By R.G. Wilson, F21025
In my December 2004 “President’s Message” column I reported on FMCA’s standing committees and explained their purposes and functions. The FMCA president appoints members to two other groups that I did not mention at that time, but they are very important to FMCA and our first-class magazine, Family Motor Coaching.
The Technical Advisory Committee is a highly qualified group of individuals selected from our family membership to review technical material prior to publication in the magazine. Several of them also write technical articles for our magazine or help to answer reader inquiries directed to the “Tech Talk” column.
The other group is the FMC Magazine Panel. These individuals are dedicated members who have volunteered to read the articles in our magazine each month and give their written critique to me and the magazine staff. Their comments are very important and are taken seriously to help us improve the quality of and interest in our magazine.
I appreciate the services the members of these two groups perform in helping to make Family Motor Coaching the best magazine in the RV industry.
Robert Korb, F116983, a member of the Magazine Panel, does a superb job in his monthly magazine review and comments. He suggested recently that I bring the membership up-to-date on the progress of the permanent convention site project.
Although I have commented on this subject many times in my President’s Forum at area rallies, I realized I have not reported to the general membership. Based on the results of the survey sent out shortly after I was elected president, I felt FMCA should pursue this possibility. This was done on a limited basis by me and members of the Executive Board. We did not feel that FMCA funds should be spent in hiring outside professional services to perform this study.
We received several contacts from interested parties and pursued two of them. After studying acquisition costs, developmental costs, and estimated operational and maintenance costs, we have decided it is not feasible for FMCA to handle such a project alone. We believe this would need to be a joint venture with other organizations. The RV manufacturers would need to make major commitments. The prospective city and state where the facility would be located would need to see the benefits and make a major financial commitment to the partnership. We have not seen any strong support along these lines to date.
Another serious problem associated with our convention activities is various states’ restrictions with relationship to permitting FMCA to bring in out-of-state manufacturers and dealers to our international conventions. We have been devoting much of our time to getting legislation passed in some central states so we can hold our convention there. If we do not succeed in these political efforts, our future convention activities could be in jeopardy. As many of you know, facilities that are capable of handling our international conventions, where we host 5,000 or more motorhomes, are very few.
I believe we should keep the option open for a permanent convention site; however, I would like for you to consider the following thoughts.
When I was first elected national treasurer about seven years ago, consideration was being given to acquiring a larger facility and moving our national FMCA headquarters, because we could not expand at our current location on Clough Pike or at the location on Round Bottom Road. After considering property at other locations, a decision was made to stay where we are and to move one of our departments to our Round Bottom Road location.
After serving in three national officer positions during the past seven years, I am convinced that we should have relocated and combined our operations in one location. While I believe our staff is functioning as efficiently as possible in dual locations, it would be more cost-effective to operate an association such as ours in one location. This would eliminate the need for employees to travel back and forth between the two offices, and would avoid the dual utility costs that we now have. In my opinion, we need to relocate to a place where we have good accessibility to cross-country interstates; construct a building that will house all of our activities in one facility and provide room for growth; and acquire sufficient land that will permit construction of a campground large enough to handle our committee needs and accommodate our members passing through who desire to spend the night. It is difficult to justify conducting our business operations in two separate locations approximately four miles apart.
I realize this is a long-range project and will take many years to accomplish. I believe now is the time we should start looking for a location and acquiring the land. Land will continue to escalate in price. If we were to use some of our reserve funds for this project, I believe it would be a wise investment, and we would be planning for a great future for Family Motor Coach Association. Think about it and share your thoughts with me at [email protected] or by sending a note to me in care of the FMCA National Office, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244.
Trip Routing Reminder
Members who request FMCA Trip Routing using a form from the pages of Family Motor Coaching magazine should check to be sure they take it from a magazine published after September 2004. FMCA switched service providers for the trip routing service as of that month, so older issues of the magazine contain forms with an outdated address. The current provider is SDSI, not Rand McNally. Sending your trip routing request to the old address will delay your receipt of materials.