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New Operations Director

Discussion in 'AAW Information' started by Ruth Niles, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Ruth Niles

    Ruth Niles

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    Just curious; is the new director a woodturner? If not, why doesn't the AAW want a director who is a woodturner or knows about turning? Seems to me that would be the best person to promote us.

    It's like I could hire a salesman to man my vendor booths but he can't sell my product if he doesn't use it.........he can only give a generic sales pitch.

    Ruth
     
  2. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    I was wondering the same thing Ruth.
     
  3. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Easy Answer

    Hi Ruth and Barbara,

    First, we need to remember that Phil McDonald is NOT an Executive Director.

    Second, his job is to manage the internal operations of the organization. He is an MBA with extensive business management experience, but he will not be the "public face" of the AAW. Think of the difference between a "COO" [Chief Operating Officer] and a "CEO" [Chief Executive Officer]. He needs to know business operation and management, but doesn't need to know head from tail [as in stocks, that is ;)] To better understand, look at the OD job description at http://www.woodturner.org/info/jobs/

    Since Cindy has resigned, the Board should be starting the search for a new ED. Those candidates will likely be evaluated differently, I think, than in the past because some of the prior ED position, dealing with management and coordination within the organization, will now be handled by the "OD", Mr. McDonald. That should translate into more time for a new ED to dedicate to the very promotion you mention. Who knows, perhaps they can broaden the search criteria to include candidates from the AAW Membership. Of course, the ED would have to move to St. Paul as it's not a long distance position.

    Hope this helps

    m
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  4. sfccteacher

    sfccteacher

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    Why?

    Why did she resign ??? Just curious.

    Al Mirman
     
  5. Ronald D. Black

    Ronald D. Black

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    Good Morning.
    I am no expert but my two cent's worth is that the individuals who are responsible for any area of the organization should have a working knowledge of that organization.
    I retired from a large retail organization and from experience I know that ever though an individual was an "expert" in their area the had all had a working knowledge of how a retail store works.
    How can an individual make an effective decision that will effect the operation of a woodturning organization if they do not know how to turn? Or for that matter even a basic knowledge of woodturning.
    Not trying to create a problem here just wanting to gain knowledge.
    Ron
     
  6. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    I would think, Al, that you should ask Cindy that question as I doubt anyone else, outside of the BoD, has knowledge that you could depend upon. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to contact her as my exchanges were all through the AAW office and server.
     
  7. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    While I understand your view, I tend to disagree with your premise, Ron, as I don't see what a knowledge of turning has to do with accounting, employees, financial transactions and the rest of the stuff listed in the job description I linked to in my response to Ruth and Barbara above. All that aside, you may (or may not) be operating under a faulty assumption that Mr. McDonald doesn't know one end of a wood lathe from the other. You can, however, clear up that point by contacting him directly. All you need do is go to the "about" page on the main AAW website, click on "staff", then click on his name to send him an email with your questions or concerns.

    Cheers

    Mark

    PS: I checked the on-line Membership Directory and Phil McDonald is listed so he may actually spin wood as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  8. Greg Just

    Greg Just

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  9. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Hi Greg,

    Having read the long and detailed job description, it seems to me to be overwhelmingly set in the financial management area. Therefore, I'd be interested to see your thoughts on how being a turner would assist McDonald in the various aspects listed for the job. You're welcome to post a response or send it in a PM through this board if you prefer. Since Ron and Ruth kind of expressed the same thought, I think it a worthwhile topic to submit on but with some detail as to particular aspects of the OD position.

    Let's also remember that Mr. McDonald is no stranger to wood, being in the home-building business.
     
  10. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    That one is easy Mark. Being in management you have to have a clear understanding of all aspects of the trade to make proper informed decisions. Organizations work better when all managers understand the concepts, cost involved, and the time it takes to accomplish those concepts. The same holds true in any large company.
    I'd venture to say that he has the knowledge to accomplish those goals if he has been turning and couple that with his professional background.
    I might have to apply for the position the next time it comes open as long as I wouldn't have to take too much of a pay cut. lol
     
  11. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Hi Brian,

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not making a actual connection between knowing how to stick a piece of steel into a spinning chunk of tree (and not get killed) and knowing how to manage the issues confronting the business end of a charity like the AAW. The OD is not a policy position, nor is he directly involved with members or in the mechanics of actual turning and outreach stuff like POP and EOG. Knowing how to turn wood isn't going to help him keep track of the accounting records, payroll, office supplies, IT, HR, or any of the rest of those items in the description. Even the membership benefits listing is only a coordinating function with other staff doing the actual hands-on tasks. The AAW is not, after all, a business or trade with product lines, unique business plans or concepts, institutional R&D, or even a certification/licensing arm that might require more specialized technical knowledge, even though it needs to be run in a true business-like fashion.

