Executive Director Report For the 2016 Annual General Meeting
prepared by Jerry Rousseau
This report follows the same format as monthly reports from the Executive Director (ED) to the WCTA Board and will be included in the Annual General Meeting information package.
The WCTA’s fiscal year-end is September 30. This timing marks the start of our operations high season that lasts until April during which the majority of our revenue for the year is taken in. Over 1000 revenue transactions and about 500 expense transactions will take place in this period including annual dues payments, conference registrations, trade show booth invoicing, and myriad operational processes.
It’s also a busy time for conference production, execution and post-production, CEC program administration, Board meetings and it’s the start of our Turf Line News magazine production cycle with three of four annual issues produced and distributed between September and March.
From April well into the fall, the event, meeting and function season takes place necessitating a lot of ‘road time’. It’s an opportunity to touch base with many of our members, allied groups, and government contacts and is the period when planning, program development and administration happens along with the summer TLN and member directory production.
Major events and meetings since 2015 AGM:
Mar 7-13 52nd Annual WCTA Conference & Trade Show
Mar 23 NGCOA Spring Warmup
Apr 27-29 AGA-BC Golf Awareness Day
June 1 BCGSA meeting
June 3 BCGSA meeting
June 11 Environmental Advocacy Committee meeting
June 29 WCTA strategic planning meeting
Aug 24 First Green Train-the-trainer
Aug 27 PTRC Turf Day
Aug 29-31 BCGSA Exchange
Sep 9-10 CanWest Hort Show
Sep 19-23 CGSA Fall Field Day
Sept 24 Fraser Valley Superintendent meeting
Oct 2 First Green demo
Oct 4-6 NTA Conference
Oct 28 Environmental Committee meeting
Nov 28 – Dec 2 AGSA Property Managers Conference
Dec 8 Metro-Vancouver Water Authority consultation
• Victoria Conference ran smoothly and was successful with 313 delegates in attendance.
• Membership numbers stable year-over-year, 88 new this year, attrition rate average is 12.1%.
• Turf Line News, e-newsletter and website have improved dramatically since engaging our media partner IG Designs, performance data verifies this assessment.
• CEC software development underway, phase 3 of 5 complete.
• 2nd First Green pilot event held in October at Redwoods Golf Course with BC Environment Minister Mary Polak in attendance.
• Available research project funding for 2015 was $13,146. Since 1997, WCTA has invested $513,927 into turf research.
• Environmental Advocacy committee received $15k in funding from Ministry of Environment. Issue of drought and water use restrictions became important this past summer. We are working with Metro Vancouver Water Authority on this issue.
• The WCTA participated in the CGSA consultation process this past year culminating in a meeting amongst provincial golf associations in Banff this past fall where strategies to move forward the national golf course superintendent body were discussed. On December 8th, the CGSA announced an administrative and conference partnership with the BCGSA and has decided not to partner with the WCTA on future conferences in British Columbia.
• Major administrative overhauls to database and information systems are progressing, the most impactful has been an increase of approximately 400 distribution list contacts.
2015 Victoria Conference The annual conference and trade show is our largest single undertaking with well over 1000 labour hours invested in planning, production and execution. The event accounts for approximately 55-59% of our annual gross revenue.
Reflecting on March 9-12, 2015, the event ran smoothly and weather was amazing. While other parts of the country were in a deep freeze, it became evident our golf tournament participants, as they returned from a beautiful day at Olympic View, should have been wearing better sunscreen!
On the production side, technically challenging functions went equally well, for instance, we worried about having just an hour and a half to get approximately 200 members, almost triple the previous attendance record, to the AGM luncheon on Wednesday. Everyone needed to be verified as members in good standing, seated, fed/watered and a full agenda presented that included 25 Special Resolutions along with an election that saw two presidential candidates for the first time in WCTA history.
