15 Years of GBA: A Journey of Learning, Leadership, and Lifelong Connections

GBA President Matt Moler, P.E. (S&ME)

As I continue my GBA presidency, I reflect on the role GBA has played in my life over the past 15 years.I first crossed paths with GBA back in 2007 – it was still known as ASFE at this time. My employer,S&ME, asked me to enroll in the Fundamental of Professional Practice (FOPP) course, where I was exposed to numerous business optimization and risk mitigation measures (topics I never learned in engineering school!) and I soaked up the new knowledge like a sponge.

What really hooked me was GBA’s concluding FOPP seminar held outside Denver. There, I encountered a tremendous network of fellow geoprofessionals – classmates and practitioners giving back to their profession – from across the country.  I left the seminar eager to delve further into GBA so I could continue to improve my business acumen and expand my professional network. It was exactly what I was looking for at that point in my career and served as a launchpad for the next 15 years. I had a taste of the GBA “special sauce” and I was hooked and craving more.

About two years later, GBA was preparing to launch its second class of Emerging Leaders, and S&ME’s then-President, Randy Neuhaus graciously nominated me for the class.

Each class of GBA Emerging Leaders chooses a project to collaborate on from inception to completion. Class 2’s project was focused on several recently launched social media platforms (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram). GBA wanted our class to help them get engaged with this new technology. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine a time these platforms weren’t part of many people’s daily lives and a cornerstone of business communications and marketing.

Our class members bonded quickly and with our collaborative spirit and zeal, we raised awareness on these exciting new social media tools to promote our individual businesses, and to promote the many benefits of GBA. Our Emerging Leaders Class completed its tenure after two years, after which many class members became engaged with serving on GBA’s Committees.

I was immediately intrigued by and joined GBA’s Business Practices Committee, which discussed the many business-related subjects that directly impact our firms. I came away from each meeting with information to improve my own business practices, as well as ideas that could be implemented across S&ME.

At one of my first meetings, Committee members talked about creating a cell-phone-use-while-driving policy at their firms. I mentioned some things my company was doing and before you know it, I was asked to prepare a Best Practices document on the subject (funny how that works!). I was thrilled to be able to contribute to the organization that had given me so much and play a small role in creating  safer practices for geoprofessionals.

I gradually stepped into leadership roles in the Committee and every experience filled me with more opportunities, challenges, and benefits from active involvement with other geoprofessionals from across the country.

Woody Vogt, GBA’s President at the time, asked me to join the GBA Board of Directors in 2018. The GBA Board is the first I’ve served on in any organization, so learning the role of a Board and how I could best serve the organization were paramount. I believe our profession is worth fighting for and worth the time and effort to make it better, so I accepted the nomination and was ready to take on new challenges.

My efforts on the Board have varied over the years, but consisted of the following:
• Board Liaison for several Committees,
• Program Committee member responsible for planning several wonderful conferences,
• Mentor to the Emerging Leaders Class 4,
• Champion of several GBA Strategic Plan objectives,
• Secretary Treasurer,
• President-elect, and now
• President.

My GBA journey has been a fulfilling experience so far and the rest of my time as President is likely to be full of rewarding opportunities, as well. I have benefited tremendously from GBA’s many resources (publications, webinars, conferences, podcasts), Committee and Board leadership opportunities, and close friendships.

Speaking of close friendships, I have developed some of the most meaningful personal connections over the past 15 years with numerous individuals across GBA. Not only have we attended conferences and worked on the Committees/Board together, we’ve fished, golfed, biked, ridden ATVs, boated, swam, honky-tonked, and visited some of the most amazing places across this great country of ours. Our family members know each other as well.

To sum things up, I love it that our members come together regularly and talk about the best practices, the wins, the scars – it’s all on the table. There is no other organization that combines such value and opportunities to help improve ourselves and our business. It’s what makes up GBA’s Special Sauce!

I’ve shared my GBA journey with you in the hope that it inspires you to get involved in GBA. Volunteer for leadership opportunities. Speak up and share your opinions. Meet others that are passionate like you. And try to make an impact!

GBA gives so much, but you’ve got to give a little. You’ve got to be willing to join a Committee or go to a conference. Take notes and ask yourself, “What’s the one cool thing I learned from this presentation that I can apply at work tomorrow?” Be active, because then you get more out of it. It’s like a cup that keeps overflowing – that’s what GBA is. They continue to fill up my cup. So, I keep giving because I know I’m getting a two- or three-fold return.

GBA has been a wonderful organization for me over the past 15 years, and I’m very grateful for those experiences.

Thank you, GBA, for this amazing GBA journey!

Editor’s note from GBA Executive Director Joel Carson:
“Having worked with Matt for several years and now more regularly as he has been GBA’s President, I admire his          sincerity and thoughtfulness as a leader. He makes sure everyone’s voices are heard and can build consensus on issues by bringing different perspectives together and focusing on the GBA’s strategic direction. He is also very creative as evidenced by his bringing GBA’s Special Sauce to reality, something none of us will forget. All that being said, Matt is simply someone everyone enjoys spending time with because he contributes positively in all situations.”