The 2017 Annual Meeting is done and by all accounts a wonderful success. Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who made it happen.  I am so sorry that I had to miss it.  One of my horses and I parted company and the ground has gotten very hard in my old age.  I am doing fine.  Missing the conference reminded me of how much I value the people of PIUG and the interaction with them.  I always come back from the conference reenergized about my profession.  I learn new things.  I remember things that I have forgotten.  I reconnect with people who have the same interests that I do.  The new term for it is of course "networking".  I suppose I tend to think of it more as enjoying my colleagues.  I value that personal interaction that the meetings bring.

I have been a member of PIUG since probably 1996 or 1997.  I view it as my professional organization that has fostered my growth as a patent searcher.  It is where I have gotten my continuing education.  I have made contacts in the industry.  I have made friends.  No other organization fits my needs as well as PIUG.  I know that there are many people that view this as a secondary professional organization but for me it is my professional home.  PIUG exists and succeeds because of the people who contribute to it.  It is easy for an organization to have the same cadre of people who do things, but it is important to get new people involved who bring new ideas and new energy.

One of the difficulties for volunteer organization is succession planning.  How do we encourage the next generation of volunteers and people who make PIUG great?  Currently we have several opportunities for people who want to make an impact on the organization. 

At the annual meeting, Tom Wolff announced that he would like to step down as the chair of the electronic communications committee.  The good news is that he is still willing to do the behind the scenes work that is required to keep us up and running.  What we are hoping for is a person who will lead us to the next phase of our electronic development.  What should our electronic presence be?  What should it look like?  If you have the interest and energy to devote to helping us get to the next place electronically, please let me know.

The next opportunity is sponsorships.  Jane Thompson has been leading our sponsorship efforts for the past few years.  She feels like it is time for some new ideas.  We had a meeting with our sponsors at the annual meeting to try and see what would help us be more appealing to them.  One suggestion would be to have our benefits be more cafeteria style so that they could pick from a menu of choices.  I am sure that there are other good ideas out there.  If you enjoy talking with sponsors and have some suggestions for enhancing our sponsorship, please let me know.  It would be great if there were a few people interested in this, so we could expand our ideas.

The final opportunity is a bit further out, but next year will be an election year.  We will have 5 officer and board member positions up for election.  It would be wonderful to have actual competition for our elections.  If you have any interest in being a board member or know of someone who would be good, please keep in mind that the call for elections will be in the winter this year.

I can assure you that you will receive more from participating in PIUG than you can possibly imagine.  If you have ever thought for a moment that you wish PIUG would do something (whatever that might be), please volunteer and help us continue to be the great group that we are.

Martha Yates


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