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2003 General Membership Meeting

The Ukrainian Engineers' Society of America's bi-annual General Membership meeting took place on Saturday, September 6th, 2003 in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and was hosted by the UESA Philadelphia Chapter.

General Meeting Attendees

The UESA National Board for 2003-2005 term was elected via mail ballots issued to all UESA members in accordance with the Society's by-laws. The votes that were received by the day of the General Meeting were counted and verified by the head of the nominating committee, Mr. John Shmerykowsky, PE.

The election results are as follows:

  • Andrij Wowk - President
  • Marco Shmerykowsky, PE - Vice President
  • Wolodymyr Rudakewycz - Treasurer
  • Mattey Rakowsky - Secretary
  • Tymish Hankewycz - Membership Coordinator
  • Wasyl Kinach, PE - Board Member
  • Bohdan Gerulak, AIA - Board Member
  • Andrey Hankewycz - Board Member

Additionally, UESA members approved several amendments to the UESA by-laws via the mail-in ballots. Two of the most important amendments centered on membership levels and dues collection.

The UESA membership approved the formal creation of new "associate" and "student" membership levels.

According to the amendments, an associate member of the Society is defined as a person of Ukrainian descent who does not meet the requirements of a full member, but supports the Society's mission as defined in the by-laws and will provide assistance in furthering the Society's work.

Furthermore, members classified as associate members, have the right to participate and vote in regular and special Society Meetings "on issues pertaining to the associate membership level and to vote in all matters pertaining to the associate membership level that are also decided by mail ballots, to serve on Society committees, to make use of the Society's library and other holdings and all privileges due to Society Members."

A student member of the Society is defined as a person of Ukrainian descent who is enrolled in a college program which focuses on one of the fields applicable to either full or associate members.

Members classified as student members, have the right to participate in regular and special Society Meetings, to serve on Society committees, to make use of the Society's library and other holdings and all privileges due to Society Members.

The other major approved change centered around the manner in which UESA collects its membership dues. Starting with the 2004 fiscal year, membership dues invoices will be issued directly by the National Executive Board and members will return their payments directly to the National Treasurer. The National Treasurer will then reimburse 40% of the funds collected from each chapter to the respective local treasurer, at a minimum twice a year.

On a related issue, the national budget for the coming 2003 to 2005 term was presented. This budget accounted for all of the increased activities which the Board of Directors has enacted over the past two years and plans to continue. These activities include items such as the publication of a quarterly national newsletter, the national membership directory, and the planned "UESA historical book."

It was noted that the largest expenses were related to postage and to the production of various communication initiatives such as the newsletter and the Ukrainian Engineering News, also known as the Visti Inzheneriv.

In order to balance the budget, the Board of Directors proposed increasing dues and selling advertising space in UESA's various publications. The board felt that this was necessary in order to accommodate real world increases in the costs associated with printing and postage.

The proposal for the dues increase outlined that the dues for full or professional members (and associate members) would be increased to $50 from $35 per year and that retired members (both full and associate would have their dues increased to $30 from $20 per year. The student membership rate was set at $15 per year.

Those present at the General Meeting voted on the dues increase, and after a much heated discussion, the proposal was approved.

It should also be noted that one of the approved by-law amendments stated that a local Chapter could make a request at the General Meeting for an additional dues assessment if it was felt that the 40% share of the Society's membership dues was inadequate.

One point of contention during the General Meeting was the absence of the National Treasurer at the meeting. Although the overall financial report prepared by the Treasurer was presented by the President, it was noted that the Auditing Committee was unable to meet with the outgoing treasurer before the General Meeting. In order to resolve this matter, the members presiding at the meeting voted to mandate that the previous treasurer retain his position until he meets with the Auditing Committee for the review of the Society's financial records. It was decided that this review must be completed by October 6, 2003.

The General Meeting also included reports from the local chapters in attendance. This included a report from Detroit chapter president Dianna Korduba Sawicky, New Jersey chapter president Mattey Rakowsky, New York City chapter president Marco Shmerykowsky, PE and Philadelphia chapter president Metodij Boretsky, PE.

