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Potomac Chapter 2019 Board Minutes

Minutes of 2019 Directors' Meetings

Potomac Chapter National Railway Historical Society, Inc.

April 30, 2019

Silver Spring B&O Station

Gordy Bjoraker, President 
John Sery, Vice President
Bill Holdsworth, Secretary
Jay Creswell, Treasurer

Gordon Piscacek, Director at Large
Carl Franz, Director at Large
Stephen Sery, Director at Large
Bob Dixon-Gumm, Director at Large
Absent: Rick Davidson, National Representative

President Gordy Bjoraker called the meeting to order at 8:06 p.m.

Bill Holdsworth distributed copies of the minutes of the February meeting and subsequent activity.

Jay Creswell reviewed the Treasurer’s report. Jay is still working to get a sales tax exemption certificate from Maryland.

Directors approved a motion to authorize Jay to file the necessary paperwork to get a sales tax exemption certificate from Maryland and Bill to sign as the corporate agent.

Jay reported that member donations are very low for the restoration of C&O 2-6-6-2 steam engine #1309. The fund raising campaign is scheduled to end May 31.

Jay presented Gordy with his 25-year pin. Presentation was five years late, because the paperwork had been misplaced.

Jay reported on membership renewals for 2019. He estimated the membership drop at 12.

Attendance was disappointing at the March 23 chapter banquet. The chapter will take a substantial loss, because attendance was below the contractual minimum of 40. Directors discussed some lessons learned.

The board discussed potential banquet speakers for 2020. Directors had been invited to submit potential candidates in advance of the meeting.

Directors agreed on the top three candidates for banquet speaker:

  1. Kevin Keefe, former editor of Trains magazine
  2. Robert McGonigal, editor, Classic Trains magazine
  3. Bart Jennings, organizer of fan trips for several NRHS conventions

Bill will communicate the board's preference to Alex Mayes.

By a vote of six to two, directors approved a motion designating March 21 as the preferred date for the 2020 banquet with March 28 as the alternate, based on the availability of the banquet hall and the preferred speaker. Evening meal vs. lunch to be determined later, after a poll of the members. Vote 6-2.

Because 2020 represents the 50th anniversary of the Potomac Chapter's founding, directors supported the idea of inviting NRHS President Al Weber to attend.

Director agreed that one of the banquet speaker candidates, musician Ray Owens, would be a good candidate for entertainment at the August 17 joint picnic with the Baltimore Chapter. John Sery will contact Charlie Plantholt and Ray.

The meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m. No trains passed during the meeting.

Business conducted via email

On February 22 board members approved the following motion:

WHEREAS: Donald R. Flach, who is currently designated as the resident agent of the corporation with the Maryland Secretary of State, has not been active in the corporation’s activities for several years and has not maintained his membership

RESOLVED: That the resident agent of the corporation is changed to

                                    William R. Holdsworth
                                    10 Radburn Court
                                    Rockville, Maryland 20850

Voting in favor: Jay Creswell, Bill Holdsworth, John Sery, Bob Dixon-Gumm, Rick Davidson, Gordy Bjoraker, Stephen Sery, Gordon Piscacek, and Carl Franz.

February 18, 2019

Silver Spring B&O Station

Gordy Bjoraker, President 
John Sery, Vice President
Bill Holdsworth, Secretary
Jay Creswell, Treasurer

Rick Davidson, National Representative
Carl Franz, Director at Large
Stephen Sery, Director at Large
Absent: Gordon Piscacek, Director at Large; Bob Dixon-Gumm, Director at Large

President Gordy Bjoraker called the meeting to order at 8:04 p.m.

Bill Holdsworth distributed minutes of the November meeting and subsequent activity.

Jay Creswell reviewed the treasurer’s report.

Directors agreed that the holiday social went well.

Membership renewals: Rick Davidson provided provided a status, as of February 12:

Jay has tracked down addresses for some of the notices that had come back as undeliverable. He will send new reminders.

Rick reported that Orange County, CA is the likely site for the 2020 NRHS convention. He will miss the upcoming directors conference in Birmingham, AL.

John Sery and Bill reported that the storage locker has been closed. John is the custodian of the Flack film collection Jay and John have some books that were deemed worthy of selling. Bill has the Flack slide collection, chapter historical records, and books that the chapter is retaining.

Directors approved a motion to adopt the process submitted by Carl Franz and Alex Mayes for selecting future banquet speakers. (See text below.)

Directors approved Carl's motion to put the board on record that it is willing to consider spending up to nominally $1,000.00 for speaker travel expenses when the quality of the proposed banquet program justifies such an expense.

Carl thought the motion would clarify the board's position. In the past, many quality banquet speakers were dropped from consideration because of a perceived limitation on allowable transportation expenses.

Directors agreed that the chapter should continue its joint picnic with the Baltimore Chapter. That participation shouldn't preclude the chapter holding a separate event.

The meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m. One westbound train passed during the meeting.

Approved Process For Selecting Future Banquet Speakers


To Provide High-Quality Speakers and Topics For Future Potomac Chapter Banquets.

Why The Need For A New Process: 

The chapter’s past banquet-selection process has placed an undue burden on one person, our program chairman, to identify prospective topics and speakers and then implement that selection. The task has often been difficult because he has felt compelled to eliminate many fine speakers from consideration due to an implied restriction to keep speaker costs to a minimum.

Core Principles Of The New Process:

Details Of The Process:

  1. An announcement shall be made in the July PRN (or sooner) requesting members to submit suggested banquet topics and/or banquet speakers to the chapter’s secretary via email.
  2. Prior to the August board meeting (or sooner), as part of their leadership responsibilities, each board member and the program chairman would be expected to email the secretary a minimum of two suggested topics and/or speakers for the board's consideration. We need every board member to participate. 
  3. The proposed agenda for the August (or sooner) board meeting (distributed prior to the meeting) shall list the suggested speakers and topics so that board members can review the list prior to the board meeting.  
  4. The board will discuss the merits of the suggestions and the associated costs.
  5. The board will then, rank the top five or six speakers/topics in order of their preference.  If a topic is proposed without a suggested speaker, the final ranking may have to be delayed until the program chairman or others locate a speaker. If the anticipated costs of a speaker/topic can be reasonably estimated, the board has the option of pre-approving a speaker/topic. If the costs are unknown, final approval will occur after the program chairman reports his cost findings to the board.
  6. The list shall be sent to the program chairman for his action. The chairman  will extend the invitations in order of their rankings. If the first choice accepts, that will end the process. If not, the invitation will be extended to the next choice, and so on, until a speaker is found.
    If there is a personal relationship between a proposed speaker and the person suggesting that speaker, the program chairman may choose to work with that person or to defer negotiations to that person.
  7. The program chairman will extend a formal invitation to the speaker and  work with the chapter’s treasurer and banquet chairman to complete the   necessary arrangements.

If a topic/speaker is not pre-approved due to unknown costs:

Note: This situation can occur when a topic is suggested, but a suitable speaker has not been identified. As an example: We may want someone to speak on the Golden Spike Celebration and/or Union Pacific 4014. Possible speakers may include a chapter member, Jim Wrinn in Milwaukee or someone out West from the Union Pacific railroad. In such a case, the program chairman may decide to present several options to the board for consideration.