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Efforts toward a west coast Nats

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Frankly I'm surprised Sacramento bid again after the 86 nationals. They were raked over the coals publicly as soon as the convention was awarded, by Scale Modeler (vested interest), and lambasted again after the convention, even Gil got in a shot at the beginning of the thread. Chapters that will keep trying, is what we need.

Edited by Gromit801

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The below URL is the IPMS/USA Membership Map I made on a CalComp Plotter in 1969. I expect the membership is approximately the same today.

 

http://i604.photobucket.com/albums/tt124/HappyRalph/IPMS_Membership_Map_1968.jpg

 

 

 

The distribution map is 46 years old. I respectfully disagree.

 

I agree James. A LOT can change in 46 years. I would certainly like to see an up-to-date graphic map.

 

I have to agree with the disagreement. The west coast is growing much faster than the east coast. The area I live in now just 16 years ago was cattle pasture. The highschool my son graduated from was a dairy farm and now it is houses as far as you can see and that is in less that 16 years. 46 years ago there were 5 very small rural farming towns between here and the ocean. These towns now have a little over 600,000 people living in them and are growing at a rate of about 7% per year.

 

I think most east coasters don't realize how many people live out here. James made the point in an earlier post that the population center is moving west . That is because of the growth mostly on the west coast. The "flyover"(sorry guys) states aren't increasing in population nearly as rapidly as the west coast is. The south west part of the state is not far off population wise to the Northeast corridor and certainly growing faster.

 

I just can understand how someone can look at a 40+ year old map and come to the conclusion that distribution of membership would not have changed much. It would be nice to see a new map.

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Jim (and all): I wasn't trying to get any "shot" in. I was merely pointing out a little ancient IPMSUSA history that predates most members here, but even more importantly I was trying to show that IF you have a west coast show, it needs to be somewhere people truly want to visit!

 

Anywhere on the coast is probably going to be popular because it will be a big population center with plenty of attractions. Going inland (Sacramento, Salt Lake City, etc.) is where you might start taking some chances (by comparison). That's been the actual history of the Nats in our past, and it would be up to those particular chapters to show how it would be better in any future bid they present.

 

Like most everyone here in this topic, I too would like to see the western zone get its share of Nats shows. But, I also qualify that by stating it should be a solid bid. A show should not be awarded to a western host if their financial prospects aren't solid just to satisfy a desired geographical outcome. If you read my past posts you can see I'm supportive of ideas of how IPMSUSA can directly help more western clubs participate with such bids.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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A map of the current IPMS clubs... (or pretty recent) for reference.

 

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 3.37.54 PM.png

 

Eric

So I guess Billings is right out.

 

But, having read all of the previous posts, I can only say this. As it gets more difficult for me, a Westerner, to attend Nats -- in part because there are fewer Nats in the West -- I am less and less motivated to attend Nats. Last year, I cancelled my Columbus plans and am now reconsidering Columbia (which would be my first Eastern Nats) -- breaking a string of years of West/Center attendance.

 

And the less motivated I am to attend most of the Nats, the less benefit I get from being an IPMS member -- I can participate in every IPMS sponsored contest, except Nats, without being a member.

 

So, whatever the logic and whatever the motivation for bidding and whatever the selection process, there will be some Westerners such as I who drift away from IPMS as the opportunity to attend the annual showcase contest withers away. Without anger or frustration or recrimination -- just a bit of sadness.

Edited by Highlander
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I would love Salt Lake to do the Nats again but since the core club members are the ones who ended up covering costs for the 80 convention it would take a lot for the National Contest Committee to show how much support is now available.

 

That said, when I first started to attend the Nats it was only the Western shows I could afford to get to. I looked forward to every 3rd year because I knew it would be back near enough for me to get there. Lately it has been a major investment for me to make it to the show and I have managed that the last 5 years (Denver was nice and close enough) but to go back to the east coast again this year is probably not going to happen and Omaha will be a wait and see.

 

I would love to see what factors put Omaha over Phoenix if for no other reason than to let other chapters out west see exactly what they need to do to try and convince the Contest Committee that they can put on a good show. Maybe not the biggest but if nothing else a show that showcases what those of us out west can build.

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Hey Phil,

The NCC does not participate in the bid process, per se. There have been occasions in which a member of the NCC was also a member of the EB, and in that case, I guess one could say the NCC was represented in the bid process, but it was never a "determining' factor during my years of participation on the EB. It is the EB that makes the decision as to the convention bid winner.

