From the Executive Director

A new home for AASV

The need for change sometimes sneaks up on you. The AASV moved into its current office in early fall of 1997. At the time, the 650 square feet of space was all we needed. It was priced right and allowed the efficient operation of the administration of the association. It has served our needs well over the years. That is why I was surprised a few years ago when one of our officers expressed his amazement over how small our office seemed the first time he visited. It was at that time when I realized that I had become so accustomed to our office that I had not realized how cramped for space we had become. I needed to view our space with fresh eyes!

Over the last 12 years, the AASV has grown in scope and thus in its need for more space. We now publish more materials, such as the Swine Disease Manual, Euthanasia Guidelines, Swine Information CD-ROM, and Salary Survey. More materials require more space for storage, exacerbated when combined with handling large mass mailings to members. Sue Schulteis has never complained about this lack of adequate storage and work space, but it has certainly created challenges for her organizational skills. It is to her credit to be able to manage in spite of these challenges.

The ultimate challenge to our limited space arrives in the days leading up to the annual meeting every year. The AASV office receives numerous materials for registration as well as the proceedings for the seminars. With a thousand registration packets to prepare, the office is overflowing, as you can see in the photo.

Another limiting factor with our current office is the lack of a conference room. In the past, there have been several times when this type of space could have been used. For example, it would be great to host committee meetings in our own conference room rather than using the space provided by National Pork Board in Des Moines. Another example was last fall when we had to conduct an interview for a TV news story in our parking lot outside the office. It worked, but we certainly could have presented a much more professional appearance with a conference room.

Over a year ago, the search began for a larger space for the AASV office. It is safe to say that in the course of a year I have looked at every option in Perry, Iowa, for the AASV office. The requirements included a larger work area, warehouse capabilities for handling pallets, more storage space, and a conference room. Having found nothing suitable, I began to consider the building of new space. It would not be feasible or prudent for AASV to build and own real estate in Perry. The option was then considered for me to own a building and lease space to the AASV.

Before proceeding with this type of project, the AASV Board of Directors considered this opportunity during the spring board meeting. I presented them with a list of comparatives for the cost of leasing in Perry and an anticipated lease rate for space in my building. The board approved moving forward with this relationship, with the Executive Committee to give final consideration and approval as needed. That approval was given after I provided the Executive Committee with a proposal outlining the committed space, the lease rate, and the lease terms.

By the time you read this, we will have started site preparation and hopefully construction. The AASV will have 1950 square feet of devoted space with shared kitchenette and bathroom areas, and access to warehouse space, a loading dock, and a forklift. The building will be shared with two other businesses compatible with the day-to-day operations of the AASV.

This is a big move for the AASV. It is the culmination of a great deal of thought and consideration of the options. It is essential that there is transparency at all times. In light of that, I welcome any and all questions about the space, the lease terms, and all related issues. Please contact me at any time. Also, if you have a free day or two later this summer you could volunteer to help move the office!

--Tom Burkgren, DVM

Crowded conditions in the AASV office just before the annual meeting