Twelve years in one location. That is how long the AASV office has been at 902 1st Avenue in Perry, Iowa. The new office at 830 26th Street is now complete and ready for occupancy. We moved most of the office to the new building on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate in 650 square feet of space. We moved into the office 12 years ago with very little, since this was the first office specifically for the AASV. We left with a great deal more. Not just boxes of stuff, but a lot of memories too.
I have to admit that I am bit sad to leave the old office. It has served us very well. The landlord was great and the rent was reasonable. Its location required a 3-minute commute from my house (unless the light was red – then it was 5 minutes). It was close to the bank and post office. It was a cozy place to conduct the business of AASV. A lot of memories go with an office. There was more than a decade of phone calls, e-mails and even the occasional (actually rare) visit by members. There was more than a decade of officers, board members, liaison representatives, and committee members who gave up countless hours to serve in volunteer positions on behalf of the AASV.
Memories are great, but as time went on it was increasingly evident that it was time to move. Some might say the reason to move was so I would have to clean and straighten my office and get rid of the piles of papers, files, documents, books, etc. My theory is that people who file everything neatly are just too lazy to look for things! Please rest assured that there are other reasons for the move. The biggest reason was simply a need for more space. We outgrew the old office about 3 or 4 years ago. As the association matured and the benefits of membership grew, so did our needs for work and storage space.
The new office does indeed have a great deal more office space for Sue and me, plus an additional office for expansion. There is also a conference room, expanded work room, larger storage, and even a kitchenette (with a coffee maker!). We have built in increased capacity for network connectivity, audiovisual capability, and an improved phone system. It already feels like home to me, probably because I have spent so much time in its planning and construction. It has been a great but sometimes frustrating experience serving as my own general contractor. The building is done, but when it comes to the work of the AASV, we are only just beginning!
Many times I have heard the saying “the only easy day was yesterday.” How true that is when it comes to the future of the pork industry and the role of swine veterinarians. It is not the bricks and mortar that define success. Our new facility is just another tool to foster efficiency and effectiveness. It is the people of the association who ensure success. It is the sum totals of their intelligence, knowledge, creativity, endurance, determination, and motivation that serve the larger good found within an association. An association is only as good as its members, volunteers, leadership, and staff.
The next time you are close to Perry, please drop in to see the new office! Tours and the coffee are free!
--Tom Burkgren, DVM