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This is the document I prepared for my co-chair and I to begin putting together a local committee. Dates referred to, e.g. in Technical Program, are for a meeting in mid-March—adjust your dates according to when your meeting occurs.

NE/SE GSA Joint Meeting
March, 2010, Baltimore, MD>
Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel>
(a few blocks from the Inner Harbor)
Dates:  Saturday, Mar. 13 through Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2010>
(Welcome Party Saturday evening, Sessions Sun. through Tues.,
Field Trips before or after Session days)
Local Committee

General Co-chairs:Chuck Bailey (William and Mary)
  Noel Potter (Dickinson College)

These days the Local Committee doesn’t keep an account, receive money, or pay bills. This is all done through an Accountant in Financial Services at GSA Headquarters in Boulder. However, someone needs to be authorized to set a budget, watch income and expenses, keep track of these, make financial decisions, and authorize GSA to pay bills. This role will probably be served by Chuck or Noel. (Noel did it.)

Technical Program:
Suggest two. These folks are the critical heart and soul of the meeting. They are responsible for setting up an array of good, diverse theme sessions and symposia that will attract a wide range of people to present papers and others to want to attend. They need to line up a bunch of “go-getter” advocates/chairs of sessions and urge them to beat the bushes for good papers. Once abstracts have been submitted, it is their job, in conjunction with the advocates/chairs, to put the program together in sessions that minimize conflicts among related subject areas. Since one of the most fruitful places to get ideas for sessions and people to arrange them is the previous year’s section meeting, they should be ready to commit to attending the 2009 section meetings in Portland, ME and Tampa, FL—at least one at each. Busy times are:  1) April-May, 2009 when theme sessions and symposia are decided upon and advocates are lined up, and 2) December, 2009 when the program is put together. One of these people should be the primary contact person to receive suggestions for Theme Sessions/Symposia.
Whoever is selected should be conversant in a wide range of geoscience sub-disciplines beyond their own field of expertise. We should also be assured that they will consult regularly with Chuck and Noel and keep them informed—in other words, “no loose cannons!”

This job has minimal work, but is important. Most of the work for this can be done just before and during the meeting. Primary duties:  1) make sure numbers for poster boards are put up and remain, 2) take care of special requests (e.g., an elderly person needs a chair), and 3) keep a supply of push-pins and/or Velcro dots for those who forgot them. The scheduling of Poster sessions should remain with the Technical Program chairs.

Suggest two. These folks need to be go-getters too. They need to aggressively pursue potential exhibitors. This includes keeping contact with traditional “regulars” who exhibit at the NE and SE section meetings. They keep potential exhibitors informed about the meeting and exhibitor arrangements, especially after the program is together. They receive and act on special requests for such things as extra chairs, tables, electric, internet access, etc beyond the basics—usually pipe and drape, one table, 2 chairs, and a sign. Constituents include: 1) societies (e.g., Paleo. Soc. and others, plus GSA who gets a “free” double booth), 2) state and federal surveys, 3) commercial exhibitors, and 4) academic departments who want to recruit students. Exhibits people handle contracts with exhibitors, range payment before the meeting (GSA HQ now has a system by which exhibitors can pay directly on line by credit card, and are available during setup to help exhibitors. People should have some business sense, and be reasonably tech savvy to handle faxes, scans, and e-mail.
We should make sure that exhibitors at 2009 NE and SE meetings receive both meeting and contact information about our meeting, and that we find out if those exhibitors are interesting in our 2010 meeting—this can be done through a couple of forms. Thus Exhibits folks should have basic information (ideally cost—we can help with that) ready by early March, 2009.

Suggest one person, possibly two. Needs to be very computer/tech savvy regarding presentation technology. Will be point person for making sure the hotel has appropriate, glitch-free arrangements for Speaker Ready Room and AV facilities in session rooms. Ideally could set up an ftp site to receive abstracts before meeting. At meeting will spend most of the time in Speaker Ready Room and supervise student help assigned there and to technical sessions. This person should advise us on what we need to order from the hotel or outside vendor for all AV setups—computers, projectors, screens, mikes, pointers, and timers.

This person (?or maybe two) is a fund-raiser who gets contributions to help subsidize the meeting. Needs to have contacts in the business world—perhaps a consultant. A few thousand $ of sponsorship can help reduce registration fees and make the meeting more attractive. Contributions can be general, or targeted to specific events—e.g., welcome party, coffee breaks, or some event for K–12 teachers. Previous meeting contributions have come from micro-brew manufacturers (beer for events) and companies in the aggregate industry.

Ideally two people. This job has to have people running it who are both connected to the world of secondary teachers and understand how a GSA section meeting runs. If we don’t get the right people, it could be a complete bust. It was for me in 2006. Need to think about this carefully, recognizing that secondary teachers will have difficulty getting away from their jobs on weekdays, and some are reluctant to give up a weekend for work-related events. (Sorry to not be very helpful on this—I can tell you more about what didn’t work than what did in Camp Hill.)  Let’s brainstorm.

Field Trips:
Two(?) people. Both the NE and SE sections have a strong tradition of doing field trips associated with their meetings, although occasionally the NE section has had to cancel when too far north due to snow. We need to find a person (s?) who will aggressively pursue people who will run quality (mostly one-day, perhaps a couple of two-day?) trips from Baltimore. Committee members need to find the leaders, ride herd on them, make sure guidebook copy is delivered in time for editing and printing, edit the guidebook, and make sure logistics (especially transportation, lunches, etc) is in place. Of particular importance is gearing transportation to the number who register for the trips (e.g., bus vs vans).

Student Volunteers:
One or two people. Tradition, at least in the NE section, is to offer free registration for the meeting for students who volunteer to work at the meeting for a set amount of time (say two half-days). Student volunteer coordinators solicit geology departments with undergraduates through dept chairs or other contacts, find out when students can work (avoiding when they are giving a paper), and build a schedule of workers (with some spares for no-shows). Most students work the Registration tables (more at busier times), in the Speaker Ready Room, or in technical sessions taking care of lights and as a runner if AV croaks. Busiest time will be January-March, 2010 contacting departments and setting up schedules, and at the meeting making sure students find their way to their job. Person works closely with the person from GSA HQ assigned to our meeting for Registration and with AV coordinator.

Short Courses/Workshops:
Need someone to be imaginative and set up courses or workshops will attract enough people to attend to make them financially viable. Since these occur before or after the meeting itself, there may be a substantial cost for meeting room and AV if we don’t arrange them early.

Media Relations:
Do we want such a person for publicity?  If so, should have some experience at this.

Guest Activities
I don’t usually pay much attention to this, but with some nice “tourist” attractions in Baltimore, it might be good to have a local person who knows the city well put together some information and maybe even some “activities.”  I can imagine more than the usual number of spouses might come to Baltimore. What do you think?