Message from the President,
by, Vic Rompa

Well it certainly has been an exciting first year for me as the President of the APLA. 

My focus for 2014 was centered on 4 fundamentals:

  1. 1.  Fiscal Prudence

  2. 2.  Increase Participation/Membership

  3. 3.  Hunt Test Operations

  4. 4.  Expand the Judging Pool

These were not goals but strategic objectives that I felt we needed as an organization.

As we begin 2015 I thought it important to take the opportunity to share with you our performance against last year’s objectives.

1. Fiscal Prudence: I am pleased to report that the APLA’s bank balance which was approximately $2.00 at the beginning of 2014 increased to a little over $10,000 at the end of 2014. While we are not, nor do we intend to be a “for profit” organization, just over 12 months ago we were on the verge of insolvency.

It had come to light that over the past several years there had been a deficit in keeping close track of expenditures, gains and which tests made or lost money. Because of the inability to track the financials, the organization found itself in a poor financial situation when I started my first term as president. To address the lack of funds, in 2014 the BOD undertook a full financial audit and began handling the spring and fall testing season in a manner to continue to put on tests without financial losses in hopes of getting back on solid financial ground - something we felt was owed to the membership of the APLA.

This was done by paying close attention to the expenses, wisely chosen tests where possible, a slight increase in entry fees and a reduction in the single highest cost to the APLA - the bird costs. A single bird was removed from the Master field and the Advanced field; the CPR field was left untouched. Though this was not a popular move, it was the one sure way the BOD knew they could get the costs and income to come back into a manageable balance and in fact this has been successful.

Heading into the 2015 season we are happy to report that the APLA is once again on solid financial ground, though not as strong as we hope to get after another good, controlled and monitored year for the organization. This has been difficult to quantify and get a handle on and much of this was not previously released to the membership as we were trying to get our ‘ducks in a row’ before speaking. We thank you for your patience, participation and contribution to these great Pointing Labs we all love. The audit committee conducted the yearly 2014 audit and came through well but also with

improvement suggestions. Going from near insolvency to over $10,000 in the bank has been a major achievement facilitated by our new treasurer, Richard McCullough and the Board of Directors focusing on fiscal prudence.

2.  Increase Participation/Membership: Thanks to Sandy Abernathy (our only paid APLA employee who works many hours over and above her retainer) and Mark Schmiedeshoff who worked diligently to stabilize the APLA website. Thanks to Shaun Greene and the team he assembled for launching a moderated Facebook page that is reaching out to all. Our membership increased year over year for a 17% increase.

3.  Hunt Test Operations: Our spring hunt test series broke even as a whole and each of the fall hunt tests were in the black as well. This was a major achievement for the organization.

4.  Expand the Judging Pool: We increased our judging pool by approximately 10% while also removing judges no longer active. Judging remains one of the single best way for you to contribute to the APLA at the local level. It is an outstanding experience and gives you the opportunity to view some of the finest dogs in the world...up close and it makes you a better handler and trainer. If you are interested in judging for the APLA...please contact the regional hunt test chairs and express your interest.

The organization made some great strides toward our strategic objectives in 2014. Although continued effort is needed toward these objectives in 2015, I am pleased with the progress and very appreciative to all involved. Thanks for the great work!

Looking forward into 2015 I am also very excited. First I want to welcome new board members Julie Moore and Kevin Eskam. I would also like to thank outgoing board member Mike Bachkosky for volunteering to fill in a void from last year and who was also willing to serve another term. This is the first time I can remember more people wanting to volunteer for BOD positions than we had positions open.

Based on membership feedback you can expect to see the new on-line entry system ( up and running in time for the spring hunt tests. Also watch for sections of our APLA website forum to be opened up to allow posts from non-members.

And, I think most exciting, we have a new marketing commission chair who is very passionate about the APLA (Julie Moore). She is actively seeking sponsorships and ways for the APLA to expand our influence as well as working on member outreach and programs to involve youth in APLA activities.

I am pleased to announce that Julie has successfully negotiated with Purina on a contract that the APLA BOD has approved. All Hunt Test entrants can expect dog food samples and various types of freebies from Purina beginning with our spring tests. The APLA will also receive a yearly stipend for allowing Purina to be our exclusive dog food sponsor. We would like to thank Purina for their confidence in the APLA and Julie for getting this going. This is new territory for the APLA and each sponsorship must fit within the goals of the APLA. I believe sponsorship adds immensely to APLA brand name recognition, some cool stuff for members and potentially financial support which equates to added resources to further our growth and solidify our future.

Now I am not going to say everything is peaches and cream nor that we don’t need to improve. The fact still remains that we are a tiny little organization on a shoestring budget that is tirelessly managed by a dedicated group of volunteers who get to work on APLA stuff after they have finished their “day jobs” and family commitments. But I believe that now we have some breathing room and the energy used to put systems in place to monitor our operations can be re-directed toward fostering and creating new actions to further promote the APLA. What are your ideas? There is a thread on the member forum seeking your ideas. Please remember, ideas are always welcomed and valuable, but individuals and small groups that are willing to step up and donate their time and energy to bringing those ideas to fruition are priceless.

And lastly, all of the above cannot be done without the BOD members and volunteers who serve the APLA. Thank you. 

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