Last month, the Irrigation Association of New Jersey (IANJ) held its Annual Business Meeting as a virtual ZOOM event. In the interest of time, it was a brief agenda, focusing on key items that appeal to the members. This report will expand on some of the topics of the evening, and touch on several additional ones to present a “State of the Association” to the members of IANJ.
A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER
2020 was a year like no other, with all of us adapting to a new normal we never expected nor wanted. In naming the Association’s Board and staff accomplishments, the most important achievement in 2020 was the mission to keep our members working. An early Executive Order threatened to take away the right to work for irrigation contractors due to the Covid19 Pandemic. IANJ’s Board of Directors (both current and former members) teamed up with MBI-Gluckshaw, our legislative lobbyist firm, appealing to the office of the Governor with a strong list of reasons that irrigation services are crucial and necessary, and successfully got this determination reconsidered and reversed. At a time when so many found themselves out of work, our industry stayed in business!
Another challenge that we tackled was how to provide continuing education, one of our main member services, to the contractors in need of CECs for license renewal. We took on virtual sessions, starting with Summer Tech in early September and continuing with Winter Tech just last month. Both events ran smoothly and were praised by the participants as a successful alternative to in person learning. Feedback was so positive that we hope to be able to continue virtual sessions in an altered capacity even once we are able to learn in person again.
The Association finished 2020 with just over $116,000 in income and $117,000 in expenses. Despite a very challenging year, IANJ ended 2020 with a net loss of only $1,521. One of the new initiatives was an expanded Partnership program, offered in tiers. Over 20 companies responded, which exceeded our expectations. The support from those companies was a crucial component in helping our Association come out the other side of 2020 in a better place. We are encouraged by this and hope to continue to grow this initiative in future years. The official IANJ financial statement is on file with the management office and is available upon request.
Our membership numbers have remained steady over the past few years, with some fluctuation up and down, usually in line with the contractors who were due for license renewal in that given year. In order to address these year to year attrition and return, the Board of Directors has voted to change the IANJ Membership to be a 2-year membership. The dues amount for Contractors will remain at $205 per year, but two years will be required for renewal. The Supplier dues amount has increased to be more in line with other similar organizations, and is now set at $450 per year ($900 for the 2-year renewal). Invoices were sent digitally beginning at the end of November 2020, and paper reminders will continue through March.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Online elections commenced in December, with the 2021 Board of Directors being determined and announced at the Annual Business Meeting in January. Subsequently, the Executive Committee was selected two weeks ago from the trustees.
The 2021 IANJ Board of Directors consists of:
PRESIDENT - Gaetano Virone (Environmental Designers Irrigation)
VICE PRESIDENT – Gregg Rogers (Garden Irrigation)
TREASURER - Bill Smith (Central Turf & Irrigation)
SECRETARY - Ron Cannella (R & G Irrigation)
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT – Paul Garris
Art Elmers (NetaFim USA)
Mark Canzano (Aspen Landscaping)
John Gumm (The Toro Co/Irritrol)
James Gurzler (Aqua-Mist Irrigation)
Frank Jacheo (SiteOne Landscape Supply)
Roy Nau (Allen Irrigation Specialists)
Eric Pizzolongo (Central Jersey Irrigation)
The Association is starting 2021 on a high note with a very successful Virtual Winter Tech event already in the books, and plans for expanded education over the course of the year in the works. We thank all of our members who have renewed their membership and continued to support the organization, even in what was a tumultuous year for all around us.