2020 Winter Newsletter

 

Our Top Story: APMM Conference 2020 Rescheduled to Oct 23-26!

CONTENTS
Long-Awaited Gathering Rescheduled - A message from Jill Kenik
Workplace Adaptations - Social distancing, teleworking and more
Where You Stay Matters - Why lodge at the APMM's host hotel?
Coronavirus Resources - Best sources of information
Updates from Seattle - The unfolding situation in our host city
Same Conference/New Date - We'll see you there!

 

Long-Awaited Gathering Rescheduled

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”– Francis of Assisi

submitted by Jill Kenik, APMM PRESIDENT 

What does the APMM have in common with the Winter X Games, Mobile World Conference, Facebook Developers Conference, and the Game Developers Conference?  We have all had to postpone big events because of the Coronavirus outbreak.  The APMM board has spent the past 15 months preparing for the big event and we are genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to move ahead with our March Conference in Seattle.

Members of the APMM Board began watching the virus story unfold in Seattle in early February.  Right up until the governor of the state of Washington declared an emergency a couple weeks ago, we thought it was overblown media hype.  Really, there were only a hand-full of cases, right?  After hearing the announcement, I dug in deep to research the matter and was stunned to find that big players like Amazon and Microsoft had already cancelled major events, some as far off as May.  This was far more serious than I imagined.  In the wee hours of Saturday night, I realized we had a big problem—we could not risk the health of our membership by proceeding with this gathering.

Morning could not come fast enough, and the first communications with Samanthi and the APMM Board began before my first cup of Sunday morning coffee.  Throughout several telephone calls, each board member expressed concerns for member safety and impact on the APMM.  By late morning, it was clear that one of hardest decisions in the history of APMM had to be made, and by afternoon, the Board came together to postpone the Conference and begin the work of overcoming the obstacle.

While the Board placed member health and safety first, we had to figure out how to also keep the APMM running.  Unlike the Winter X Games, Microsoft, or Facebook, there is no fat bank account available to float the conference forward by several months.  Our budget is simple and barebones.  We pay Samanthi a modest part-time salary to do absolutely everything necessary to keep us functioning.  All sorts of clerical, managerial and planning tasks—anything and everything that the APMM does first passes through Sam.  She has been the one constant in our organization, and is the glue that holds our community together.  We also pay a monthly subscription on member management software, a one-stop tool that provides a platform for all the things that an organization needs to run: the website, email, communication blasts, membership lists, credit card processing—the whole business of the APMM runs from the MemberClicks AMS platform. 

Everything else that you see is done by member volunteers—designing t-shirts, making flyers, organizing the conference, writing and publishing the newsletter, running the forum, redesigning the website—there’s no fat in the budget to afford luxuries.  There is a simple APMM board mantra.. if something needs done, just get it done.  Make it, fix it, build it, or arrange a donation of it, but we are not going to buy it.  Like most small businesses, there is neither fluff nor undesignated emergency funds.  The APMM runs at the apex of lean.

On the income side of the APMM, our membership fees don’t come in quite high enough to cover the barebones annual expenses and we rely on our biennial Conference income to cover the big gap and float us out until the next gathering.  

You have figured out where this is going.  We have a problem.  Not insurmountable, but it requires more than the usual amounts of member commitment, more patience and more support. You cannot sit back right now and let some other member handle this. We have financial commitments and now a delayed supporting income.  Normally this all flushes out biennially at the March conference, but this year, things are different.

Every one of you that is reading this has benefited in some way from your membership in the APMM.  You would not be reading this if the case were otherwise.  Here is what you need to do (and not do) to help APMM recover from Coronavirus:

  1. Do not cancel your conference plans! It has been rescheduled for the weekend of Friday, October 23 through Monday, October 26, 2020. Your registration fees have been credited to the rescheduled conference; so come out, have a drink with your friends, nerd out over the latest tech, attend the outstanding workshops, enjoy and learn from the tours, experience a new city—do all the things you normally do at an APMM Conference.
  2. Reach out to another model maker or vendor that hasn’t been to a Conference in a while and encourage them to join us for the fall event. Or at least encourage them to renew their memberships and re-engage with our community.
  3. Share your favorite vendor with us!  We'll soon share ways that you can tell us about the fantastic vendors and suppliers you rely on to do your job.
  4. When the time comes to re-book your conference accommodations, do it at the APMM’s designated hotel, the University Inn. This is the make-it or break-it concern on the rescheduled conference.  Help us out here!  You will get complimentary breakfast with your friends, a great location, and a good room rate by booking the University Inn using our event code!  And there’s free sweet treats.
  5. Offer to help with some APMM tasks over the next few months.  Volunteer to present that workshop that you were a little too shy to arrange, share an idea with a Board Member, get involved in our Development Committee, make a small (or large) financial donation to APMM to help carry us forward to the fall. 

