By Jeff Jefcoat, F118344
The proposed FMCA Bylaws state, “The President is FMCA’s chief elected officer. The president shall promote FMCA’s welfare and programs and preside at all meetings of the membership, Governing Board, and Executive Board, and shall exercise supervision and control of the affairs and business of FMCA.”
This description of the president’s duties is simple and straightforward, and except for being more concise, is basically the same as the one in the current Bylaws. But it doesn’t really explain the day-to-day work involved. I’d like to cover five key areas to which I devote most of my time and attention, to give you an overview of the FMCA president’s responsibilities.
As part of the advance crew, the president arrives at the convention site at least one week prior to the start of the event, and usually departs one day after the convention ends. Because we have two conventions per year, this totals approximately 40 days, including travel time. The days are consumed with conferences and meetings, starting with a 7:00 a.m. radio briefing and continuing until after evening entertainment ends, usually around 10:00 p.m.
Potential convention site visits
It is difficult to evaluate a potential convention site without personally visiting the location. In 2002 we visited six potential sites: Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina; the Furniture Market in Tupelo, Mississippi; the Horse Park in Gonzales, Louisiana; the New Mexico State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot, North Dakota; and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jerry Yeatts, FMCA’s director of conventions, also visited sites in Dothan, Alabama; St. Paul, Minnesota; and others. Albuquerque, Minot, and Indianapolis now are in our proposed plans as convention sites through 2006.
We have certain requirements for a convention site. They include parking for 5,000 to 7,000 motorhomes (approximately 150 to 200 acres); a minimum of 1 million to 1.3 million square feet of hard or paved surface for motorhome displays; a minimum of 100,000 to 120,000 square feet or more of space for indoor exhibits; an evening entertainment arena or grandstand that seats 8,000 to 12,000; a holding area/overflow parking area of at least 20 acres; 10 seminar rooms of various sizes; a minimum of 2,000 hotel rooms within a 30-mile radius; and much more, such as the availability of rental cars and other transportation, offices, utilities, and access to a major airport.
After it has been determined that a site can possibly accommodate our needs for a convention, follow-up visits are required to assure that we can indeed use it. We schedule the location of various activities, such as entertainment, coffee hour, outdoor commercial coach displays, indoor exhibits, and seminars. We map out parking areas for the handicapped, advance crew, volunteers, etc. We also establish tram routes and security stations and develop maps showing all of the above. In 2002 site visits required an additional 40 days of my schedule.
Ten area rallies were held in 2002, and Jean and I attended seven of them. This took approximately 75 days. The year 2003 again will be filled with events. The 10 area rallies scheduled this year, as well as our two conventions, are listed each month in the magazine’s “Association Calendar” on the “National Conventions & Area Rallies” page. (Turn to page 162 in this issue.)
Each FMCA committee traditionally holds two meetings per year at FMCA’s national office in Cincinnati, Ohio. The president is an ex-officio voting member of each committee. Currently those committees are Constitution and Bylaws, Convention and Rally, Education, Finance, Insurance and Risk Management, Legislative, Long-Range and Development, Membership Recruitment, Membership/Member Services, Policy and Procedure, and the Executive Committee/Board of Directors.
The Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings are scheduled on the last two days, after all committee reports are received, so items can be acted upon for final approval. In 2002, these meetings took approximately 30 days.
The Salary Review Board, of which I am a member, meets at least once each year, and more often if needed.
Daily and weekly, whether traveling or not, I answer phone calls, e-mail messages, and faxes. I communicate almost daily, and sometimes several times a day, with Don Eversmann, FMCA’s executive director.
As you can see, the FMCA president does not have a laid-back life. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. Jean and I love meeting members, seeing old friends and making new ones, and traveling in our motorhome to all parts of this beautiful land. We tell other motorhome owners who aren’t FMCA members about the benefits of joining and give them a magazine.
As with anything in life — family, church, business, school, or neighbors — there are moments that stretch one’s stress level, but they are few and minor when compared with the total experience.
I am honored to have been loaned the title of FMCA president, and I thank you for being members of such an outstanding organization. As 2003 begins, Jean and I wish you all a happy and enjoyable New Year.