My IMA® involvement began in 1984 when I joined Yale Material Handling Corp. On my first day, I found a membership application lying on my desk. Wetzel Smith, site controller, was on the local chapter board at the time. I later joined the board, serving in various roles. Then I returned to graduate school and was absent for a few years because of job changes and relocation.

I rejoined IMA in 2005. At my first North Carolina Triangle Area Chapter meeting, I met Ron Lowell and Kathy Santos-Rezendes. After the second meeting, I was invited to stay for the board meeting. Kathy and I bonded right away, and we’re still close friends today.

Over the next several years, I held various roles within the chapter, including president. We finished third in the Stevenson Division that year, and Kathy flew to Tampa, Fla., to accept the award with me. IMA awards are great, but the friendships and getting to know wonderful individuals are what make all the work worthwhile.

We’ve had some amazing presidents of the North Carolina Triangle Area Chapter, and I’m lucky to have gotten to know each of them. Kathy Santos-Rezendes, Vance Josey, Steve Drago, Mike Billings, Tim Ketterman, and Cathy Sabodish are just a few.

I got to know former IMA Chair Bud Kulesza at a social event at the IMA Annual Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Bud is a former member of my home chapter, so we had a lot to talk about. He has been a friend and supporter ever since.

I met Jeff Thomson before he became IMA’s CEO. I attended a presentation he gave on the ­Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), and he and I talked afterward. Our chapter wanted to start offering continuing professional education (CPE) events in Raleigh, so I asked him if he would speak to our group. He did, and it was fabulous. It was our first eight-hour NASBA event in Raleigh in some time, and now we have one every year.

I also had the honor of serving as Carolinas Council president in 2015-2016 and am still on the board. My association with the Council has afforded me the privilege of meeting individuals such as Rick Thompson, Tony Caspio, Peggy Reeves, and Byrd Heaton, who were always there to help me.

Last year I had the opportunity to chair IMA’s Global Council and Components Roundtable Committee. Through this awesome experience, I met some great committee members and attendees from the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. A special shout-out goes to Ashley Loftin, Emmylou Duell, and Brigitte de Graff; you made this so much fun and had such great ideas. Steve McNally, chair of the Member Relations Committee, also was incredibly supportive.

Anyone thinking about volunteering with IMA should “just do it.” The opportunities are incredible, and the lasting friendships you’ll make with awesome people are truly priceless.

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