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SSA and USHGA Announce Operating Agreement

The Executive Committee of the Soaring Society of America and representatives of the US Hang Gliding Association met on January 8/9, 2000 in Denver, Colorado to discuss the creation of a jointly owned support organization. The intended purpose of that organization is to serve the common administrative needs of two organizations sharing similar interests. In creating this organization it is important to emphasize that the SSA and USHGA will remain as distinct, separate entities.

The current, preliminary understanding of the organization's shape foresees the creation of a jointly owned administrative support operation. Possible activities of that structure may include the joint management of merchandise sales, advertising and convention organization as well as the development of fee-based on-line educational programs. Coordination of membership support services and staff benefit programs is also possible.

The essential objective in creating this organization is the pursuit of cost-saving opportunities presented by economies of scale resulting from the pooling of membership numbers of the two participating associations. That such savings are realistic has already been demonstrated by the substantial cost reductions achieved from a recently agreed joint printing contract for the publication of the associations' three magazines. The two organizations will jointly save approximately $68,000 (divided roughly equally) this year from the contract, a figure which represents an 18% saving for the SSA's printing budget. It is hoped that such anticipated cost savings will release resources thereby enabling the improvement of services for members of both organizations.

Less easily measured, but also a likely and desired benefit of the associations' closer cooperation, is the increased national political influence that will result from the two organizations presenting a common front in matters of mutual interest.

The meeting concluded with complete agreement on both sides as to the advisability of proceeding with the project. Concretely, the President of the USHGA and the Chairman of the SSA and their two staff directors were instructed to produce a preliminary document examining details of the potential financial benefits, as well as the organizational and legal feasibility of the project. That document is to be completed by March 1, in time for presentation to the respective Boards of Directors at their next meetings. Those meetings will take place during the joint Convention in Albuquerque, NM on March 16-19. It should be pointed out that this project was initiated at talks begun during last March's first joint SSA-USHGA convention in Knoxville, TN. The two groups are becoming increasingly aware of their similarities and of the likely benefits resulting from increased cooperation.

Posted: 1/20/2000 By: General News

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