Recapping Long Beach
It is always interesting to hear folks speculate. It seems that we rarely speculate that good things are going to happen.
Certainly that was the case for many who anticipated our third trip to Long Beach would bring us to the edge of disaster. We heard predictions that people who had been to our last two conferences in Long Beach would stay away in droves. As is almost always the case, those predictions of doom and gloom were ill-founded as we posted the highest numbers yet for a Long Beach Conference.
As the area around the convention center has been substantially improved, I think all of us were very pleasantly surprised to see even nicer conference amenities than on our past two trips.
I heard nothing but praise for the conference, the programming, the weather, and the fact that we didn't spend a lot of wasted time trying to figure out where to eat, and what was available. Kudos should go to Leon Brauner who had the vision to lead us to signing our first multi-conference contract many years ago. Considering the raised eyebrows that he endured, I think the decision turned out just as he knew it would.
Not only did we have a very successful conference, but the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee did a lot of good work on behalf of the membership and the long term health of the organization. The highlights of which follow:
Given the tremendous amount of international activity that USITT is engaged in, it seems very timely that we create a new position on the Executive Committee to help integrate those efforts into the overall management of the organization. Subsequently, the chair of the International Committee was elevated to a Vice-Presidency. Sandy Bonds has been appointed as an Interim Vice President until we have our first election for that office.
The board also engaged in the first of what will be many discussions of how we should best celebrate the 50th anniversary of USITT, which is but five short years away. We will begin to establish a planning task force in the next few months to explore the best ways to celebrate this milestone in our history.
Under Treasurer Larry Hill's careful leadership, USITT has almost completely redefined the way in which it handles its finances. The Board approved several documents defining how we handle investments, surplus cash on hand, and a variety of other financial issues, which will serve the organization very well in the future.
In addition, we approved a balanced operating budget, which provides strong financial support for two very special projects that will reach fruition at the upcoming Toronto conference.
We also unleashed a new graphics campaign to promote the upcoming Toronto Conference. Designed by our TD&T editors, the new look is exciting, has an appropriate international flavor, and will revitalize what has become a tired format that belies the fact that we are in essence an arts organization made up of designers and theatre artisans.
Finally, we bid farewell to several members of the Executive Committee and Board members. LeRoy Stoner is completing his fourth term as Vice-President for Sections & Chapters. Bill Byrnes finishes out his term as Immediate Past President which concludes what has to be one of the longest tenures on the Executive Committee in the organization's history. We also want to thank Louis Bradfield, Rachel Keebler, Rick Thomas, and Tom Young as they complete their years of tireless service to the Board of Directors.
I think the members of this organization can be intensely proud and secure in the responsible stewardship of its resources.