February 1st, 2011
Our strategic planning sessions the week of January 10 went extremely well. Board President Russ Hoffbauer gave the full staff his keynote remarks on Tuesday, January 11, by phone. With a little paraphrasing, he said: “The ultimate aim of planning is results, not activities. That’s one reason why your focus on metrics this year is so exciting. There’s never enough time or resources to do everything, that’s why planning is so important. The board counts on your work.”
With staff recommendations, the directors developed eight macro objectives comprising all of the work of the association – in contrast to the 21 macro objectives we have now – in the five goal areas to help SkillsUSA reach toward Vision 2020. The macro objectives should also be the eight areas we report on to the board and the foundation. All of the departments have now developed objectives and tactics. A preliminary draft of the plan went to the State Association Directors Executive Committee last week.
January 15th, 2011
On December 17, we held our annual Holiday Celebration with a bus tour to Washington, D.C. and our Annual Employee Years of Service Recognition Luncheon. Staff and family members boarded the magic bus at 8:30 a.m., and after playing some seasonal trivia games and watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” arrived at the Gaylord Hotel for a quick tour. Then, we walked across the street to the ICE! Experience, a 15,000-square-foot attraction under a huge tent featuring 10 scenes from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It’s big, impressive, colorful and carved out of two million pounds of ice. It’s also cold. The exhibit space is kept at a constant nine degrees. No wonder the staff reminds visitors as they enter the exhibit: “Don’t touch or lick the ice.” After we returned the arctic parkas and walked outside, one staff member said: “Wow, even though it’s below freezing out here, it feels like a spring day after being in there.”
Then, it was back on the bus for the drive to Georgetown Harbor for lunch at Tony and Joe’s Seafood and staff recognition. Of course, one of the things SkillsUSA is well known for is the dedication of its staff and that shows up not only in the quality of their work, but in their tenure as well. This year, we recognized 12 employees with a combined time on staff of 132 years. Four of them – Tom Hall and Ann Schreiber at 25 years each and Keith Ashby and Shelly Coates at 30 years each – accounted for 110 years by themselves. It must be the SkillsUSA mission keeps them all looking so young. It was a wonderful day of celebrating a great national staff.
February 15th, 2010
Both Ada Kranenberg, program director for the SkillsUSA Championships, and Karen Perrino, director of our Office of Marketing and Membership Services retired during the week of Jan. 22. Both are long-tenured. Ada joined the staff in 1982, and Karen has been with us for nearly 18 years. Both have been vital to the success of SkillsUSA.
Karen has been a leader in many areas through the years in publications, marketing and membership. SkillsUSA reached record levels of membership during her time as director of Marketing and Membership Services, and she was instrumental to our entire brand initiative. “I’m thankful Karen will continue to help us during this transition on marketing initiatives already underway and on the Lowe’s project where she has been such a leader for us. She is a consummate professional, and all of us wish her well with her move to Florida.
Ada began work with SkillsUSA back when it was VICA and worked with me when I managed the Championships from 1996 to 2001. She has been instrumental in guiding the Championships’ phenomenal growth from 36 contests to today’s 96, and she’s worked tirelessly with all of the technical committees and sponsors who make the Championships possible. Ada has also been our point person for the WorldSkills Competition for the past two decades. I’m happy to say that Ada will continue as a consultant and manager for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam through the WorldSkills Competition to be held in London in 2011. She will also lead our delegation to the AmericaSkills events in Brazil next month. SkillsUSA will be sending two students; six technical experts; Mark Claypool (our team leader), and Don Hatton, the U.S. technical delegate. This is all in preparation for the WorldSkills event in London, England in 2011.
February 15th, 2010
I met on Tuesday, Feb. 2, with the directors and then with the staff to present and then discuss a proposed realignment of staff responsibilities. For the most part, departments have remained about the same for the past nine years. During that same time, however, initiatives and programs have been added although few have been dropped. In light of Vision 2020 and strategic planning for the FY 2011-12 years I felt it was time to shift some responsibilities around so we can ensure high-quality service to our members and deliver the same high-quality service to our partners. Changes in the alignment of responsibilities will be phased in during the remainder of this fiscal year and then be fully in place in FY11.
February 1st, 2010
Our Tenth Annual Week of Excitement (also known as the week of national staff strategic planning) took place January 12-15. The focus included a number of major initiatives already underway – such as the Work Force Ready System and the Engineering Alliance – and what objectives will help move us to the Vision 2020 goals.
We’re still in the process of evaluating department recommendations. At present, we have 12 pages of objectives (including a few tactics) in the five goal areas. Oftentimes objectives submitted by departments overlap each other, but that usually tells us we’ve hit upon an important action area. Frequently mentioned among the objectives is more extensive use of communications, networking and news media. This includes updating and using new technology that will be needed to keep pace with the needs of our members and partners. There are also many references to alumni, inclusion and diversity, grant management and fund raising. We’re confident we are putting in place the things we’ll need to reach our SkillsUSA vision for 2020.
January 15th, 2010
Happy New Year. Things were quiet around here two weeks ago as staff enjoyed time with family and friends during the week leading up to the New Year, but the pace has certainly picked up since then. We’re back in the swing and just completed our “Tenth Annual Week of Excitement” during strategic planning this week.
The excitement began on Tuesday, January 12, with a full staff meeting for the day to review our progress this past year, discuss our current initiatives and then we took a long look forward toward the goals in Vision 2020. We wrote objectives by departments toward reaching those goals in the FY2011 and FY2012 plans, over the next two days and then the directors convened today for a reporting session. Preliminary objectives will go to the state association directors’ executive committee next week. At this pace, it feels as though the year will be over before we know it.