Mary Leigh Wolfe 2016-06-29 04:39:12
“It was a very strong year ...” “Partnerships” was a major focus of my presidential year. Partnerships include members working together within ASABE, as well as ASABE partnering with other organizations to achieve common goals and address common challenges. Over the past year, ASABE members and staff have worked together, and with outside partners, to pursue our mission and continue to benefit the people of the world. There is not enough room in this report to mention all of ASABE’s activities and accomplishments during the past year. The sample selected illustrates the broad range of Society activities. Society outreach We have been deeply engaged in outreach activities throughout the past year, carefully selecting events and partnerships that provide valuable opportunities to advance Society goals. ASABE was a sponsor of the Smithsonian Institution’s Food History Gala in Washington, D.C. A few months later, ASABE leadership participated in a Congressional Visits Day organized by the Tri- Societies (agronomy, crop science, and soil science) that focused on funding for the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and featured a presentation by Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture. We followed up by participating in the 16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment, “The Food-Energy-Water Nexus,” also in Washington, D.C., and the Water for Food Global Conference at the University of Nebraska, where we had the honor of attending the premiere of “The Thirsty Land,” a documentary film that ASABE helped sponsor. We are very excited to be hosting an ASABE Global Initiative Conference in South Africa later this year, “Engineering and Technology Innovation for Global Food Security,” in partnership with Stellenbosch University. We are gratified by the partners and sponsors providing support, and we look forward to a very productive and rewarding conference. Serving our members But our gaze is not only outward. We are also keeping a sharp eye on member needs. A committee focusing on student outreach created momentum in 2015 to bring more attention to student activities at the ASABE Annual International Meeting (AIM) and thereby deepen engagement among our younger members. That momentum is continuing into 2016, with scheduling and program changes attuned to the needs and expectations of preprofessional attendees. Competitions and events are being rescheduled to minimize conflicts and facilitate attendance. The first-ever Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Student Awards and Recognition Breakfast will replace the AEM Student Luncheon and provide a dedicated venue for the recognition of most student scholarship, award, and competition winners. A two-year collaboration with McKinley Advisors to increase membership and retention ended in July 2015. The second half of our work with McKinley focused on student recruitment, an AIM campaign to drive registration and new member recruitment (especially of students and young professionals), a proud member campaign, and a volunteer toolkit to aid in industry recruitment. The efforts were successful. By the end of June 2015, membership among students and professionals had grown, reversing a seven-year trend, and the combined AIM attendance of students and young professionals increased by nearly 20% over 2014. In addition, records were broken in both May and June of 2015 for new full members, and we ended 2015 with total membership growth for the first time since 2008. On-line resources and website improvements In preparation for a move to computerbased testing for professional licensure— that is, for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam—ASABE volunteers from the EOPD-414 Engineering Licensure committee created an electronic reference resource for the agricultural and biological engineering (ABE) exam. Seven sections have been posted online, and candidates have been invited to use this resource while preparing for the ABE exam. Much of the material was extracted from ASABE textbooks and other publications. ASABE staff have assisted with document preparation and obtaining publishing permissions as needed. The work was supported by Initiative Funds, and additional funds have been awarded to continue work for this vital resource. As demonstrated by the need for electronic PE exam resources, the demand for digital tools and communications continues to grow, and ASABE is keeping pace. The ASABE website remains the central focus of the Society’s digital efforts. A usability study was undertaken in 2015 with the help of The Understanding Group (TUG), who conducted a site review that examined elements impacting all of the website’s users. Interviews of members and nonmembers were designed to identify key flows and tasks that would likely be performed by both groups. TUG’s final report resulted in a number of short-term, prioritized quick fixes with little associated cost, and a longer-term roadmap for more complex (and more expensive) changes. As website technology and user expectations evolve, this exercise will remain valuable in improving the user experience. In fact, it is already proving useful in current follow- on work with TUG that involves a deeper study of the user experience. This work will result in the first major upgrade of the website since the current site launched in 2011. Digital marketing and publishing The website is one component, and arguably the core, of ASABE’s digital presence, but in its goal of serving all constituencies, the Society continues to expand utilization of all digital tools—the Technical Library, event registration, social media, and more. One project that will see increased effort in 2016 is a digital marketing strategy that will be implemented in the coming months to better leverage ASABE’s digitally available content. We’re also keeping pace with digital publication trends. Instructions for manuscripts have been updated so that reference lists will more closely reflect American Psychological Association editorial style guidelines. Consistent application of these guidelines in ASABE journal articles will facilitate use of referencing software. As a result of a 2013 government mandate, publications reporting research that was supported by U.S. federal funding must soon be made available at no charge to the public within one year of publication. Ordinarily, ASABE does not provide full access to publications except as a benefit of membership or site license, but we are fully complying with the mandate. Our manuscript submission system, ScholarOne, now allows identification of affected papers at the time of submission. Likewise, our manuscript processing software is advancing as well, so that we can make these documents available as required. ASABE standards activities We are pleased to share the formal American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announcement of our standards program reaccreditation in January 2016. This closes the books on our most recent five-year ANSI audit and includes approval of our revised standardization procedures. The new procedures include a number of improvements suggested by ANSI or ASABE members and are expected to improve efficiency. ASABE continues to seek collaboration with a variety of organizations. The Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA), AgGateway, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) are just a few examples of our widereaching efforts toward collaboration. FEMA continues its strong standards support by directly contributing and buying ASABE standards for its members. One of the most significant of ASABE’s projects with AgGateway has been the inclusion of terms and definitions from ASABE standards into AgGateway’s searchable database known as the AgGlossary. To date, more than 3,000 terms and definitions, from 19 ASABE standards and engineering practices, have been entered into the publicly available AgGlossary. This represents about 10% of all terms in the glossary to date. A current priority of the Standards & Technical Council is to align ASABE agricultural equipment standards with those of CSA. Because CSA routinely endorses or adopts various ASABE and ISO standards, alignment provides opportunities to introduce newly published ASABE standards for consideration. There is great benefit to the North American agricultural equipment industry in having binational alignment regarding design standards. ASABE’s leadership as U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for ISO Technical Committee 293, Feed Machinery, has resulted in strengthened ties to AFIA. As a result, ASABE staff and members have been invited to speak at AFIA events and have heavily promoted the development and maintenance of industry standards, attending trade shows to network and draw additional participants and interest to this important work. Other involvement in ISO work will strengthen ASABE’s ties to the fertilizer and biogas industries. U.S. TAG administration of ISO Technical Committee 134, Fertilizers and Soil Conditioners, was transferred from The Fertilizer Institute to ASABE, which provides ample opportunity to impact this important sector of the agricultural economy. Additionally, the ASABE Board approved 2016 Initiative Funds to allow ASABE involvement in ISO Technical Committee 255, Biogas, an avenue for greater involvement with the renewable energy industry. This has been a strong year for ASABE I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be in the midst of the excitement. Members and staff moved ASABE forward and set the stage for continued success in the future. In the next year, I look forward to continuing to build partnerships and to supporting Maynard Herron during his term as president.
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