Sunday, June 20, 2021
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James R. Auvil, OD, MBA, FAAO, CPC

     December 2011 was a very busy time for me.   January 2012 was even busier.   I remember spending hours and hours communicating with directors by phone and email to craft what would become the FOS Bylaws, creating this website from scratch, assembling contact information for potential members, planning the “launch” and the first meeting of the FOS Board of Directors in Atlanta.  We’ve come a long way in a very short time, building the FOS membership gradually from just a dozen people to more than 50 at the time I write this.  These are fully engaged, active members and 40% of them chose to become Founding Members.   The response from all services has been strong and steady – with membership still growing and with members in every service (Army, Navy, Air Force, VA and USPHS).  We have members who are retired military, active duty military, government civilians, USPHS Commissioned Corps, IHS qualifying contract employees, students, and residents.  The response has been great to this new organization.

     Although I expected a good response from potential members, I was pleasantly surprised from the responses of well-wishers, individual members, and industry sponsors who generously provided unrestricted grants to support the first FOS meeting in October in Phoenix.  These sponsors have committed even more support for 2013, so to the extent possible, FOS meetings will be planned at no additional cost to the membership.  With strong sponsorship and frugal planning, FOS meetings and FOS-organized COPE CE will be tangible benefits of membership, with no hidden fees or add-ons.  The FOS value proposition is unbeatable among professional optometry associations.

     The FOS is fulfilling my vision as the most inclusive, representative, and independent professional optometry association.   In 2013, we’ll continue to establish the brand promise to become the premier in-house venue for federal optometrists to share knowledge, through two or three meetings and as much web interaction as desired by the membership.  The next meeting, just weeks away, in Atlanta will provide COPE-approved CE to our members that is relevant and tailored to our unique modes of practice.  As the details of our meeting in Atlanta take shape, information will be shared via email and on the website.

        Our primary means of communication (the FOS website) is still a work in progress, but is now manageable as I’ve learned a bit over the past year about web design and the habits of our web users.  Heading in to 2013, FOS members and casual web voyeurs/visitors to our site will notice a few layout changes to make the content more navigable.  I plan to add a Member Resource section to allow members to upload professional development presentations, tools, information, etc.  I plan to rewrite the member payment section, possibly moving away from PayPal and toward Square to make the interface more user-friendly.

       Several members want to establish an award program to recognize performance and contributions to the profession by FOS members.  This program should be in place before the next annual meeting in Seattle in October 2013.

        I want to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year and to thank all of you for making the first year so successful for the Federal Optometric Society! 

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