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Mid-Year on the Hudson — Part 2
By Jack Kelleher
As reported in last week's Off-The-Top, the organization's leadership gathered in Jersey City, N.J., for its semiannual meeting known as the "AMOA Mid Year Board Meeting."

The Sept. 6-9 weekend was filled with committee meetings, officer candidate interviews and social events for the group of 36 directors, spouses, family and guests that added up to more than 90 persons.

For me, it was my 15th consecutive Mid-Year meeting — and the first in my tenure to be conducted so close to our nation's largest, most diverse city — New York. The consensus among participants is that it was quite a productive, enjoyable gathering. For the attendees who worked hard and played hard, the lasting memory will be the stunning skyline of Manhattan that served as the backdrop, the postcard perfect weather, the closing event that featured fireworks that lit up an already radiant Statue of Liberty and, of course, the friendship and fellowship that was furthered by the shared experience.
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Congratulations to new AMOA officers
During the AMOA Board meeting on Monday afternoon, Sept. 9, the slate of the association's new top leadership, its four-person Principal Officers and three-person Vice President class, were ratified.

Starting at the conclusion of the 2014 Amusement Expo, the four top officers of AMOA—each serving a one year term will be:

— President: Bobby Hogin, Hogin Amusement Company, Dickson, Tenn.;
— First Vice President: Jerry Johnston, Amusement Unlimited, Inc., Eugene, Ore.;
— Treasurer: Gaines Butler, Metro Distributors, Inc., Norcross, Ga.; and
— Secretary: Rick LaFleur, I.F. LaFleur & Son, Inc., Devils Lake, N.D.

They are pictured right to left in the accompanying photo.

Members of the AMOA Vice President Class of 2017, whose three-year terms will also begin at the end of next year's Expo, include:

— Vernon S. "Tracy" Ferris III, A & M Amusement, Augusta, Ga.;
— Mary Lavine, Bullseye Games, Madison, Wis.; and
— Chip O'Hara, Midwest Coin Concepts, Waite Park, Minn.

They are pictured right to left in the accompanying picture.

Congratulations to the new "officers-elect" of AMOA!

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Committee highlights
When it comes to AMOA working groups, there is always much "work in progress," and the status of the more than 20 sessions conducted during this year's Mid-Year meetings clearly reflected that. Here are just a few tidbits on programs, services and events currently under consideration by AMOA's active committees:
  • Committee for Officers. Interviewed candidates and recommended slate of officers to the AMOA Board of Directors for approval
  • Innovator Awards Committee. Reviewed criteria and are moving to introduce a new recognition program for supplier exhibitors at Expo
  • New Business Development Committee. This newly-created group is investigating ways to create new opportunities and grow relationships outside the existing, core inventory of member programs and services. New technology was just one of the topics the group is eyeing for future development.
  • The Bylaws Committee updated language and procedures governing its anti-trust policy.
  • Promotions Committee. This group is looking into a program whereby AMOA members would participate in efforts during National Breast Cancer Awareness month by branding pool tables in pink.
  • Membership/Marketing Committee. Currently, there are four sub-committees focused on different, related areas: Membership Solicitation and Renewals; Communications; Website Communications; and Discount Programs. Whether it's shaping the next renewal campaign, the 2014 Membership Directory or the ongoing coupon program for members, this group is dedicated to creating greater value for members.
  • The Gaming Committee. This group continues to monitor developments in gaming trends affecting the industry and is working on how to provide more informational resources to members in areas where gaming legislation is being — or soon may be — considered.
  • The Coin-Op Cares Foundation Board recently appropriated funds to support the RAINE Project, whereby kids affected by Superstorm Sandy could receive access to school supplies (the donation was made through the New Jersey Amusement Association to coincide with the Mid-Year Board meeting there) and also will provide funding for the upcoming Road Scholar Program (Nov. 9-10, 2013) in Chicago.
    (In the accompanying picture, AMOA President John Pascaretti, at left, greets New Jersey Amusement Association President John Maurer of Coast to Coast Entertainment, who attended the recent AMOA Mid-Year meeting to acknowledge the Coin-Op Cares Foundation's $5,000 contribution to NJAA and the Raine Project it supports).
  • The AMOA-NDA previewed the two-part webinar program on leagues being conducted by the two organizations (see related story on part one conducted this week) and expressed excitement about the inaugural NDA Youth Dart Tourney slated for June in Minneapolis.
  • Expo Hesch Committee. This group previewed the Expo fundraiser set for next March, as well the "Earlybird" drawing that was conducted during the board meeting. Chris Asher of Chris Amusements and Emily Dunn of Tom's Amusement Co. were the lucky winners of this random drawing that awarded them $500 each. To date, $15,850 has been raised for the 2013-14 program, ahead of last year's pace of $13,800.
  • Expo Education Committee. The AMOA members of this joint AAMA-AMOA team continued to work on the details on topics, presenters/panelists, promotion, costs and logistics. The all-day seminar program is set for Tuesday, March 25 at the Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas. Expo exhibits will be open Wednesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 27.
  • New Director Task Force. Discussion focused on individuals who either have expressed interest and/or have been identified as potential candidates for the AMOA Board of Directors. The purpose of this group is to recruit a group of qualified individuals to serve as members of the AMOA Director Class of 2017. The election and three-year terms of this group will commence at the end of the 2014 show in March.
  • Committees for Committees. On an ongoing basis, this body evaluates the procedures, composition, purpose and overall effectiveness of the many AMOA committees. This is also the group that populates the working teams with individuals, based on factors such as performance, areas of expertise/interest and tenure.
  • Executive/Finance Committee. This 11-person unit addresses ongoing operational, financial, legislative and other major issues facing the association when the board is not in session. Among the areas discussed was the 2014 Expo, the association's treasury, the status of redemption law challenges and topics to be included for the scheduled Long Range Planning meeting in November.
  • Notre Dame and Continuing Education Program. Next month's Class XVI session as part of the AMOA Notre Dame Management Program in South Bend, Ind., and the debut of the Road Scholar program in November in Chicago were the two primary programs discussed and plans are being finalized for both events.
  • State Association Committee. This team is immersed in the planning of the Feb. 6-8, 2014 AMOA Council of Affiliated States meeting in Tampa, Fla. The sub-committees — State Program (schedule and agenda); State Outreach (securing participation at the meeting from targeted states); and State Sponsorship (partnering with manufacturers/distributors/suppliers and other state associations on financial support of the event) — each provided progress reports and discussed next steps and timetables.
  • PAC Fundraising Committee. This Government Relations Committee sub-committee continues to work on generating more authorizations (a prerequisite for soliciting for PAC contributions) and fundraising ideas. A promotional program featuring a free trip to 2014 Expo is currently underway and is open to all individuals who are part of the AMOA PAC program.
  • The Government Relations Committee. This committee discussed the ongoing visits it has been participating in to Washington, D.C., with AAMA, as well as the key industry issues percolating in the nation's capital and around the country. Mike Zolandz, partner in Dentons and AMOA's Legislative Counsel in D.C., helped frame the issues and outline the current climate in the Beltway.
  • The AMOA Board. Historically the closing business event for the Mid-Year, the board meeting covers the work of the various committees, with recommendations and funding requests being voted upon, major industry issues aired out and ideas for new AMOA offerings brought to the table. Thirty-five of 38 board members were in attendance at the 2013 AMOA Mid-Year Board meeting.