    Last I heard, they don't pay moving expenses :D
    m

    PS: Besides, if Phil hangs around turners long enough, if he hasn't already, maybe he'll get the bug and join the vortex all on his own;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  12. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    To optimize and get maximum bang for the buck he does need to know. Is it paramount no. But it benefits the organization if he does. When someone turns in expense reports and claims certain expenses, say for tools, then he needs to know if it's legit. That's just one small petty example. I could list a lot more. The point is he has to understand the tools and terminology that is used specifically to the trade. Can he learn it? Of course but you don't hire managers to do OJT. In the same token you don't need a master craftsman to be the operations Manager. Would the OM of a salvation Army be a good candidate? They could be great with that type of organization but most likely would have a hard time with the AAW. Symposiums and the expense related is another area. You have to look at the bigger picture and how it all ties together especially from a financial standpoint. The best way to do that is to understand what the organization represents and the common interest of said organization.
     
  13. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Well Brian,

    Seems we have different views. I looked at Phil McDonald's CV and was a bit concerned that he might be over-qualified for the position. While the Symposium is run by the committee composed of most of the BoD, I have to think that a 3-day gathering for 2,000 people would be an easy putt for someone used to handling yearly homecoming-alum reunion weekends and graduation ceremonies, and student loan programs for a major university. I can be wrong, of course, but it seems you and I just need to agree to disagree on what is, after all, a pretty minor issue.

    Let's wish Mr. McDonald success, render what assistance we can to make his job easier, and, if necessary, his learning curve gentler.:)

    Phil, if you're reading here, get ready for your inbox to get filled with turning tips. Hey, nobody pushed you into this gig. :D
     
  14. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Mark et al,

    woodturning experience is a definite plus for any AAW job.

    However experience with non profit business activities is a must.

    Finding both woodturning and non profit business experience in applicants is not likely to happen.

    Keep in mind the AAW is run by a board of directors. They all know something about woodturning and do some turning themselves.
    About half are at a level where they demonstrate at regional and national symposiums so they are woodturners with a "W"
    The other half are hobbyists that have contributed significantly because they understand people, issues, various aspects of business.
    Most board members are successful board members more from their day job experience than their woodturning expertise.

    what would constitute being a woodturner? Need something measurable if it is part of the qualifications for the job such as:
    During the interview must turn a bead with a skew in less than 1 minute.

    For board members the qualification is being an AAW member for 3 years and being recommended by 2 AAW members.
    ( don't have to know how to turn).

    Al
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  15. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    Mark, I look through the duties and responsibilities and see numerous areas where he would need some knowledge of woodturning or he'll just have to rely on the ED and go with status quo. But, as I said earlier, I'd venture to guess that he's been woodturning and knows his way around a shop.
    The minimum qualifications mention nothing of having non profit experience or woodturning. Personally I'd want someone who has both plus has handled multi-million dollar contracts. Run it like a business from a financial standpoint and get away from any "good ole boy" politics that use to plaque so many hobby organizations. But that's just my take. I'm just enjoying my hobby and try to keep out of the politics. I found out a long time ago the best way to ruin a hobby is to try and make a living doing it. I turn to relax from my job.
     
  16. Jarred Hoffpauir

    Jarred Hoffpauir

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    I think that with the experts and teachers available to him, he can quickly and easily learn to turn wood. In 6 months he could be better then the average member for sure.

    Honestly I would expect him to learn, to be involved in the hobby he is now tied to.
     
  17. Jeff Willaford

    Jeff Willaford

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    I certainly had a higher opinion of the organization

    Jarred,
    To suggest that anyone could develop turning skills in 6 months that would surpass those of the average AAW member certainly goes against my opinion of the organization. I can only guess that I've had the good luck to have associated with members who far exceed your idea of the norm. Just my personal opinon.
     
  18. Barry Elder

    Barry Elder

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    In my opinion, most of these questions and comments would be better directed to the Board of Directors. I presume that on the AAW site it is still possible to send emails to the entire Board of Directors. Better to get an answer from them than the other members.
     
  19. Terry Martin

    Terry Martin

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    Give him time...