Later and for the first time, we wrapped up the day with an early evening trade show reception, a well-deserved social networking opportunity at the end of a very busy day. With 85 booths, 313 delegates and 175 pizzas, the trade show floor was humming with activity until around 7:30pm. Afterward, delegates were on their own for some free time with several suppliers hosting their own hospitality functions. We continued the next day with keynote speaker, Jim Reger, 4 hours of trade show time and Dr. Frank Rossi delivering an informative wrap-up address at the closing.
In terms of financial performance, we fell slightly short of budget with profit just under $28,000 versus budget of $32,995 due to less than anticipated trade show uptake. Careful expense management without sacrificing show integrity was critical to keeping the final revenue close to target.
Membership numbers are dynamic and fluctuate throughout the year. Year-end is the only time we can effectively take stock of our member numbers and make year-over-year comparisons.
Membership remains relatively stable since we began tracking metrics in 2009. Attrition has averaged 12.1% over the last 6 years. At the time of writing, the WCTA is 715 members strong.
Turf Line News, E-News & Website
The TLN (hardcopy and electronic), electronic newsletter and website is a joint effort with our communication partner, IG Design. These three media are complementary communication platforms, designed to relay news and information to a wide range of industry personnel. While our membership hovers around 700, the communication distribution list is nearly double that number. We also use direct email for job postings to members only.
Our partnership with IG has given us the ability to dramatically improve our communication efforts in terms of volume, quality and content all while substantially reducing production time and costs. The end result is far better service to our membership versus DIY with no loss of editorial control. It also means more revenue for the association that used to go toward postage, supplies and administration.
We’re also able to measure the result of our efforts like never before, for example, e-news open rates average an astounding 37.5% with certain mailings approaching 50%. We can determine the best time to send a newsletter, track a variety of website metrics and are able to view our distribution list growth over time (see chart below).
In order to administer nearly 300 individuals on the Continuing Education Credit service, the development of a new, robust CEC point tracking program began during the summer of 2014. A large amount of planning and policy creation was needed prior to ‘construction’ and hundreds of hours have been spent working through details as the software is being written.
The project, planned in five phases, has taken longer than originally anticipated due to limited staff time available for consulting with the developer. We have been able to complete Phase 3 and will continue working on the program later this spring with implementation expected before the end of summer.
On October 2nd, the WCTA hosted the second ‘First Green’ event ever held in Canada at the Redwoods Golf Course in Langley, BC. Environment Minister Mary Polak attended along with Kris Jonasson, Executive Director and David Atkinson, President, of the BC Golf Association and dignitaries from the Delta School District. A couple weeks prior to the event, a train-the-trainer day was held.
The WCTA has become intimately involved with First Green, a program designed to use golf courses as learning environments for school aged kids with superintendents and their staff delivering the lessons. The program, which can easily cross to sportsfields and parks, was developed in Seattle over a decade ago and has seen more than 15,000 kids attend hundreds of events.
In July, the WCTA entered into an official partnership agreement with First Green to promote the program to our membership throughout western Canada.
Since 1997, The WCTA has invested $513,927 into turf research projects. The highest dollar figure in any one year was $53,230 (2002) with an average of just under $27,000 annually. The money comes from 10% of all member dues, 30% of any net operating profit at year end, but mostly, from the contributions made by those in the industry and the hard work of many individuals over the years directed at fund-raising initiatives
Based on funds raised in 2014, the dollar value available to the Research Committee for 2015 projects was $13,146. The following projects were put forward by the Research Committee and approved by the WCTA Board for 2015 funding:
Project Title: Canadian Turf Research Foundation Cooperative Funding
Past and current research is published at www.turfresearchcanada.ca
PROJECT LENGTH: multiple projects / varies
WCTA COMMITMENT: $4,000 TOTAL
PROJECT VALUE: $231,000 over 3 years (2013 – 2015)
Project Title: Economic Analysis of Natural and Synthetic Sportsfields, Dr. Eric Lyons, University of Guelph
PROJECT LENGTH: 2 years WCTA
COMMITMENT: $15,000 TOTAL
PROJECT VALUE: $22,500 STATUS: in progress
Update on Previous Research
WCTA’s 2-year, $40,000 USD funding commitment of the Oregon State University project titled ‘Evaluation of Alternative Management Strategies to Reduce or Eliminate the Use of Fungicides for Control of Microdochium Patch’ lead by Clint Mattox has been fulfilled. A final report has been posted at www.wcta-online.com under the Research tab.
