President’s Update # 9 – January 25, 2022



My GBA Initiatives Revisited

By: Tom Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F. ASCE, F. ACEC

Hello fellow geoprofessionals! I am having so much fun as your 51st president. My presidential year is flying by. We’re making good memories and getting lots of important stuff done.

Here is a summary of our progress on my presidential initiatives after almost 9-months:

1. Update 3-year Strategic Plan. During the annual summer meeting in August 2021, GBA’s Board of Directors met in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to collaborate on a fresh Strategic Plan for 2024. We are now preparing the final action plan and expect to introduce the new 2024 Strategic Plan to those gathered at our Winter Leadership Summit with an official roll-out before the start of our FY2022-2023.

2. Membership Drive – “22 by 2022”. In the last nine-months, we have recruited 12 new members with a focused recruiting effort! Matt Moler and Joel Carson are working hard on this several phase initiatives. In Phase 1, GBA performed extensive outreach with support of a marketing consultant. We elevated awareness of GBA’s value among potential recruits through direct communication and indirectly on social media platforms. We are now focused on Phase 2 of our campaign that includes recruiting the “best fit” geoprofessional firms with support of our members.

We seek to expand our impacts by offering membership to a select group of geoprofessional businesses so we can collectively raise the bar for our profession. This controlled growth will result in higher quality geoprofessional services with a reduction in commoditization while increasing awareness about our value.

3. Quarterly member outreach. Joel coined these outreach meetings, “Toddies with Tom” to promote a quarterly outreach effort. We’ve had three of them so far, and they have helped us distribute timely and valuable information to geoprofessional business leaders while we have fun together. Please join us on Friday, February 25th for our next Toddies with Tom. We plan to talk about ownership transition with members that have recent, first-hand experience. Teresa Peterson (Gannett Fleming) is doing a great job organizing these meetings.

4. Enhance the long and strong relationship between Terra Insurance and GBA. Over the last 9-months, our collaboration with Terra Insurance Company has increased and David Coduto, Terra’s President, has presented at “Toddies with Tom” twice. We will continue to build on our long partnership with Terra Insurance Company because, collaboration helps both of us and together we achieve more!

5. Committee Support. At the request of Committee leaders, GBA adopted “MyCommittee” software collaboration platform to enhance communication, information transfer, and track progress. We have also upgraded our virtual platforms to increase access to current and future Committee members allowing virtual access across all geographies.

Committees have published several new and updated publications in the first 9-months of the year including Best Practices, Business Briefs and Case Histories.

Most recently, GBA hired a new Committee Coordinator, Dina Vann to provide administrative and organizational support to the Committee leadership. She is charged with supporting scheduling, planning, hosting, and meeting follow-up with the goal of reducing the time and effort of our volunteer leaders while increasing efficiency and output.

Stay tuned for many more GBA committee advancements under the dynamic leadership of our incoming president, Leo Titus (ECS)!

6. Monthly President’s Updates. Throughout my Presidency, I have prepared monthly updates to members and shared them in NEWSlog and our website. These articles are my way to better connect you with GBA’s leadership, share lessons learned, show you how we continue to make GBA better and improve your GBA experience.

I have written 9 articles so far. I’ve covered:

  •  GBA progress and governance,
  • GBA 2022-2024 Strategic Planning update,
  • Personal and firm growth within GBA,
  • A “Toddies with Tom” summary
  • My lessons learned from expert witness work
  • Primer for the 2021 Fall conference in Henderson, NV
  • Blackburn’s ownership transition journey
  • My thoughts about our noble profession

As I approach the last quarter of my Presidency, please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve GBA! Also, please plan to attend GBA’s spring meeting in San Diego (April 7-9) where we will once again learn together, collaborate on common issues, and raise the bar for our profession. I can assure you we will also have some fun in the sun together!