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I would love Salt Lake to do the Nats again but since the core club members are the ones who ended up covering costs for the 80 convention it would take a lot for the National Contest Committee to show how much support is now available.

 

That said, when I first started to attend the Nats it was only the Western shows I could afford to get to. I looked forward to every 3rd year because I knew it would be back near enough for me to get there. Lately it has been a major investment for me to make it to the show and I have managed that the last 5 years (Denver was nice and close enough) but to go back to the east coast again this year is probably not going to happen and Omaha will be a wait and see.

 

I would love to see what factors put Omaha over Phoenix if for no other reason than to let other chapters out west see exactly what they need to do to try and convince the Contest Committee that they can put on a good show. Maybe not the biggest but if nothing else a show that showcases what those of us out west can build.

 

Hi Phil:

 

I thought this was covered several pages back but being on the board and making that decision, I can say the following:

 

1. As Dick said above, the NCC has nothing to do with the selection, they are not consulted. The EBoard makes the decision only and it comes down to voting.

2. 2nd VP asks for bids early so they can be reviewed. We ask questions and they answer them prior to the actual presentation at the nationals.

3. Then we have the nationals presentations which are given after the Eboard Annual meeting on Saturdays. Usually attended by 15-30 people and required for Eboard members

4. After the presentations, Q&A sessions and any needed follow up, the EBoard meets and discusses and makes a decision.

5. It is announced at the awards dinner

 

As t Omaha and Phoenix, the Eboard discussion centered around location (Midwest vs. West), cost for the convention (hotels, flights, entry fees, banquet costs, potential profit, etc.) and the presentations themselves. Both groups had held conventions and had good staffs who had experience and recent experience at that having conventions. Omaha and Phoenix had both made profits with Phoenix making much less than Omaha. Location was debated and attendance at both conventions reviews as well as potential tours, locales and hotel costs. The info in the presentation as far as budgets, banquets, amenities, etc. was reviewed.

 

After mulling all of that over, Omaha won and it was unanimous. And yes, cost was one of the drivers- we hear nothing but complaints about banquet costs, hotel costs (I won't stay there, I will stay close to save money, etc.). In the end, as a Board member, IPMS is a business and we have a responsibility to make the best decision we can. It will never be perfect as someone will always be unhappy

 

And personally, Phoenix was a blast last time I was there

 

Dave

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Sorry guys, confused NCC with the EB, my fault for not going through the whole thread.

 

While I didn't attend the presentations I have looked at bid packages from previous contests. I don't envy the EB in these cases.

 

Phoenix has always been good and who doesn't love a trip to Pima.

 

But then, I have had fun at all the Nats I have been at but the two Disney ones (Orange County and Disneyworld) stand out as the best because I had my two younger boys with me on the first and the whole family on the second. I can see how the vendors may have lost out on sales but for me, if I have to fly to a show, I probably am not getting too much in the vendors area (the last few shows I have attended back that up). Of course, I don't enter that much when I have to fly either.

 

I just hope that we don't end up losing a bunch of members out west because they can't afford to attend a Nats. Yes we get the Journal but most other shows don't require you to be a member. I have been a member since the 70's and most of that early time stayed a member for the mags and the opportunity every 3 years to get to a Nats.

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Figured you were actually thinking "EB" and not "NCC". I also enjoyed the Orlando convention very much. I made a point of doing the whole Disney thing and I can guarantee it didn't result in any decrease in vendor income. Didn't make the west coast Disneyland convention....couldn't take the time off from work. I enjoy the trip to a Nats in a holistic manner. Getting there and then home again is half the fun. I've seen parts of the country I've never visited before on the road-trip portion. Don't really care where the convention is being held as the travel becomes part of the whole experience.
Never been to a convention that I did not enjoy. But then, I don't attend with the expectation of being "served" or "waited upon". I go with the desire to participate....and I see that many others do the same. Going on tours, bleeding money in the vendor area, judging, either attending or providing a presentation/seminar....yup....I'm already feeling itchy to hit the road to Columbia.

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After mulling all of that over, Omaha won and it was unanimous. And yes, cost was one of the drivers- we hear nothing but complaints about banquet costs, hotel costs (I won't stay there, I will stay close to save money, etc.). In the end, as a Board member, IPMS is a business and we have a responsibility to make the best decision we can. It will never be perfect as someone will always be unhappy

 

And personally, Phoenix was a blast last time I was there

 

Dave

Dave, please don't take this in the wrong way, but IPMS is not a business. It is a fraternal organization that is run for the benefit of the membership. There is a significant difference. The organization is run to benefit the maximum number of members to the greatest extent possible. As a member, I am not a customer, and as such, pay my dues each year to reap the benefits of membership. I am not buying a product or service.