WCTA’s 2-year, $5000 funding commitment of the City of Kelowna project titled ‘Investigation of the Okanagan Valley resident Canada goose sub-population to assist with strategic goose management’ lead by Kate Hagmeier of EBB Consulting, has been fulfilled. A link to the final report has been posted at www.wcta-online.com under the Research tab.
The committee has received $15,000 in funding from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to assist with the development of an IPM standard for fine turf. MOE released an IPM regulation policy update late last spring and shortly thereafter, a lengthy consultation meeting took place between ministry and committee representatives.
The issue of drought and water use restrictions became important for many WCTA members located in the Greater Vancouver area this past summer. AGA-BC spearheaded two separate meetings with the Metro-Vancouver water authority, both taking place on Dec 8.
Both meetings were highly successful with Metro Vancouver considering our ask of letting golf courses use water based on a water management plan, like already in place in North Vancouver and Burnaby (and the state of California), versus arbitrary restrictive regulations based on time or area. The WCTA continues to be a main driving force behind both AGA-BC and the Environmental Advocacy Committee.
At an organizational level, the WCTA interacts and works with many other groups to varying degrees and times, for example, BCGSA, CGSA, STC, NTA, BCGA, NGCOA, CTRF, IIABC, BCLNA, OGSA, AGSA, BCRPA, IIABC, GCSAA, YVR and many more.
51 WCTA members from the sportsfield sector have taken advantage of our ½ price Sports Turf Canada (STC) dues agreement. The 2015 sportsfield pre-conference seminar was presented in partnership with STC. WCTA Director Stan Kazymerchyk has been named as the WCTA representative on the STC Board with the goal of furthering relationships between the two groups.
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association has requested our assistance with their National Sod Grower Committee strategic planning and a national occupational standards initiative. The common thread is promoting the benefits of turf and we have provided reports describing WCTA activities such as drought advocacy, outreach programming, research, IPM and resources related to societal benefits of golf and turf. The potential exists to establish a sod grower committee within our membership.
After many months of consultation with their members and stakeholders which included comprehensive feedback from the WCTA, on December 8th the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association announced their intention to partner with the BC Golf Superintendents Association in areas of administration, association management, advocacy, corporate involvement and staging of future national events in British Columbia.
After lengthy discussion, the WCTA Board sent the ‘Important Letter to Members’ on December 23rd, addressing its concerns that the CGSA announcement was made without any prior communication to the WCTA Board or any form of opportunity to be included in the ‘go-forward’ agreement.
A meeting of WCTA Past Presidents was held on Tuesday, January 5th, aimed at discussing ramifications of the CGSA’s strategy to the approximately 300 WCTA golf members representing nearly 60% of the province’s golf courses and to determine how best to serve this sector moving forward.
WCTA Annual Report with Special Resolution #14 adopted at our 2015 AGM was filed with BC Corporate Registry May 6, 2015. It will be an ongoing process to review the bylaws and align our operational policies with this new document.
This summer, multiple EXCEL datasets were consolidated into a single file in preparation for the new CEC software which will double as an information management system. The process allowed us to expand our distribution list by approximately 400 contacts who were not in the system.
Our involvement with ‘Techsoup’, a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations that provides technology and other resources to the voluntary sector, has benefited greatly over the past three years. Latest software downloads are Adobe XI Pro which will allow us to create fillable PDF’s. Our Quickbooks annual user subscription is also purchased through this service ($48 vs. $300USD). Anyone involved with NFP’s and needs access to software should check out TechsoupCanada.ca.
2016/2017 planning & programming
CEC software development
Preparation for new Turf Line News digital version
Environmental Advocacy, ie. Metro-Vancouver water
Summer meeting and event participation
2017 Conference production
Jerry Rousseau, WCTA Executive Director