We recently completed our 2017 Educational Conference and once again, the training was relevant and very interesting. Unfortunately, the attendance fell far short of what we were expecting. However it is understood each agency has their own budgetary and training constraints they have to deal with on a yearly basis.
The 2017-2018 year will be unique for the MOIAI as there will be several changes for the division. Our three year contract with the Oasis Hotel and Conference Center concluded this year and we have been discussing for the last year the possibility of moving to a new location. We are looking at different parts of the state and about possibly moving back to the Lake of the Ozarks. Many of the hotel/conference centers at the Lake are under new ownership and are either undergoing or will undergo major renovations. We are also looking at the Kansas City and Columbia areas. I personally checked with several hotels in St. Louis, but was told due to our normal attendance level, the cost would be out of the range for what we would be willing to pay. There are several members working on this topic and we hope to have this finalized by the 2018 conference.
For the last several years, we have also been discussing moving the conference from the fall to spring. In the fall there are usually other conferences which conflict with ours and contributed to keeping our attendance down. Another thought was that by moving the conference earlier in the year, we may be able to take advantage of better weather and have an outdoor activity for families or off site entertainment activity. This was a suggestion put forth by a couple of our vendors when we moved to Springfield. In order to accomplish moving our conference earlier in the year, it would necessitate a shorter period of time between conferences and thus those members moving up through the presidential chairs would only have about six months in those positions. And that is how I came back in the picture and to be the Division President for 2017-2018. Our Constitution only allows a president to serve back-to-back terms in specific circumstances and moving the conference date did not qualify. In order for our First Vice President, Alan Mitchell to serve a full term as president, we looked for volunteers to serve as President for six months and tag, I am it. Fortunately, Chairman of the Board Chad Craig and the conference committee has pretty much finalized the 2018 conference plans.
This leads me to the last major change for 2017-2018. As it is an abbreviated year, we discussed canceling the 2018 conference, but our Constitution requires we have an annual educational conference and we would still need to hold elections. It has been decided there will be a one day educational conference held in Columbia at Columbia College. We have not finalized the registration fee, but it will be at a reduced rate. More information on the 2018 educational will be published soon.
As you can see, there really is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of the MOIAI and it takes a great deal of dedicated members to make these types and number of changes occur and be seamless. On a personal note, while I did not seek to be the President for 2017-2018, I accept the duties and responsibilities as a great honor and privilege. I have been a member of the MOIAI for thirty years and have tried to be an active and dedicated member myself. During those years, I have attended many of our Division educational conferences and have been fortunate to attend two IAI conferences due to my association with the MOIAI. From each conference I have attended, I have been able to bring back to my department new ideas, new methods and more important new contacts that I have been able to reach out to for assistance. That is one of the most valuable benefits of being an active member of the MOIAI.
Missouri Division of the International Association for Identification