The first General Membership Luncheon Meeting of 2016 was held on Tuesday, January 26 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel, and featured VSRA President Bill Crow as he provided the Association's Annual Report. Crow spoke to the successes of VSRA and the Virginia Ship Repair Foundation in 2015, and the way-ahead for 2016.
Opening with a throwback to last year's Annual Report, Crow stressed that the Association's greatest asset is "YOU - the VSRA Member." Recounting the participation levels at various events and seminars hosted by the Association over the year, such as the Safety & Health Seminar which boasted 238 participants, Crow also announced that all VSRA attendance records were broken in 2015 - the second straight year this has happened, and attributed that as proof of the dedication of the Membership as a whole.
Demonstrating the VSRA Board of Director's dedication to making industry awareness a top priority for Association activities, Crow listed his 10 trips to Washington DC, 30 Congressional office calls, and constant contact with various state- and local- level officials and agencies. He explained that these trips are all educational in nature, and seek to remind legislators and decision-makers at all levels of the importance of the Ship Repair Industry. Additionally, he touted the Association's effort to inform the Hampton Roads Community of that importance by featuring a media blitz of over 2,000 radio and television ads that raised website visits substantially over previous years.
Crow also touched on improvements that VSRA has made, including the ability to quickly view industry resources via the new "Resource Links" tab on VirginiaShipRepair.org, as well as a wholly revamped VSRA Newsletter, retooled Safety Suggestion Award Program, larger venue to accommodate the demand of the Human Resource Seminar, and price decreases to many VSRA-offered training programs. Placing an emphasis on safety, new Area OSHA Director Stan Dutko was introduced.
Closing with a look ahead at 2016, Crow admitted that there may be rough seas ahead for the industry, which is suffering from a dip in workload from the Navy during FY2016. However, he reassured the membership by reminding them that, "your legacy of ship repair in Hampton Roads is long and patriotic, and your passion and dedication will ensure our survival through any storm."
Additionally, the Membership luncheon featured recognition of outgoing Communications Committee co-chairs Kiki Carleton of Williams Mullen and Marcus Boggs of Wells Fargo. VSRA Training Instructors were also recognized for their dedication and excellence in making VSRA a regional go-to for standardized industry training needs.
Next month, the General Membership Luncheon will feature Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen.
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