    I'm not sure I can agree that it is important for Mr. MacDonald to be a turner. If I check into a hospital, I don't expect the hospital administrator to be a doctor, or a nurse. I'd like someone who runs a tight organization. Sure, it will probably be necessary for him to familiarize himself with some terminology, but that doesn't mean he has to be able to turn. It's like any job, you do what you are best suited to do, and it seems we are very lucky to have somebody of his expertise to help plot our organization's path.
    In another sense, it may be better if he is not a turner. At least then he won't get distracted!
    One of the most effective AAW employees I know is Tib Shaw, our curator. I never heard her claim to be a turner, but she really knows her stuff.
    There are many similar examples: how many automobile executives are mechanics (well OK, maybe they'd do a better job if they were), how many Catholic priests are married (no, cancel that as it opens too many cans of worms), airline execs./pilots, and so on. Sure, they need a working knowledge of the business, but that comes. I don't yet know Phil, but from what I hear he will fit in just fine. Why don't we give him a fair go before we start pointing out shortcomings that may not even exist?
    By the way, this is my first ever post here, despite being a member for many years. I am partly doing it because I'd like to support Mark Mandell. He is always good value.
     
  20. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Thanks for posting Terry. I feel the same way. Hanging around the group he will hang with it won't take long to pick up a good understanding of turning. You didn't mention all the collectors of turnings. They aren't in many cases turners, but they certainly seem to understand what a fine turning is and I suspect if they wanted work for the AAW in some capacity would do a great job if there skills were up to that particular job.
     
  21. Terry Martin

    Terry Martin

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    right on

    Hi John, you are right, there are so many examples where this applies. I was a stage manager for ballet companies around the world for many years. I knew all about the business and could discuss ballet with a lot of insight, but I shudder to think of me trying to dance!
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  22. AlanZ

    AlanZ Resident Techno Geek

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    And there are lots of male obstetricians... I suspect that most of them have never given birth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  23. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    You guys missed the point...not surprised though.
     
  24. Terry Martin

    Terry Martin

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    What point did we miss?

    Hi Brian, What point did we miss and why are you not surprised?
     
  25. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Psst, Alan

    I think you're missing an "n":D
     
  26. AlanZ

    AlanZ Resident Techno Geek

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    Mark,

    Yup, just fixed the typo <s>
     
  27. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Alanz,

    All the OBYNs experienced the birth process once. Which gets us into defining relevant experience and the selection process being able to evaluate it.

    I know in the old days we had a timed typing test for jobs where that was a required skill. Some formula for time minus any mistakes.

    maybe. The succesfull applicant must demonstrate roughing 10" bowl in 30 minute with no more than two minor catches and no major catch.

    I DON'T think being a able turn a bowl in 30 minutes is a relative parameter for someone who has to balance a budget and manage cost centers.
    However if you put woodturning experience as a requirement you have to evaluate it and be able to defend its relevance to the successful performance of the job.

    I have yet to see any proponent of woodturning skill required to offer either and evaluation mechanism or relevance to the successful completion of the job duties.


    Al
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  28. John Van Domelen

    John Van Domelen Retired Forum Admin AAW Board Member

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    Well put Terry.
     
  29. Betty Scarpino

    Betty Scarpino

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    The picky editor and militant mother/woman in me is compelled to jump in here to clarify: An OB witnesses and assists in the birth process, he or she doesn't experience it in the way the mother did. Sure, everyone currently arrives in life, either through the birth cannal or C-section, but that experience is not the same as the mother's experience of giving birth.


    Betty Scarpino, editor, AW
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  30. AlanZ

    AlanZ Resident Techno Geek

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    Betty, my point exactly.

    You can certainly be qualified to assist with something that you simply can't actually do (or want to do) yourself.

    As long as an employee qualified to do the task at hand, I'm happy.

    When my birthday comes around each year, I call my mother and wish her a happy anniversary her first birthing experience. I was a forceps delivery, and perhaps that introduced me to my fondness for tools < s >
     
  31. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Terry With enough brew in us you could dance badly and I wouldn't notice but we'd both have fun. :)
    Al you teach. You know how differently everyone used tools and yet they all get the bowl done. So how would it even be possible to make a set of guidlines for proficiency.
    I remember when they tried to push standards for photography saying that you had to be OK'd by some committee to be able to list yourself as a pro. That of course would rule out people who push the boundaries because their work would never make it past the "experts".
    Woodturning to me is more about the finished product, now how you got there. We'll see this more in the near future with CNC becoming more readily available to the masses. It will become necessary to judge a piece more critically on how effective the piece is, now how hard it is to build.
    So if our new candidate is an expert on CNC programing and can turn out a perfect bowl would that make him or her a better director? I don't think so, they need to be able to crunch numbers.
     
