As I put hands to keyboard to write my August column I am only a few days away from heading off to our 2008 National Convention in St. Thomas, Ont.
The elected Officers of COPA each serve for a two-year term and this year is the end of that term. At our Board meeting in St. Thomas on July 11, your Board will elect a new Chair, Eastern and Western Vice-Chairs, Secretary and Treasurer for a new two-year term.
By the time you read this there will be a new slate of Officers in place to carry on for the next two years. Some positions might be occupied by the same Directors, others by new Directors. What I will be doing at that time remains to be seen. So I want to take this opportunity to pass on a few thoughts from my experience as Chair of the Board for the last two years.
I’ve had the opportunity to be much closer to the action as Chair than previously as a Director. One thing I can assure you of is that you have a very competent and dedicated group of people working for you at COPA. I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again. Nobody in Canada works harder to preserve our freedom to fly than our President, Kevin Psutka. Kevin is extremely knowledgeable and completely committed to Personal Aviation. We are lucky to have him.
During the past two years Kevin has done some constructive re-organizing, or re-engineering as we say in the corporate world. The result is a really solid organization of nine really good people working for you, our members. Look on the third page of this paper or in the "contact us" section of our website to see exactly who does what.
If you think for a moment just what COPA does for you, the amount of work accomplished by just nine people is amazing. They sign-up or renew an average of 70 memberships per day, provide telephone and email assistance to any number of our 18,000 members every day depending on the issues of the day, publish an 80 page newspaper every month and handle the advertising to pay for it, manage our various membership programs and benefits, manage the finances and accounting activities of a medium size organization, deal with the regulators, aviation service providers, and various government departments on a constant stream of issues big and small, and much more.
Think about this the next time you wonder why COPA may not be working on an issue you think is important. The amount of work accomplished for your $55 membership is a tribute to the effectiveness of the COPA staff, but that $55 only goes so far.
More is needed to deal with the constant barrage of challenges to our freedom to fly. The Special Action Fund makes it possible to engage legal and consulting assistance when required to battle the really big issues. COPA recently launched a campaign to bring more donations into the Special Action Fund so that we will be able to continue this work as the challenges become larger.
What I find frustrating is that there are another 16,000 pilots out there who benefit from all the fine advocacy work that COPA does but choose not to support that work by becoming members. This is something we all should be working to fix by bringing in new members from that group.
It has been an honour to work as Chair of your Board for the past two years and I look forward to continuing to contribute as much as I possibly can in support of the COPA Mission, "COPA protects personal aviation and promotes it as a valued, integral and sustainable part of the Canadian community".
Keep your prop spinning.