Ms. Sawicky's report on the activities of the Detroit chapter noted that they had added four new members over the past year, brining their total membership up to 90 members. Additionally, they continue to hold successful annual events such as a summer picnic, Christmas party and Winter Ball with the presentation of debutantes. Finally, Ms. Sawicky noted that the chapter is planning a local chapter meeting for this coming fall.

Mr. Rakowsky began the New Jersey report by noting that the chapter has added eight new members of the past two years and that they continue to actively recruit new members at Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In addition to recent join events with the New York City chapter such as the Fall Zabava and a summer picnic, the chapter held a very successful and informative seminar on digital photography in June 2002.

Future plans call for continued recruitment at the universities, the publication of chapter newsletters, and chapter elections in the fall. Unfortunately, as with other chapters, Mr. Rakowsky reported that a large number of members continue to neglect paying their membership dues.

Mr. Shmerykowsky began the New York City Chapter report by noting that a new board of directors was elected in mid-April 2002. [Editor's note: The complete list of new New York City chapter board members was published in the previous issue of the UESA national newsletter].

Over the past two years the chapter has focused on expanding its active membership base, event schedule, and communication channels. The chapter continues to hold an annual Fall Zabava and Yalynka (Christmas celebration) together with the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America and the Ukrainian Institute of America. It is also in the process of launching a monthly lecture program.

On the communication front, the chapter regularly publishes a bi-monthly newsletter. With respect to the membership situation, Mr. Shmerykowsky noted that although the chapter is actively recruiting at area colleges and had added several new members, its total active membership base is likely to shrink from 100 to 60 members. This is ultimately due to the "inactivation" of members who have failed to pay their membership dues in accordance with the Society's by-laws.

Mr. Boretsky of the Philadelphia chapter stated that in the past year the chapter elected a new board of directors. [Editor's note: The complete list of new Philadelphia Board members was published in the previous issue of the UESA national newsletter]. During the past two years, Mr. Boretsky noted, the chapter held two Debutante Balls, two summer picnics, two Christmas "zustrichi" (social gatherings), one scientific conference and nearly two dozen monthly meetings. Additionally, the chapter has completed work on the "History of the UESA Philadelphia Chapter" book and has sent it to the printer.

On the membership front, Mr. Boretsky noted that the chapter currently has 80 dues-paying members. Sixteen members who have not paid their dues for the past six years were moved to an "inactive" status.

A key portion of the meeting was the presentation of the president's report by Mr. Andrij Wowk. In his president's report he noted that the 2003 General Meeting, falling on the same year as the 55th anniversary of the UESA, comes at "a critical time" in the history of the Society, as the organization strives to preserve its past while looking to the future.

Noting accomplishments of the Board during the previous administration, such as playing a key role in two summits of Ukrainian-American organizations, the revival of a scheduled newsletter, and the publication of a modern Membership Directory, Mr. Wowk said there is still much that UESA can do to make the organization more relevant to the needs of current-day technical professionals, students and the community.

He expressed enthusiasm about areas the new Board plans to focus on in 2003-2005, which include:

  • Implementing a student scholarship program
  • Increasing cooperation with Ukraine
  • Re-evaluating and improving UESA publications, especially in regards to the contributions of Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans to science and technology;
  • Organizing a national technical conference
  • Improving communication between the Society and the Ukrainian-American and non-Ukrainian communities.

    The General Meeting concluded with an awards ceremony for several outstanding UESA members. Dr. Lubomyr Romankiw, a noted research scientist at IBM, was awarded the 2003 "UESA Member of the Year" award and honorary membership status. The award recognizes Dr. Romankiw's pioneering work in magnetic recording head technology, which forms the basis for almost all computer disk drives in use today.

    General Meeting Attendees

    Also recognized were members Dr. Oleksa Bilaniuk, the current president of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences (award for professional and community achievement), and past UESA president Dr. Lew Dobrjanskyj (award for lifelong UESA activity).

    Mr. Wowk ended his presentation by calling on all UESA members to assist the Board with these projects in the coming two years.

    After the General Meeting concluded, Mr. Romankiw presented a very interesting discussion about his work.

    To see a additional photos from the General Meeting, click here.

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