Member support over the past 10 days has been fantastic.  We want to thank our members for their support, open discussions and encouragement. Great things happen when the community comes together and connects. For this reason, we plan to present the Seattle conference in October. We are working with our conference partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks. 

 Fasten your seatbelts (and wash your hands)!

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Workplace Adaptations - Social Distancing, Teleworking and More

Large Companies Respond to COVID-19 With Enhanced Safety Policies, Restricting Meetings and Travel

SUBMITTED BY MICHAEL SCRIBNER, APMM SECRETARY

Just as members of the APMM were planning to convene our biennial gathering, in Seattle, WA - of all places, a virus was conspiring to ground us and make us rethink even the mundane task of going to work or to a professional gathering.

Now, organizations across the country are taking proactive steps to avoid putting employees in harm's way. Because of the extremely contagious nature of the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, changes are being enacted that affect off-site visits to clients, conference travel, and in some cases, even inter-office meetings between coworkers, in an effort to minimize the risk of illness.

Just as the APMM decided to reschedule our gathering, we are in good company as the following organizations have taken decisive actions to eliminate large gatherings and curtail travel:

  • Google cancelled their large annual developer conference, known as I/O, due to concerns over the virus. They also placed travel restrictions on their employees, forbidding non-essential international business travel.
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey requested that his entire staff (nearly 5,000 employees) work from home, and the company suspended all non-critical business travel and events.
  • The online payment platform developer Stripe took similar steps, with most of its employees encouraged (and in some cases required) to work remotely.
  • GPS manufacturer Garmin International suspended non-essential business travel globally, and recommended its employees reconsider personal travel to areas of increasing transmission.
  • Microsoft suspended some non-essential business travel, as well as closed its campus to tours or non-essential meetings and cancelled some upcoming events.
  • Whirlpool took similar measures, with their Europe, Middle-East and Africa headquarters, located in Milan, being situated in an area heavily affected by COVID-19.
  • The high-profile South by Southwest music and media festival in Austin, Texas has seen several large corporations such as Intel, Twitter and Facebook withdraw their participation, and more than 33,000 signatures on an online petition calling for the festival to be cancelled entirely, over fears of advancing transmission of COVID-19 in Texas. (The festival has since been cancelled.)

Some companies have taken this self-distancing policy as an opportunity to utilize virtual meetings. Whether teleconferencing through Skype or other software, or using more elaborate virtual meeting software such as GoToMeeting, many companies are finding this to be a suitable substitute for physical, in-person connection. 

  • Starbucks recently announced that they will be holding their annual shareholder’s meeting virtually. Starbucks headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington (currently the US state with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19).
  • Adobe cancelled their annual summit in Las Vegas, saying it would become an “online-only” experience.
  • Similar steps have been taken by Facebook, converting one upcoming event into a virtual expo and cancelling another altogether.

Whether your organization is large or small, the implications to employee health and well-being, as well as the stresses to your bottom line because of work stoppages, shortages or shutdowns can weigh heavy. When fighting any foe, knowledge can be power, so here are a few links to read up on this latest threat and how some organizations are coping:

https://quillette.com/2020/03/03/dealing-with-a-once-in-a-century-pathogen/

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/03/811728989/coronavirus-cancellations-and-travel-bans-google-is-latest

https://www.moodyonthemarket.com/whirlpool-takes-precautions-as-coronavirus-advances-near-emea-hq-in-milan/

https://www.usnews.com/news/economy/articles/2020-03-03/twitter-amazon-google-among-businesses-guarding-against-coronavirus

 

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Where You Stay Matters

Why should you lodge at the APMM's host hotel?

SUBMITTED BY PAUL CHABALA, APMM TREASURER

There are many aspects to creating a great conference experience. One of those things is locating and acquiring a suitable host hotel for our attendees. Benefits to using a host hotel include:

  • Close proximity to the conference venue
  • Tours leave from hotel as central location
  • Events and activities are based at the hotel (like registration check-in and Pizza Meet & Greet!)
  • And most importantly… after-hours social gatherings!!

To secure a discounted rate, the APMM must reserve a hotel room block, which requires us to guarantee a certain number of rooms will be sold. Rooms that go unsold are paid for at a loss to the APMM. So, we need conference attendees to make staying at the host hotel a priority.

Because the APMM relies on our biennial Conference to bridge the gap between our minimal expenses and the membership dues we collect, every dollar spent on non-essentials is a huge cost to this lean organization. Trimming these avoidable expenses means a healthier APMM - one that will be there for a long time to come.

The APMM Board would like to humbly ask that members and vendors make every possible effort to book directly with our host hotel. Though there are many discount travel sites and booking agencies, and even other lodgings that may be a little lower cost, we ask that you consider staying at the host hotel while taking advantage of the extra amenities we've negotiated. You'll be closer to the action, won't need additional transportation, and will be able to enjoy the camaraderie and experience of the APMM community that gathers after-hours. I guess you could say that your booking at the host hotel is another way to express your membership loyalty. 