 

Yes, IPMS needs to stay solvent and that necessitates making sound decisions when it comes to finances, but unlike a business, the objective is not to maximize profit, but to maximize benefits to our members within the budget that we have. I am sure that you did not intend for your comment to imply that profitability was a major force in determination of the Nationals location, but it could be interpreted that way.

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Pete:

 

Agree to disagree. We run a $150,000 per year venture which files and pays taxes (yes- we have to pay taxes even as a 501 non-profit), wages to the office manager and art director including generating all the tax documents for them; runs multiple commercial checking accounts, publishes a magazine including all the necessary postal permits and filings. We get audited by the post office and the IRS as a business, maintain trademarks, corporation filings and a plethora of more things required by a business. We are a business and the goal is to not to be one to the membership but if you join the board, it is definitely work and a business. For the remainder of the membership, I agree its not a business, it is a hobby and pleasure and that is what keep the board motivated.

 

But that is the reason so few want to run- they don't want to put the time in to what they consider a hobby and that, believe me, I do understand.

 

Dave

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Pete:

 

Agree to disagree. We run a $150,000 per year venture which files and pays taxes (yes- we have to pay taxes even as a 501 non-profit), wages to the office manager and art director including generating all the tax documents for them; runs multiple commercial checking accounts, publishes a magazine including all the necessary postal permits and filings. We get audited by the post office and the IRS as a business, maintain trademarks, corporation filings and a plethora of more things required by a business. We are a business and the goal is to not to be one to the membership but if you join the board, it is definitely work and a business. For the remainder of the membership, I agree its not a business, it is a hobby and pleasure and that is what keep the board motivated.

 

But that is the reason so few want to run- they don't want to put the time in to what they consider a hobby and that, believe me, I do understand.

 

Dave

So you are implying that a primary consideration in what bid gets selected for the national convention is the amount of profit that can be generated to the organization?

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Anyone who believes IPMS/USA is not a business hasn't Chaired a National Convention.

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Pete:

 

Agree to disagree. We run a $150,000 per year venture which files and pays taxes (yes- we have to pay taxes even as a 501 non-profit), wages to the office manager and art director including generating all the tax documents for them; runs multiple commercial checking accounts, publishes a magazine including all the necessary postal permits and filings. We get audited by the post office and the IRS as a business, maintain trademarks, corporation filings and a plethora of more things required by a business. We are a business and the goal is to not to be one to the membership but if you join the board, it is definitely work and a business. For the remainder of the membership, I agree its not a business, it is a hobby and pleasure and that is what keep the board motivated.

 

But that is the reason so few want to run- they don't want to put the time in to what they consider a hobby and that, believe me, I do understand.

 

Dave

So you are implying that a primary consideration in what bid gets selected for the national convention is the amount of profit that can be generated to the organization?

 

I did not infer that DM was implying that. What I read was that IPMS has a core set of activities that requires we must first meet certain hard rules of finance. Without regard to the perceptions of individual members. Or IPMS will cease to exist. And, if IPMS is sailing close to the wind (that's a sop for you ship builders) financially, then the core business activities must dominate IPMS Nationals decision making. Which could lead to your conclusion above.

 

I have no insight into how close to the financial winds IPMS may be sailing. I would think, that if IPMS has or projects to have, funds to have a secure business base, then it can make the location of a National Convention a higher priority than the pure projected net profit from the event. So, to reveal a prejudice, a Western convention projected to make less profit might be chosen over some other area's more profitable convention bid. Because IPMS might have a financial buffer if the event "fails". However, if the financial priority overrides all other considerations, I might conclude that IPMS is very close to the wind.

 

I also have no insight into how close IPMS may have come to falling of the edge of the world, financially, in the past. I know from experience that escaping a financial disaster can make one very conservative in making future optimistic decisions.

 

I was an officer of another club in another hobby. We sponsored two events a year. Our financial philosophy was to maintain a base amount of funds to eat both events if they were complete busts -- all expenses and no income. That almost happened once for one event -- it was outdoors and it rained for three days before and the day of the event, leaving our venue area a complete quagmire. We lost our shirts and pants and socks on that one, maybe getting 10% of our costs back. But we had it covered and we were only dealing in a couple thousand dollars per event. IPMS Nats is a much bigger boat.

