Resource Magazine — July/August 2013
Change Language:
from the President
Tony Kajewski

Ag and Bio Engineers Reach Out to the World

This has been a great year for our Society. The highlights for me are many. I have been able to attend many section meetings and ASABE events where membership acumen and enthusiasm never cease to amaze. We have outreach down to a science!

Seeing the breadth of our Society in action, especially at AETC/Ag Connect, where we recognized the innovations and acknowledged the diverse areas in the profession, was inspiring.

Now is a great time to be an ASABE member. We are on the path to not just bigger, but better.

After two years of member feedback and discussion, we continue to move ahead as a Society with the well-thought recommendation from the Path Forward Committee as brought forward at last year’s AIM: implementing a structural change within ASABE that better serves both agricultural and biological engineers based on feedback received by the Future Thinking Committee.

In 2005, we changed our name from ASAE to ASABE, adding “Biological” to our moniker. And with respect to our now defining and broadened name, we need to “regroup” as well—to reflect the widened encompassment of areas of ASABE expertise.

Therefore, at the 2013 AIM, each existing technical committee will be asked to (1) examine the short description of their committee in the ASABE Roster and affirm it or revise it; (2) select up to five keywords that describe the committee’s focus such that technical papers to be presented or standards to be revised will line up with the committee’s keywords; and (3) choose a first choice (and if desired more choices) among the nine locations on the new structure where the committee finds the strongest identity or affiliation. Those committees wishing to consider a name change are invited to do.

Each committee will submit its information to the steering committee for the current division. The steering committees will be asked to make a decision about the nonresponding committee(s). The compiled information for the division will be forwarded to the Implementation Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees (BOT). This Committee will report to the BOT when enough committees have identified themselves with the new structure for the transition to be complete. This Committee will finalize the new committee structure. The end goal is to better describe who ASABE is, where someone fits in the structure, and why making a decision to become a member should be a “no-brainer.”

Another advantage of this restructuring will be to improve our Annual International Meeting. A new software tool will help facilitate organizing sessions around attendee interest areas rather than relying primarily on the division committee structure. A test of this is underway with the 2013 Call for Papers. When submitting their abstracts via the web-based ScholarOne Abstracts site, authors were requested to submit up to five keywords. The software on the site allows an initial sort of the papers to help group them by topics for possible technical sessions. The electronic sort would be examined by division program chairs (or another group of volunteer leaders), not just used as generated. In some cases, this may lead to a single session with all the speaking times filled, instead of two less-than- full sessions offered by two different committees on similar topics. For the 2014 meeting, a keyword list generated by the committees in the process described above will help to match papers with a common theme to the appropriate technical session.

At AIM 2014, committee meetings will be advertised for the first time by the names in the new structure. In the 2013-14 Membership Roster—also a first—committees will be listed by the new groups with which the committees identified themselves in 2013.

Quite simply, we want members to define their areas of interest and expertise—to open up pathways for information gathering, communication, and networking.

As I said earlier, now is a great time to be an ASABE member. We are on the path to not just bigger but better— better connected with each other.

It has been an honor to serve as your president.