Through some aggressive negotiations with the University Inn, we were able to shift our schedule to the October 23-26 dates without penalty. But every room you or your company books somewhere else ultimately costs us $139/night.

The long and short of it… please book your stay at the host hotel.

 

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Coronavirus Resources

Here are some COVID-19 Information Sources

SUBMITTED BY JOSHUA MUNCHOW, SOCIAL MEDIA VP

The spreading of coronavirus, specifically COVID-19, has thrown a wrench into our lives and the planning of our biennial conference in Seattle. As we on the board make adjustments and try to reschedule the event for this fall, many may be wondering where to get accurate information on the outbreak.

Below are some of the best sources for information about the current COVID-19 disease covering what it is, how to keep yourself safe, and information about travel advisories and how to plan for any other travel you may be undertaking in the near future.

As we await the rescheduled conference, keep an eye on these sources and keep yourself safe so that we can all get together this fall for some amazing tours, workshops, speakers, and great times had with fellow model makers!

 

In Depth Info-

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

 

Facebook & Twitter Sources

https://www.facebook.com/CDC

https://twitter.com/CDCgov

 

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Updates From Seattle

The unfolding situation in our host city.

SUBMITTED BY CHRIS STANLEY AND BRUCE WILLEY

March 6
The death toll in Washington state as of this writing stands at twelve. To put this in perspective most of the deaths are out of one nursing home. Yesterday we were asked not to meet in groups larger than five. On Monday the University of Washington Seattle will be only doing classes remotely. We wash our hands a lot for long periods of time. Most people are not sick.

As of 3:45 our local theater group on Bainbridge Island is hibernating. No performances, rehearsals, or classes till further notice. First Robotics is starting to postpone matches in the area. Microsoft is having its employees work remotely.


March 9
The Seattle Comicon convention, scheduled for the same weekend as the APMM conference, has been canceled. This morning, FIRST Washington and ORTOP reached the unfortunate conclusion that COVID-19 is an event beyond our control, and in accordance with public health recommendations we must postpone the remainder of the 2020 PNW District events.


March 11
Coronavirus is now responsible for 25 deaths in the state of Washington, mostly in King County nursing homes.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee will announce a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people in the Greater Seattle Area. University of Washington said that classes will no longer be meeting in person through the end of winter quarter because of coronavirus concerns.

Seattle is taking the most advanced steps in combating the virus. Besides the ones mentioned above, the Governor has pushed for the adoption of "aggressive social distancing" habits. He has also liberalized Washington's unemployment benefits policies. Coronavirus and COVID-19 is being addressed as an economic situation, as well as a medical one, there.

 

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Same Conference - New Date

Will we see you October 23-26, 2020?

SUBMITTED BY BRUCE WILLEY, APMM CONFERENCE VP

As model makers, we have lots of experience, and a love/hate relationship with the schedule being extended. When the presentation gets postponed a day or so, that’s usually good. We can let the paint dry a little longer before assembly, or tweak the mechanism to work better, or even go home for the first time in 3 days and get some sleep. When it’s moved out a lot more than that, we just know there'll be rework on the original models, more models, or even chucking the models and making new ones. It can be frustrating.

When your APMM Board of Directors dropped what we were doing a few Sundays ago and picked up our phones to have an emergency conference call about the effect Coronavirus could have on the conference, we knew we could be dealing with one of those scope-changes where you throw all the work in the trash and start from scratch. Happily, that will not be the case!

Due to some fast action and skilled negotiating on the part of your Executive Director, Treasurer and President, we’ve secured the same meeting site and hotel. We generally start scouting that out at least a year in advance in order to get a convenient venue for as good a deal as possible. It’s a huge effort. Please choose the hotel who stood by us and be sure to ask for one of the rooms in the APMM block when you reserve!

We also spend a lot of time finding the most interesting places to visit on our Tours. I think we had one of the best line-ups in years and we even sourced some instructors and classroom space for hands-on learning. As of right now, registrants are on the same tours as they were originally. There’s still room on some of the tours and classes if you’re interested! Link to Tours

The Workshop situation is slightly trickier, because it’s possible a few of our member-presenters wouldn’t be able to make it to the rescheduled conference. We can replace any of the outside talent we hired for workshops, but the majority of workshops (including all the best ones) are given by you. This is another chance for you to develop your presentation skills and be more visible to your peers in the model making community! You have 7 months to put something together… Link to Workshops

On Wednesday, February 26, the Board’s scheduled phone conference was upbeat and sometimes silly. All the important arrangements had been finalized, and we were dealing with “the last detail(s)”. We even talked about having a Coronavirus Couture Contest, where trend-setting model makers would be judged on their best protective coveralls, respirators, gloves and other gear. Then, on Sunday, March 1, we had an unscheduled, uncomfortable, but not unproductive phone conference and decided we could still make Seattle 2020 happen!

Some of you might be saying it’s oddly convenient that our Octopus-themed conference has somehow moved to October. To that I say – oh look, I’ve hit my word limit!

 

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