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As a former National Convention Chairman, I can say that the EB NEVER even discussed profit (if any) hoped for. In fact, the ONLY impression I got was that we break even. If the convention broke even and (almost) everyone who attended was happy, the convention was declared a success for everyone. Logic suggests that a minimal profit be allowed for to cover any additional, unforeseen expenses which I did. As Chairman, it was one of my duties presenting the bid, to include a written preliminary budget for the event showing a breakdown of proposed expenses and profits so the EB could see we had our ducks in a row. I guess the EB could choose a convention site by the bottom line, but as I said, it was NEVER even implied by the EB when submitting the OKC bid.

 

FWIW.

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Pete:

 

No, not the only consideration but it is a part of it. It has been almost 20 years since we lost (a lot) of money at a convention and it is our fiduciary duty to make sure that doesn't happen. The bids play a large part of it- how much for banquet, entry fee, tours, hotel cost is a big one too. The location is huge also along with the staff experience and a bunch of other things. So based on all of that, the money (costs of hotel, banquet, etc.) play a huge part. The profit is usually only an indication of how much things will cost.

 

Other things to consider are vendor costs, set up fees, etc. There are a lot of things discussed

 

One point to consider too. Many of the prospective groups have not bid based on these issues. We were approached by a group in the northwest and there concern was there hotels were going to be a minimum of $190. it is not the cost that was a problem but they worried that the cost would lower attendance and the show would lose money.

 

All of this is the reason we are, by the constitution required to keep a back up fund for the nationals

 

Dave

 

PS- it is actually some really good questions. And Rusty- I would go back to OKC in a minute

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...

We were approached by a group in the northwest and there concern was there hotels were going to be a minimum of $190. it is not the cost that was a problem but they worried that the cost would lower attendance and the show would lose money.

 

I would not have attended if the rooms were @$200. Columbia is now possible for me because I can stay with a friend across the river.

 

All of this is the reason we are, by the constitution required to keep a back up fund for the nationals.

 

Thought that might be a factor.

 

And Rusty- I would go back to OKC in a minute

 

It would take me about eight hours, but I'd be there too.

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I enjoyed the OKC convention very much! The fact that it was over the July 4th holiday was an extra "bene"....I bought a ticket that evening at the local minor league baseball game and enjoyed a wonderful fireworks display after the game.

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I can certainly appreciate the fact that cost to the attendee would be an issue for some modelers, however I would point out that cost is very much relative. For instance, several mentions of the Disneyland/world conventions were made. Hotel rooms in August are currently listed for $300+ and up. This may discourage a number of modelers who would not avail themselves of the resorts facilities, however it would encourage the attendance of people who have families who may be bored stiff by a model convention, but would love a family vacation.

Compare that with the number of families you might get if the convention were held in a less family friendly location(I won't mention any as I don't wish to offend anyone) where the rooms are half the price but "family fun" might be a much less available. There is a fine balance and just saying I wouldn't go if rooms were $250 a night is really a personal decision and may not actually change the gross number of attendees.

 

I would be worried if IPMS started selecting locations based primarily on the projected cost to the modeler. These conventions need to be held someplace interesting. A place that can cater to the needs of a family as well as the solo modeler. Frankly, I don't want to attend a convention that the only thing going on in town is the convention. I want to go someplace that I can find other things of interest. I may be different, but I don't mind paying more for that situation.

 

This is the problem with a bean counter approach. The bean counters would have the convention at a motel 6 at the roadside of I-80 in the middle of Nebraska(Yea, I from Nebraska, so don't get your panties in a knot). A convention needs to consider much more than cost in selecting a location and there is risk in that.

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"PS- it is actually some really good questions. And Rusty- I would go back to OKC in a minute"

 

Thank you Dave. You otta see the place now! The entertainment district is almost twice the size it was in '03. They are currently constructing a huge white water rafting ride along the river to accompany the zip line across the river and plans for a new convention center are progressing!

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The bean counters would have the convention at a motel 6 at the roadside of I-80 in the middle of Nebraska(Yea, I from Nebraska, so don't get your panties in a knot). A convention needs to consider much more than cost in selecting a location and there is risk in that.

Pete... I'm sure that with a bit of research there's interesting stuff to see and do in the middle of Nebraska! Maybe not modeling related, but interesting nevertheless. And I think we've stumbled upon an interesting point here. How important is it to have attractions aside from the convention itself, i.e. "family stuff"? Perhaps the whole approach should really begin with a discussion of what the event should be... a modeling convention, or a modeling convention/family holiday.

