President's Message

    President's Message: MARCH 2020

    President of the Central Arizona Chapter of ASHRAE
    Kellie Huff

     

    Dear Members,

    The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation with a great deal of uncertainty as to what will come next. We want to assure you that we are monitoring the guidance of Federal, State, and Local health offices as well as practices and policies of local companies related to this pandemic. We are following local government and CDC guidelines suggesting no large gatherings over ten people. Because of this, we are canceling our April Chapter Meeting and are working with the presenter to get him back here in the fall. If you already paid for the meeting and wish to receive a refund, please contact us immediately, and we will process it. You may also choose not to receive a refund, and we will use that money towards our RP goal for the year.

    At this time, the remaining events for the year are still in question. We will continue to monitor the current situation as it evolves and make decisions in early April. You should have already seen that we had to postpone the Golf Tournament, we are still working on a new date. The Tech Session has also been postponed to the Fall of 2020. Below are the remaining events that are still in question:

    • May Chapter Meeting
    • Government Outreach Day
    • YEA Cornhole Tournament
    • WiA Escape Room
    • Presidential Installation Dinner

    Below is information from Society that I would like to share with everyone:

    • Staff Telecommuting – All ASHRAE staff have the option of telecommuting 100% this week. Telecommuting is not mandatory, but the vast majority will choose to work from home. Those options are likely to be extended in the coming weeks. The HQ office will remain fully functional. Staff has been instructed to forward office phones to their cell phones. All schools in Atlanta are closed, most until further notice.
    • Spring CRC’s – Regions VI, VIII and XI are moving forward with postponement of spring CRC’s. The recent CDC recommendation that all gatherings of 50 or more be postponed for 8 weeks helps with CRC hotel negotiations (President Trump is now recommending a limit to gatherings of 10 or less). Fall CRC’s are coming fast. The first is in July. DRC’s with summer/fall CRC’s are encouraged to work with staff to negotiate greater flexibility in hotel contracts for fall CRC’s. We recommend that no further contracts be signed for fall CRC’s without staff review and without very liberal cancellation options.
    • Chapter Meetings – We will proactively send a message out to all Chapter Presidents explaining electronic meeting resources that are available from HQ, who to contact, how to make a reservation, etc. That will help with Chapters transition to electronic meetings. DRC’s are, of course, welcome to use that service as well.
    • Cancellations – The following additional events have been canceled or postponed:
      • CIBSE/ASHRAE Technical Symposium, May 16-18, in Glasgow postponed to Sept. 14-15. Unfortunately, that conflicts with the ASHRAE IAQ conference in Athens, Greece.
      • SSPC 90.1, April 22-25 in Atlanta, GA (changed to an electronic meeting)
      • YEA Leadership Weekend 2.0, May 1-3, 2020 in Palm Springs
      • SSPC 514 Bacteria in Water Systems, May 12-14, 2020 in Atlanta, GA
      • YEA Leadership Weekend, May 15-17, 2020 in Minneapolis
    • June Annual Meeting, Austin – We are in constant discussion with four Austin hotels involving more than $1 million in contractual commitments. We are studying the ramifications of canceling the meeting, running a significantly smaller meeting, or running a virtual annual meeting. Weak registration interest is already apparent from the Austin registration report. Our ongoing analysis is looking at Society business, Technical program, administrative committees, TC’s, SSPC’s, etc.
    • COVID-19 Financial Impact – Staff has been focused heavily on the 20-21, 21-22, and 22-23 SY budgets, and we are in the final stages of preparing draft surplus budgets for the initial Finance Committee review via conference call this Thursday, March 19th. Staff will recommend expense reductions related to staff, travel, and programs. We also are monitoring the impact of the pandemic on current year financial performance. We estimate, for example, that the cancellation of education courses through May will reduce the SY 2019-20 net income by $150K. There also will be some expense reductions related to reduced travel. The June meeting is, of course, the key to the pandemic financial impact this Society year.
    • COVID-19 RP Impact – Cancellations of Chapter-level RP fundraising activities are starting to impact RP goals this year. Other general Society-level RP solicitations may help bridge that gap.
    • COVID-19 Chicago Winter Conference and AHR Expo Impact – The sky is not falling in Chicago. Still, it is only prudent that we study contingencies and the financial ramifications of a downsized AHR Expo in January. Finance Committee’s recommendation to take out a $4 million loan to avoid drawing down reserves too far during the HQ project now seems even more brilliant!

    We are clearly in unchartered territory, with the ground shifting beneath us on a daily basis. However, ASHRAE is a strong, resilient community of dedicated professionals, and there is no question that we will weather this storm in good form!

    Our objective is first to ensure the health, well-being, and safety of our chapter members and their families. The best way we can do that is to follow government and CDC recommendations. This situation is evolving daily, so we will continue to monitor it closely, and we will provide updates on our remaining events in April.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. In the meantime, stay safe!

    Thank you,
    Kellie Huff
    Central AZ Chapter President 2019-2020