91st Annual Meeting, Awards Banquet, and Elections
President's Speech

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State of the Club
Joe Lombardo, President

 

Council and Club Members, staff and special guests – ladies and gentlemen:

Joe LombardoI am pleased to report that the state of our Club is strong! We are in solid financial shape and poised to continue making valuable contributions to maintaining and protecting trails in the mid-Atlantic region for many years to come.

We have had our fair share of challenges this past year and have come through in excellent condition. In the face of the severe weather we experienced over extended periods of time this year, our volunteers again proved they are among the best and are key to achieving our mission. More than 1500 highly committed volunteers logged more than 90,000 service hours. The lion’s share of hours was concentrated in key areas for our mission – trails, cabins, shelters, and trail patrol.

Our Club’s governance bodies include Council, which serves as our board of directors; our Executive Committee comprised of the elected officers, our general counsel and staff director; and our various committees and other structures which organize and manage the Club’s work. These governing bodies bring together a diversity of perspectives that sometimes lead to a vigorous debate on the issues.

While some would mischaracterize that debate as a sign of discord, we encourage this type of debate, as it actually strengthens our decision-making process by challenging all of us to bring forward the best arguments and the most well thought out proposals. This process helps us build the consensus needed to address whatever challenges we face.

Over the past year, our officers and directors worked collaboratively to build the stability and cohesion among our leadership that has allowed our Club to achieve significant reforms in governance and management. The turnover in officer positions we experienced in 2017 gave way to a tremendous stability with turnover in only one officer position this year. We built a strong leadership team which allowed us to effect important changes. Examples of some of the more salient achievements our Executive Committee and Council enacted include:

•    Election committee reforms to improve the election process
•    A restructuring of Council to place more emphasis on its policy-making functions
•    Shifting HR matters to EXCOM to free up the VP for Volunteerism to focus on volunteer support and promoting volunteer opportunities
•    New policies to improve staff management and morale
•    Hiring a new staff director with the leadership and management skills needed for the job
•    Endorsing a constitutional amendment to close gaps in filling vacant officer positions; and
•    Purchasing land to protect the Appalachian Trail viewshed

I would like to recognize in particular our Club’s officers, who play such a key role in guiding the day-to-day operations of the Club and who helped shape the agenda for our Council to make these accomplishments a reality.

Club Officers
Rush Williamson - Vice President for Operations
John Hedrick - Supervisor of Trails
Chris Mangold - Supervisor of Lands
Emeline Otey - Supervisor of Marketing
Glen Tsaparas - Supervisor of Facilities
Steve McLaughlin - Supervisor of Membership
Randy Motz - Supervisor of Outreach
Anstr Davidson - Supervisor of Communications
Marc Mantelli - Treasurer
Michael Brown - Secretary

We could not have achieved what we did without our dedicated staff who support us in our work. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our staff and ask those present tonight to please stand when I call your name and be recognized. Again, I would ask the audience to hold your applause until all those called have stood up.

Staff
Heidi Forest - Trails Management Coordinator
Martha Reynolds - Cabins Coordinator
Diane Yang - Publications Marketing and Sales Coordinator
Nicolas Haynor - Finance Coordinator
Rachel Rahm - Accounting Asst and Social Media Coordinator
Kit Sheffield - Membership and IT Coordinator
Glen Breining - Bears Den Trail Center Manager
Robert Christianson - Staff Director

Our Club also depends on our working collaboratively with our partners and donors in the broader trail community. I want to thank all those organizations and major donors who support PATC and take this time to acknowledge some of our important partners and donors who are with us this evening.

Partners
George Liffert - Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Jim Schaberl - Shenandoah National Park
Kevin Soviak - Shenandoah National Park
John Noel - C & O Canal National Historical Park
Michele Sandy - NW Federal Credit Union
Sandi Marra - Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Suzanne Dixon - Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  
Finally, I want to acknowledge you, our members. None of the achievements we have made would have been possible without your support and generosity through your membership dues and generous in-kind and monetary donations to fund major projects, such as the new septic system at the Blackburn Trail Center. We hope you will continue to provide support during our End-of-Year PATC18 fundraising drive which is underway now to help us fund important initiatives, such as storm damage repairs, that go beyond what our normal budget can handle.

Over the coming year, we will build on what we have achieved this past year to further improve our ability to fulfill our mission. Through the work of our committed volunteers, dedicated officers and directors and our highly qualified staff we will continue to work collaboratively with our donors and partners in the broader trail community to fulfill our commitment to provide the best trail system possible for the enjoyment of all for generations to come.

I remain confident and optimistic about our Club’s ability to meet the challenges we may face as we approach our centennial anniversary and prepare to embark on our second century.

Our membership is strong; our finances sound; and the Club’s governance is up to the challenge!