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APMP turned 29 years old this month. Thinking back to what 29 felt like for me, we think APMP is right on track. We’ve learned and matured a lot over the years, but still have important and exciting work ahead. At this age, we have a better sense of who we are and who want to become in this maturing industry.
As is tradition on birthdays and anniversaries, let’s take a quick look back in time to appreciate how far we’ve come:
- A robust staff. When we began in 1989, the heavy lifting of planning and producing our programs was done by member volunteers. Back then, we had one full-time staff, one part-time staff and a boatload of volunteers doing the work of the association. Today, we have six full-time staff who carry that load, taking inspiration from members’ ideas through their committee work and bring them to fruition. With this dedicated and talented team, we can dream bigger and reach for higher goals.
- Fiscally stable and well-funded. In the beginning, we operated on a tiny budget. All new associations do because you must start somewhere. Today, thanks to a growing membership and the success of our conferences and programming, we are a well-funded organization. We are fiscally stable and utilize our money to fund initiatives like international expansion and technology infrastructure to support our members. Most importantly, we can provide additional member resources. Today’s APMP is also completely fiscally transparent. Any member is welcome to see how APMP International raises and invests the association’s money at any time. We welcome and answer all questions about how much funding we have and where it goes through our Annual Reports and from direct questions from our members.
- A wide range of speakers and volunteers. As a smaller and younger organization, it was common to see repeat speakers, volunteers, and leaders throughout the year. We are grateful to our members who raised their hands to help, sometimes early and often. Today, we have hundreds of members who fill our volunteer and leadership roles. Likewise, the number of volunteer opportunities has expanded. Any member who is interested in helping, speaking, or serving on a committee or the board can get involved, either at their local chapter level or through APMP International. There is room for everybody, and we are a better association because of every one of you.
- Year-round programming and highly successful conferences. We can hardly believe the growth of our conferences and programming. In the early days, APMP produced a single conference, plus a newsletter and a journal. Our 2018 Bid & Proposal conference will be nearly twice the size of our early events. We also offer year-round education, programs and networking opportunities; send a weekly newsletter both to our US and European members; and publish an award-winning journal. With technology that didn’t exist 29 years ago, we can connect 1,000 professionals in the industry through a webinar any day of the week. Our ability to create and deliver content is deeper, richer and faster than ever before.
- A growing geographic footprint. Our geographic footprint looks like one of those cell phone coverage maps you see on commercials. Today, we have 26 chapters around the world—with more in the works.
“More.” We think that sums it up. Today, APMP has more members, staff, funding, programming—you name it—than we did 29 years ago. Most importantly, we hope what you get from APMP today is more valuable than it ever has been.
And if it’s not—or if you have questions about how we operate today—please ask. We are not the 1989, 1999, or 2009 version of APMP. Our culture is different today because we are continually evolving, growing and changing with the times.
We’re not the same association we were 29 years ago, 19 years ago or even 9 years ago, and we shouldn’t be. We’re maturing in the best possible way.
We’re glad that you’re growing with us, too, and gaining the professional development experiences you need. If you have any questions about APMP, you can drop me a line any time.
Rick Harris, CF APMP, is the Executive Director of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals. During his tenure, the association has nearly tripled in size and now serves bid and proposal professionals around the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.