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Most Nats bids are from clubs with attractions in their area to draw both the solitary modeler and his family. I'm sure that those "extras" are part of the discussion when the EB makes a decision, and some very nice attractions (like Disney) can guarantee good attendance despite higher costs to the attendees.

 

I can also say that those "extras" are one of the primary reasons our club here in Jacksonville hasn't bid for a Nats. We have the manpower and experience, especially if we ask the other local club to co-sponsor with us. However, there's not many major attractions in our immediate area. Sure, we have both Mayport and NAS Jax bases; but those may or may not be available for a tour depending on the security situation. The Adams (a historic destroyer) will be coming to our river front landing area next spring, but it remains to be seen what this does to that area and how much of an attraction it is (like Patriot's Point in Charleston). We have a nice local zoo, but nothing along the lines of the Columbus or San Diego Zoo. St. Augustine makes for some great historical tours, but they're all 30-45 mins away; which may or may not be convenient to our attendees. And, we can't count on selling our location as a part of people's plans to hit us and Disney (or Sea World, or Universal, etc.) because we're just too far away.

 

As the old saying goes....location, location, location! Some places are just blessed better than others!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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The bean counters would have the convention at a motel 6 at the roadside of I-80 in the middle of Nebraska(Yea, I from Nebraska, so don't get your panties in a knot). A convention needs to consider much more than cost in selecting a location and there is risk in that.

Pete... I'm sure that with a bit of research there's interesting stuff to see and do in the middle of Nebraska! Maybe not modeling related, but interesting nevertheless. And I think we've stumbled upon an interesting point here. How important is it to have attractions aside from the convention itself, i.e. "family stuff"? Perhaps the whole approach should really begin with a discussion of what the event should be... a modeling convention, or a modeling convention/family holiday.

 

Bob, my point is not that you can't find something interesting to do anywhere in the world, but how to get the best bang for the buck for the most people. This goes back to the original issue of left vs. right coast or something in between. I just did a bit of quick research and here is a distillation of my point. For me(and most west coasters) to go to Columbia, transportation and hotel room is about $1,000. I have read complaints from some about $150 a night for a hotel and the only way they can go is to stay in town with relatives. How many west coasters are likely to be sympathetic to that argument. For the cost of going to Columbia, I could certainly take my family to a convention in Anaheim and pay for their time at Disneyland. Thus the benefits are relative. By holding the conventions almost exclusively east of the Mississippi you reduce the "bang for the buck" for about half the population dramatically. Yes, going to an LA or San Diego or Las Vegas, you cut out a lot of east coasters based on cost, but you gain a lot of west coasters. We west coasters are feeling the pinch.

Edited by PeteJ
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Frankly, in my experience, my starting budget for attending ANY Nats is $1000. I just assume it will cost me that each time, no matter where it's being held. I arrived at that figure after attending the first 5 or so, and it's held true for the 20 or so after that. If you think attending a Nats should cost only slightly more than driving to your local or regional show, then I'm thinking you're starting from a false assumption, and that can lead to many disillusions and disappointments with the Nats.

 

If I have to fly to a show, it may run a bit more than that. If I can drive, it may be significantly less than that. All I do is adjust my "mad money" according to how much those base attendance costs run me.

 

I also almost NEVER plan my family's vacation to coincide with the Nats. I've found it's not good for almost everyone involved. I don't want my attention at the Nats distracted from my activities and friends there, just as my family doesn't want me distracted from them when we're doing something "together". I understand that some people cannot afford both. I had the same experience when I was younger, had kids at home, less seniority and pay in my job, etc.. Some IPMS members are going to have to make a choice at times. The Nats hosts always try to make it possible to please the family as well as the modeler, but that cannot be their first responsibility when planning a model show.

 

In the east, IPMS has had to take a serious look at hitting "second tier" cities in order to save costs, and it seems to be working. Perhaps that's also what needs to be done in the west, since the venue expense seems to be the biggest drawback to a winning bid from that section. Even so, I do think (as I've said elsewhere) that the Eboard should look at getting a Nats back out west as soon as it's practical to do so!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I can also say that those "extras" are one of the primary reasons our club here in Jacksonville hasn't bid for a Nats. We have the manpower and experience, especially if we ask the other local club to co-sponsor with us. However, there's not many major attractions in our immediate area.

I understand what you're saying, Gil. That's just the point I was raising. Should the Nats be strictly a modeling convention? Or should it also be considered a family entertainment affair? For a strictly modeling event Jacksonville (e.g.) would make a fine location. I'm just saying that perhaps the Society should first define what it wants the convention to be.

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