Forester in Region 1 (Montana and environs).

*The Forest received its final budget and made out OK. One capitol project is being implemented in the Pinkham parking lot after years and some dedicated service from this group. The next phase will be what to do with the overflow lots. The feeling now is to concentrate all trailhead parking on the Pinkham side of the highway because there is no safe way to cross the highway. This will involve a slight expansion of the Directissima lot and behind the FS garage at the north end of the lots. FOTR can be helpful in explaining the benefits of this arrangement.

*The FS has been listing projects that might qualify for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. A selection that touch on FOTR's mission are: major capitol improvements at Hermit Lake; Tuckerman Ravine Trail renovation; and the FS garage that houses the Pisten Bully needs to be expanded. Dave will be providing a list of projects that FOTR might be able to assist.

*Dave will be heading out to Beaverhead- Deer Lodge National Forest in Montana for a 4-month assignment as acting district ranger. He will probably be putting in for other positions as they open, as there is a fair amount of turnover coming. Justin Preisendorfer will fill in as acting assistant ranger. Chris Joosen will continue as safety officer. As soon as a primary contact for FOTR is determined, the group will be informed.

*Dave explained the current state of the 4-way MOU between MWVSP, AMC, FOTR and the Forest. No comments from MWVSP have been received. Comments from AMC have been received.

*End of audiotape.

Prepared from audiotape 
Jeff Leich, Secretary

 

 

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