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"The First Ninety Days"

By Charles Glaser, RSVA President,
Winter, 2006

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Thank all of you that responded to my first message in the Vensorscope.  This is a blockbuster year for new members of RSVA committees.  Leading the list is our new Chairman of Publications Janet Wetmore.  Others you will hear from in this issue are Roy Harmon and David Hanlon.  There will be other names that will be new to you as their contributions appear in future issues of the Vendorscope.  New blood energies any organization and I am so thankful for those that have stepped up.  Now that we have the ball rolling we are going to keep up the momentum.  In the last couple of months we have had the pleasure of sharing an authentic Cajun luncheon in Louisiana, experiencing the rich culture of down state Illinois and two stepping in Texas.  Our team is committed to attending as many vendor conferences as we can so keep those invitations coming.

Speaking of conferences, if we haven't been to one of your conferences recently, you can come and join us at this year's National Training Conference for Blind Vendors in Las Vegas February 6th. through the 10th.  We are expecting another record turn out with plenty of exhibits, informative programming and a first time auction to help support our legislative efforts.  We have some great items to bid on and we encourage our members to bring some additional surprises   The NTCBV board along with congress and the Department of Defense has been working to make this a memorable year for everyone.      

One of the things that will be discussed in depth at NTCBV will be the new collaborative effort between all the Randolph/Sheppard Stakeholders.  This initiative culminated at the fall meeting of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind where officials from vendor organizations, blindness organizations, teaming partners and state agencies all agreed to pool both their financial and human resources on behalf of the preservation of Randolph/Sheppard.  Most of you should know that this is nearly unprecedented.

Maintaining good Communication is one of the most challenging tasks for a nationwide organization.  As you saw in the last Venderscope we asked our affiliates to bring us up to speed on what is going on in their affiliate at the 2006 RSVA annual convention.  That was a good starting point.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the networking.  Since the conference we have established an affiliate president's conference call the first Wednesday of every month.  We typically have a topic such as membership development, publications, public relations or fund-raising.  In addition to our main topic the affiliate presidents are brought up to speed on national issues.  If the president can not be on the call they ask another member to represent them.  Attendance has been good.  If you live in a state that does not have an RSVA affiliate we don't want you to be left out.  You can call our national office and get all the details on how to join the call.    

That’s not all regarding communication.  In the past it has been necessary to communicate with you as fast as possible when we were under attack in congress so you could make those much appreciated calls to your congress people.  By the time you read this you should be aware of our efforts to improve RSVA's communication with its membership with the implementation of VEND (Vendor Emergency Notification Directive).  This system will be used primarily to notify our membership of a crisis in Washington that requires our immediate response.  Here's how it will work.  If a matter arises you will be called.  You will hear a short message identifying the reason for the call and directions on what to do next.  You may be asked to call RSVA's 800 number for more clarification or to immediately contact your congress people.  If by this reading you have not received a VEND call please call Kim at (800) 467-5299 to make sure your number is on our list.

I am also pleased to announce two new partnerships.  RSVA is partnering with GTTrends to provide discounted travel for our membership.  There is further information on this new service later in this issue of the Vendorscope.  Our other new partner will be familiar to those of you that attended RSVA's 2006 annual convention.  We welcome Surface Modification Technologies Manufacturing Inc., “SMTM” manufactures of revitalizing and protective chemical solutions. Among other products SMTM offers products that inhibit rust and a coating used on the space shuttle that is even strong enough and slippery enough to resist potato chip grease in vending machines.

It has been a busy first ninety days but we are just getting started.  I will be looking forward to seeing all of our readers at NTCBV.  It will be an informative conference with a little fun thrown in for good measure.  Unfortunately I am aware that the term "fun" and the location of Las Vegas can be major sticking points for attendance of state agency personal.  It is truly unfortunate and irresponsible of state department officials to limit travel to conferences when it is to places where people would like to go regardless of the value of the conference.  Why is it that the National Automated Merchandisers Association expo, The National Association of Convenience Stores show and the world's largest conference Comdex meet in Las Vegas?  It is simple.  Las Vegas has reasonable room rates $80.00 a night compared to San Francisco at $195.00.  Las Vegas also has some of the most reasonable airfares.  Las Vegas is a place that people would like to go.  The opportunity of attending a conference in an exciting venue is a big morale builder.  It encourages productivity and given the low cost is fiducially responsible.  The NTCBV conference will provide valuable information for the preservation and expansion of the Randolph/Sheppard program.  It would be unfortunate for the administrators of the program not to be able to attend this important conference because department officials are not willing to support the program.  We Vendors the beneficiaries of this valuable program realize that the Agency directors and BEP directors do support our program.  Our concern is the commitment to our program of the higher levels of state government.  We sincerely hope that these officials will honor requests from agency staff to attend this important conference.

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