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Training for State Leaders in Louisville

Each August, we gather with our state association directors for our annual State Association Director Professional Development and Training Conference. It’s a great time of training, networking and sharing of best practices among state associations and a time that reminds us that we are about to embark on a new school year with a new crop of students to inspire. The conference started on Monday evening, August 15, with training for nine new state association directors who received two days of training on the basics of managing a quality state SkillsUSA organization. On Tuesday, our experienced state directors arrived and we were very pleased that Dr. Dale Winkler, the new state director of career and technical education for Kentucky, spoke at the opening banquet. Dr. Winkler expressed his support for SkillsUSA as an integral component of CTE instruction and his commitment to our national conference when it moves to Louisville in 2015. Over 50 state directors and support staff were there and they had the opportunity to tour the city, visit the Kentucky Expo Center and meet city officials and representatives from conference hotels and local attractions. The directors were impressed with Louisville and all it has to offer for our national conference.

The conference also featured the presentation of the 2011 SkillsUSA “Best of Brand” Awards. Congratulations to the following state associations for their excellent work and for winning the various categories: SkillsUSA Arizona and director Carrie O’Grady-Wolf for Best of Brand Online; SkillsUSA Georgia and director Gayle Silvey for Best of Brand Multi-Media; SkillsUSA Massachusetts and director Karen Ward for Best of Brand Print; and SkillsUSA Wisconsin and director Brent Kindred for Best of Brand Conferences and Events.

Training sessions included best practice workshops in social networking, conference and contest management, membership development, finance and insurance, alumni growth, program of work strategies and Vision 2020. State directors also held regional meetings, brought recommendations from standing and special committee meetings, and they held their annual business meeting on Saturday morning. On Saturday evening, during a special reception at Churchill Downs, Board President Russ Hoffbauer and State Director Chairman and Board Member Mike Cowles, conducted a listening session for state directors with the purpose of providing input and questions for the national board.

Finally, I am thrilled to congratulate three state association directors for achieving the SkillsUSA State Director Certification. The certification is based on American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) standards and demonstrated expertise in membership development, communications, image and media, conference management, industry partnerships, operations management and personnel management. Congratulations to Gayle Silvey of Georgia and Millie Perez of Puerto Rico for attaining their certification and to Mike Cowles of Ohio for attaining re-certification.

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