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June 01, 2006  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

The Lincoln Memorial: a monument to membership


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In the March edition of NAPT News & Views (SBF March issue, pg. 16), Board President Lenny Bernstein announced his plan to link specific national monuments to strategic association priorities. Each board member has been assigned “caretaker” of a specific memorial and corresponding priority. Previously, Region 2 board member John Hazelette articulated his view on the importance of public policy and its relation to the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and the Jefferson Memorial (SBF April/May issue, pg. 19).

In this, the second in a series of five articles by NAPT board members, Alexandra Robinson communicates NAPT’s vision of and commitment to membership growth and an allegiance to the unselfish dedication exhibited by Abraham Lincoln.

Often described as possessing perseverance, integrity and a thirst for knowledge, an NAPT member is easy to spot! These individuals labor long hours, pursue education before leisure, share their insight unselfishly and strive to make this industry, and the lives of our children, better and safer. Their character sketch could easily be compared to the hard-working and dedicated Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president, who struggled through significant adversity to unite a troubled young nation.

The NAPT Board of Directors has chosen the Lincoln Memorial as the enduring symbol of growth for the future of our industry and our association. Lincoln fought to preserve our nation’s unity and often reinforced the ideals our constitution was founded upon; he radiated strength, encouraged creativity, and celebrated diversity. As NAPT moves into the future, we must do the same — preserve the unity of our membership while celebrating the diversity and ingenuity of our industry. As a member-driven organization, NAPT will focus on membership in two vital areas: recruitment and retention.

NAPT is the largest pupil transportation organization in the country, with 2,000-plus members; however, there are still many potential members at large across the nation. NAPT defines recruitment as more than just an increase in “dues-paying members.” Our vision for growth will focus on giving new members the appropriate tools needed to be active members — ones who remain in the association because of their enthusiasm.

Strategic marketing, communication and a new Member Services Program will be utilized to recruit new members. In addition, NAPT representatives will be searching for interesting and interested individuals already actively involved, on a daily basis, in the business of pupil transportation.

Retention is always a concern in a member-driven organization. It is less of a challenge, though, if individuals see a direct benefit. In this regard, regional directors will become more visible to current members. They will seek to be available to current members within their region for questions, technical assistance and to reinforce the ideals upon which NAPT was founded.

As new members join, regional directors will be alerted so they can actively engage these members — over the long term — and assist them in achieving goals. As an increasing percentage of veteran NAPT members think about retirement, key leadership positions will become available; highly qualified candidates will be sought to replace these current industry leaders.

NAPT would like to: 1) identify members who are interested in taking a leadership role in shaping the organization and the industry and 2) provide resources that will enable these leaders to impact peers, the business community and the profession.

Other opportunities abound for active member participation. For example, committee participants further their professional development by learning from peers with similar interest — facing similar challenges — and imparting effective solutions. NAPT committees address the many issues facing the industry and shape our Professional Development Series curriculum by developing InfoShares (seminars on current hot topics).

Additionally, there are many NAPT members who recognize the difference that individuals can make in the legislative process on behalf of their employers and the public. NAPT will seek to identify key individuals who may serve as members of the NAPT Public Policy team as it ensures that the industry’s pro-school bus agenda is advanced and that transportation professionals are recognized as a political force.

Embracing and expanding upon the previously mentioned traits of hard work and dedication through education and awareness, members will be better prepared in this challenging industry to respond in judicious and effective ways. Whether it’s through training, professional development, public policy or public relations, NAPT will always be that “one-stop shop” for its members and partners.

On Feb. 15, 1861, Lincoln made a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, in which he said, “If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union on this voyage, nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.”

The NAPT Board of Directors is well aware of the constraints members experience on a daily basis, and we need to join together to provide solutions for these challenges. If not, we will have lost our “ship” and our power for change.


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