President’s Updates

President’s Update # 1 – May 19, 2021
By: Tom Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F. ASCE, F. ACEC

Greetings all,

I am honored to serve as GBA’s 51st president! GBA has a long, rich history. Together, we have made our geoprofession better in many ways. I will strive to continue that tradition. During my short time at the helm of this great organization (May 1, 2021 through April 30, 2022), I would like to achieve the following:

1. Lead our 3-year Strategic Planning Meeting this summer. We were due for a new Strategic plan last year, but we all know what happened in 2020. So, in August 2021, GBA’s Board of Directors will assemble in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to develop a new Strategic Plan. This will be an intense two days of planning which will culminate in a new plan for new times. I have been involved with GBA strategic planning before and I assure you, we will develop a high impact plan.

2. Implement a “22 by 2022” membership drive. I am very excited about this membership drive. Why, you ask? Well, GBA has so much to offer other geo-professionals and their firms. We provide high value, focused and reasonably priced opportunities for member firms and their staffs to grow. I have been involved in GBA since 1994 and we have learned so many valuable lessons and business tips over the years. Through GBA, we collectively raise the bar for our geo-profession. Raising the bar translates to good competition, less commoditization, and increased awareness about our value. Our own Matt Moler (S&ME) is leading “22 by 2022” and it is shaping up to be high impact. Matt plans to use external and internal resources for the drive. Stay tuned – it is going to be great.

3. Implement quarterly member outreach zoom meetings. If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is the value of zoom meetings to communicate across geographic lines. GBA committees, staff and special guests will use this platform to communicate important GBA issues, establish and enrich relationships and just have some fun (I cannot wait to relax with members and share some of my favorite drinks)! Teresa Peterson (Gannett Fleming) has agreed to lead this committee with help from Joel and me.

4. Further cement the long and strong relationship between Terra Insurance & GBA. GBA and Terra have been joined together since the very beginning (over 50-years ago). Both organizations have worked tirelessly to raise the bar for our profession, educate geo-professionals and their firms, and minimize risk.

5. Help our committees. GBA’s committees create and publish timely case histories and best practice advice for member firms. GBA’s committees are where much of the action is within GBA. Our committees get stuff done! GBA’s leadership will help:

o smooth the publication and distribution processes with website upgrades,
o offer new publication and distribution platforms, e.g., podcasts, and,
o provide engagement opportunities with other member firms through quarterly zoom meetings.

6. Write monthly president’s articles like this one! It is my way to better connect you with GBA’s leadership, provide some lessons learned, show you how we continue to make GBA better and improve your GBA experience.

Let’s work hard, improve ourselves, and have some fun this year! If you have any ideas about how to improve these initiatives or add new ones, please give me a call. Thank you for supporting GBA!