  32. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Fun for sure!! Pretty??

    What is important for each individual is to master techniques that are safe, repeatable, produce good results consistently,, and won't cause stress injury down the road.

    I meet quite a few students who develop hit and miss techniques where they maybe turn 3 out 4 bowls with decent results. 25 percent get ruined or redesigned into something far different.

    Everyone should have techniques that work 100% of the time.
    When A piece is ruined it should not be a surprise but rather the likely outcome of working at the limits of the wood or your techniques.

    If I'm 3/4 done hollowing a piece and I find a bump near the rim that I overlooked. I have three choices: live with it, toss the piece, turn the bump out.
    Turning the bump out is high risk because of vibration and maybe some warping so I'm far more likely to turn too thin or through the wall before I blend the bump away. But This is my standard choice.

    Bottom line most people turn for fun!
    I think it's more fun if you have confidence and aren't fighting with your techniques.

    Al
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  33. Terry Martin

    Terry Martin

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    Dancing

    So who leads John?
     
  34. Thomas Stegall

    Thomas Stegall

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    The argument that you can not advocate for something in which you lack personal experience is a specious argument I deal with every day at work.

    If you break your leg, would you only allow yourself to be treated by a doctor who has broken his/her leg? No, we are not concerned so much with personal experience as we are with professional competence.

    If personal experience is the relavant and defining characteristic of success, then we ought to be concerned about his experience in leading a major organization, not whether he knows the difference between a spindle gouge and a bowl gouge.
     
  35. robert davis

    robert davis

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    RUTH YOUR PRODUCT SELLS ITSELF..as to ex. director..our leaders fire one and the next one quits.. makes you wonder.
     
  36. diverjoe

    diverjoe

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    Our current BODis operating, as did the previous BOD on using the mushroom theory of management. Keep us in the dark and feed us C***.
     
  37. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    I do not think that is a fair assessment. You really don't know the motivations for Cindy Bowden when she resigned. I can imagine a couple of scenarios in which the board has zero influence on the decision.

    Fact: When Cindy came to the AAW, she was looking for a change in her job situation. (Otherwise she wouldn't have taken the job - duh.) Did she have a 'til death do us part clause?

    Conjecture: She may have felt the AAW does not pay enough for her circumstances and was offered more elsewhere. Which brings up the idea that another organization may have poached her. At the outset, she may have been looking for a short-term gig - to make a change in her life; to generate contacts outside her old gig; to add to her resume'; etc.

    The point is that you are being awfully cynical placing the blame on the AAW board. Whenever people make a change, critics seem ready and willing to assign whatever motivation suits their own biases.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  38. robert davis

    robert davis

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    just the facts ...bob davis member since 1995
     
  39. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The AAW is run by our elected BOD.
    The BOD hires contract employees for editor and for conference coordinator these are awarded by competitive bid. They have built in sunset/renewal dates.
    Other employees are "at will" with no. Specific time frames. These include ED and OD.

    I expect the board to notify the members of changes in AAW staff in a timely manner, which I think has happened.

    It is not appropriate to share details on any contract or at will employee nor to post any details on those not selected.

    I believe the board has been prompt. Intentions are often known well in advance of when they those intentions become effective.

    It is bad policy to announce planned personnel moves because they may not happen.
    Un-ringing a bell is tough. The board must wait and announce changes that have actually happened.
    This necessary time lag can seem like a long delay when people confuse the time an intention is known by the board and the time it becomes a reality.

    Al
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  40. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    And what is your evidence and justification for such a statement, Mr. Joe, whoever you may be?

    They keep you in the dark about what, exactly? Something to do with why Mrs. Bowden left the AAW? Such information is quite personal and private. If Mrs. Bowden wished to share it, these boards are as open to her as to anyone. However, until and unless she does so, the Board of Directors and anyone else in the AAW office is obliged to keep what they know in confidence, just as any other employer does in similar situations.

    Think there was some "dirt" to dig up? Get in touch with Mrs. Bowden; I doubt she's very hard to find if you're truly interested.

    On the other hand, if you're just looking for an excuse to dis the Board, man up and do so without hiding behind a screen name and Mrs. Bowden.

    You don't like the elected Board? That's certainly your right. When they come up for reelection, campaign against and vote against them. Think they should be removed? File a petition for recall! The form is right there on the AAW website, and the how-to is set out plainly in the Bylaws.
     

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