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Enjoying the venue ... and each other
One of the highlights of the AMOA Mid-Year is the camaraderie among attendees that permeates through the event. The social events connected to the gathering — some organized, others spontaneous — always seem to result in a good picture, a good story or oftentimes both.

And this year was no exception. From the jaunts into Manhattan to the local expeditions in Jersey City and Hoboken, there was no shortage of fun and adventure.

From the casual welcoming reception on Friday to the more formal Saturday night dinner and on through the fantastic voyage on the Hudson River Monday night, there were plenty of chances for relaxing, enjoyable interaction.

With so much to do in and around the Big Apple, several AMOA attendees were already planning their next invasion of the New York/New Jersey area.

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AMOA, AAMA continue dialogue in DC

Earlier this week, representatives of the two national coin-op organizations, the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) and the Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) worked the Hill, visiting the offices of several lawmakers and communicating the industry's position on issues ranging from video game content to small business matters like taxes, regulation and health care.

Representing AAMA were Association President Pete Gustafson of SEGA Amusement USA; George Smith of Family Entertainment Group; and AAMA Executive Vice President John Schultz. The AMOA delegation included: AMOA First Vice President Bobby Hogin of Hogin Amusements; AMOA Secretary Gaines Butler of Metro Distributors, Inc.; and AMOA Deputy Director Lori Schneider.

The schedule and meeting appointments for the visits were spearheaded by the Associations' Legislative Counsel, Dentons and specifically members of its Public Policy and Regulation team, headquartered in the nation's capital.
Left to right in the accompanying photo are: Bobby Hogin, Gaines Butler, Lori Schneider, Pete Gustafson, George Smith and John Schultz.

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AMOA teams up with NDA for Webinar about leagues — Part 1
On Wednesday of this week, the National Dart Association (NDA) and AMOA presented the first part of a two-part webinar series on leagues.

About 20 persons participated in the session, featuring panelists and veteran league gurus Marshall Kohtz and Scott Morgan. Entitled "League Formats that Work" and moderated by NDA Associate Executive Director Kim Paugh, the session covered the value of league programs, how to solve player and location problems and successful formulas for dart (and pool) leagues.

The second part, to address "Communication: The Key to Successful Leagues," is set for 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

To register for part two, click here. For more information about either one of the two webinars, please contact Maggie Kapinos at 800-937-2662.

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AMOA Off the Top

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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