New Executive Director Interview
Bill Zimmermann has been on the job at ACCT for about two months. We thought we would sit down with him to find out how things were going so far.
ACCT: Bill what have you been working on in your first weeks on the job at ACCT?
Bill Zimmermann: Thanks for asking, it is really good to be here at ACCT and I feel like we have made a lot of progress already. I spent the first two weeks working closely with Shawn Tierney and Carson Rivers. Shawn and Carson were responsible for getting me oriented to the organization, its systems, and providing me access to all of the information I would need going forward. Shawn was a great help in transferring accounts and providing administrative access to systems that manage different parts of the association. Carson was invaluable in helping orient me to the organization's ways of doing things and in introducing me to key volunteers and committees.
I spent a lot of April focusing on the basics: getting to know the staff, meeting vendors, connecting with members and former colleagues, setting up an office - things like that. In May we had a face-to-face board meeting here in Colorado, which was my first opportunity to meet many of the board members in person. I started work on the 2023 fiscal year budget in the latter half of May and have reviewed the draft budget with the finance committee and the board. I suspect we are on track for budget approval next week.
ACCT: What are some of your priorities in the coming year?
Bill: I want to learn as much as I can about the industry today. I worked in the challenge course industry over twenty years ago and a lot has changed. The industry is much more specialized and the ACCT membership has diversified considerably since I was last involved. So, I'll need to take the time to study, speak with people, and observe what is happening now. But with my past industry experience and association management background, I feel like I can be a strong advocate for the ACCT right away.
I also want to focus a significant amount of time on ACCT governance. ACCT has tremendous strengths in volunteer engagement and enthusiasm. The volunteer commitment to ACCT is a huge asset which would be very hard to develop if it were not in place. I'd like to direct that volunteer enthusiasm in more coordinated, efficient, and ultimately more productive directions. So far people seem to be open to working together in new ways. I'd like to take a hard look at how ACCT operates and help make it a great place to work, to volunteer, and to participate as a member. It will be a rewarding challenge.
One of my most important priorities for the coming year is to grow the ACCT conference in Portland, Oregon. The events business is recovering post-Covid-19 and a lot of conferences and trade shows have seen significant growth due to pent-up demand. People are looking forward to life getting back to normal and reconnecting in person. We have been working on a new conference sponsorship program, and an overwhelming number of conference proposals which I think will be great for the ACCT conference. I look forward to meeting lots of members in Portland in February at our largest conference ever.
ACCT: What opportunities do you see for ACCT in the future?
Bill: I think the ACCT membership may continue to grow and diversify which could take the organization in a number of different directions. If international membership grows we could see new chapters emerge and new international events - provided there were sufficient numbers to support that growth. Technology is transforming most businesses, sometimes in disruptive ways, but also in incremental ways. I hope to invest in technology this year that allows ACCT to run more efficiently as a business, that allows ACCT members to study, learn, and participate professional development online, and that allows ACCT to communicate with its members more cost effectively. Finally, I'd like to diversify our events program, so we are not as dependent on the annual conference for our financial results. I think there is room for new, innovative, targeted events that the community would support. Lastly, I am committed to the professional development of ACCT members and volunteers and look forward to meeting those needs in the years ahead.
ACCT: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Bill: I have three. If I were marooned on a desert island with a freezer I'd want it stocked with vanilla bean ice cream, pistachio, and Ben and Jerry's Americone Dream.