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From the President Dec/Jan 2000

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The start of the new millennium is an exciting and dynamic time for ABI. At the mid-point of my term as president, we can be proud of our achievements. For the year, we will add approximately 1,400 new members to our rolls for a total of nearly 7,700, with membership renewal rates at an impressive 90 percent. Credit for continuing to build the world's largest insolvency organization is due in particular to our last two Membership Vice Presidents, Richardo Kilpatrick and Lenny Goldberger, as well as our professional staff, led by Chris Thackston and Neche Nelson.

Attendance at ABI educational programs across the nation continues to be strong. This year's Winter Leadership Conference in sunny Scottsdale, Ariz., will attract more than 500 attendees. Our hotel is sold out and our golf outing will be our largest ever. Member feedback concerning our regional programs continues to be strong, with high marks earned at all of the summer and fall programs. We owe a special debt of gratitude to our Education Vice President, Andy Caine, for his tireless efforts in organizing and carrying out this year's programs in a timely and efficient manner. Andy has worked effectively with our Washington meetings staff—John Good, Melissa McEntee and Vanessa York—to deliver high-quality and well-run CLE seminars.

Innovation is a hallmark of our programming. Newly approved by the Executive Committee is our first Investment Banker program, planned for New York City and timed to follow our successful annual New York City Conference in May 2001. We've put together a stellar group of investment banking professionals and others to comprise the first advisory board of this new conference, and we look forward to another great addition to our roster of member education offerings.

Another breakthrough in ABI's educational programs was the launch in September of the ABI/Emory University Litigation Symposium. This program, which was held on Emory's law school campus in Atlanta, featured an intensive trial-techniques program using Emory's state-of-the-art video and courtroom facilities, and concluded with full trials at Atlanta-area courtrooms. The first symposium was a sell-out, and was rated a technical success by our first crop of litigators.

On the international front, we continue to enroll new members from all corners of the globe. Our International Committee chairs, E. Bruce Leonard and George Kelakos, along with our Vice President-International Affairs, Judge James Goodman, continue to spread the word about ABI and our educational offerings. Plans are currently in the works for an educational program in China in January 2001 and a possible program in Brazil later next year.

Our endowment continues to grow as an important source for funding scholarly research through the hard work of Vice President-Development Tom Salerno and ABI Marketing Coordinator Sharisa Sloan. The endowment fund stands at $705,000 in cash and pledges with a near-term goal of $1 million coming into view. We are excited by the flow of high-quality requests for funding from the nation's academic community, now being reviewed by our Endowment Committee, chaired by Judge Leif Clark. ABI-funded research by leading scholars such as Ken Klee and David Epstein will be published in 2001.

On the publications front, an updated edition of the Health Care Insolvency Manual is on the horizon, while a new publication on general assignments for the benefit of creditors will be released this month. Several other publications are in the works and should be ready for release in 2001, according to our hardworking Vice President for Publications, Rick Meth. Rick works closely with our excellent publications staff of Melissa Lanning and Carolyn Kanon.

ABI's web site has been a benchmark for the insolvency and legal communities since its creation four years ago, but we are not resting on our laurels. New today is bankruptcysales.com, the Internet site for asset sales created by ABI and the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees. The new site offers a ready resource to trustees hoping to maximize recovery quickly and at low cost. ABI's web site now offers weekly case summaries from both West Group and Collier's/Matthew Bender, among many new developments. Thanks go to Mitch Irzinski of our Washington staff for maintaining and expanding our presence on the web. ABI members continue to rely on frequent e-mail updates of legislative activity, one of our most popular and important activities. Credit is due to our public affairs staff person, Pam Shepherd, for keeping all members in the Washington loop.

We must also acknowledge the work of our staff leadership, Director of Administraton Kathy Sheehan, who has been with ABI since 1994, and our long-time Executive Director, Sam Gerdano. Thanks also to Samory Ligonde of our accounting department and Pat Noboa, who heads our support staff.

Recently, the Executive Committee was faced with some bittersweet news. Our Treasurer, Rob Ladd, has accepted an exciting position outside of the bankruptcy world and will be leaving our Board. Rob has been a tireless contributor to ABI and will be sorely missed. We wish him the best in his new position. We are delighted that Bettina Whyte has been named by the Executive Committee to take over the remainder of Rob's term.

ABI's leadership looks forward to the coming year and to more opportunities to work with you to maintain the world's best organization for bankruptcy professionals. Please call me with your suggestions.

Journal Date: 
Friday, December 1, 2000

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