AEM Weighs in on Covid-19 Pandemic, Industry Outlook, Association Priorities

SOURCE: AEM | August 31, 2020

The association’s recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ability to respond in support of its members drove discussions of the AEM Board of Directors in its most recent virtual meeting held earlier this month. 

An open forum conducted during the teleconference gave individuals serving on the Board an opportunity to provide thoughts and guidance on the economic outlook for 2021 and priorities for AEM to focus on in the coming year.

The Board reviewed and supported the realignment of AEM’s 2020 goals and priorities as part of the association’s efforts to refocus on supporting members impacted by COVID-19. An AEM staff recommendation to shift the 3-year implementation of the Strategic Plan (2020-2022) to four years (2020-2023) was also approved by the Board, as many initiatives and investments for implementation are being deferred this year due to the impact of COVID-19.

“We were able to pivot accordingly and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by pressing the pause button on our Strategic Plan, and we continued to provide the services and activities to achieve our goals for this year and position us to be successful in 2021.” said AEM President Dennis Slater.

The Board also provided feedback on and supported AEM initiatives underway to identify new business development and revenue creation. Several ideas for fee-based services and better use of statistics data – including using digital data from machines – are being explored in order to provide services and produce revenue.

Other direction on new business development was also provided. The Board called on AEM to:

  • Investigate and take a leadership role to develop the capability to effectively produce virtual elements for exhibitions and events.
  • Examine the Strategic Plan through a “digital lens” to adapt and find opportunities for new services during these changing times. This investment would enable the association to enhance the value of activities for participants while addressing the possible revenue gap created as exhibitions change.

In other action, the Board:

  • Acknowledged guidance from Treasurer Todd Stucke on financial priorities to address in the future.
  • Supported staff plans for the development of an “essentials budget” to be prepared in response to the continued impact of COVID-19 and resulting economic outlook.
  • Received the Treasurer’s Report, which included the following items: 
  •        Year-to-date results through June put the year-end forecast for the net operating income (NOI) at $2.1 million vs. a budgeted $3.2 million.
  •     Noted the budget management measures taken to reduce budget spending by $2.0 million and Strategic Plan spending by $1.3 million.
  • Directed staff to shift the AEM Annual Conference to an all-virtual event for this year. The decision was made following a report on the progress of planning for the conference scheduled for Nov. 18-20 in Napa, California.
  • Approve a proposed 5-year plan developed to significantly expand the reach and effectiveness of AEM’s state advocacy efforts to ensure that association policy priorities are advanced and AEM’s interests are well represented.
  • Noted the progress report from the Nominating Committee to improve diversity and inclusion in the volunteer leadership.
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