Since we are going to New Orleans for the conference this year, allow me to borrow a few catch phrases to pay tribute to one of New Orleans' most famous residents, Emeril Lagasse. They are very appropriate to describe our current membership activity in the Association for Facilities Engineering.
Last couple of years we have been working very hard to TAKE AFE UP A FEW NOTCHES, in membership growth, value and activity. And BAM!- we have been very successful at generating more awareness, excitement and energy nationwide. The efforts of 2000 and 2001 surpass our annual figures during the 90's.
Last year AFE Regional Vice Presidents took on the challenge to support revitalization of at least two new chapters in their respective regions. Now several chapters, including St Louis, San Francisco, Columbus, Charlotte and several others are back on track to AFE success. Several new chapters are being developed.
In 2001 numerous dignitaries have joined the Association for Facilities Engineering in order to receive some professional development opportunities. Several notable new members including Jim Rose, chief engineer for the Empire State Building, Terry O'Hanlon of Reliability Web, Don Fitchett of Business Industrial Network, Joe Peterson of Reliability Magazine joined in along with the over 1000 new members from last year. Last year several hundred professionals became Certified Plant Maintenance Managers and Certified Plant Engineers.
The camaraderie available through AFE membership is very valuable resource to have during times of economic and social crisis.
Due to economic challenges AFE membership became a very valuable tool for several hundreds of our members in locating new employees and new opportunities. I am able speak for this benefit personally, since my AFE colleagues helped me to find my dream job last year. Our active members were able to access numerous resources to help them elevate their performance last year.
The end of last year the unthinkable became thinkable. The worst thoughts imaginable became reality. American buildings became targets. The mail became weapons.
We needed to leaned on each other. One of our members articulated our pain on 9/11 in a beautiful poem entitled "I lost a brother today."
Despite the potential of terrorism two weeks later AFE courageously still held our conference. During the Facilities America conference the reading of the poem inspired us to spontaneously create a new fund to assist our fallen comrades families. We were able to give a check to the families of the WTC facility personnel victims before the holidays. However we are not done yet. We want to continue to make a difference our comrades' families. This year we are challenging each chapter to raise $1000 for the AFE WTC Family Relief Fund. By the 2002 Conference our goal is to raise at least $100,000 for the families of the unsung heroes in Facility field.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve each of you for another year as VP of Membership. The Association for Facilities Engineering has been a terrific resource for our profession for almost 50 years. And together we can still take AFE UP SEVERAL MORE NOTCHES.
Best wishes in the coming year!
Joel A. Leonard
843 296 9043