Election to the DBA Committee
One of the resources I found to be of great value during our initial thoughts about barging, and then searching for a barge, was the Dutch Barge Association (DBA - The Barge Association). The DBA was formed in the early 1990s and has gradually increased in size until its current membership of about 1500 members. During 2011, it became clear that the DBA Board was dysfunctional in its operations. Most of the Board members had not faced a contested election, and had either just filled an empty space on the Board at election time or been co-opted to the Board in between elections. As a result, very few Board members could claim to have a real mandate from the DBA members. The Board in 2011 was split between "old" members who had been on the Board for many years and "new" members who had recently joined the Board. Unfortunately, these two groups had very different views on how the DBA should be run, with the "old" members preferring a "club-like" approach, and the "new" members preferring a more "business-like" approach. Things came to a head in late-2011 with a number of Board resignations and a members' call for a spill of all Board positions, with everyone to stand for election at the March 2012 AGM.
It was clear that for the situation to be resolved, there had to be more nominations than positions on the Board, otherwise the same people would have been re-elected (for lack of alternatives) and the 2011 situation would have continued at great cost to the DBA as an organisation. Therefore, after some prompting from other DBA members, I decided to throw my hat in the ring to ensure a sizeable card of nominations. In my 18 months as a DBA member, I had already volunteered for two tasks. Firstly, I answered a call for people with expertise in the document design program InDesign to provide advice on how the Blue Flag magazine file could be reduced to a manageable size for electronic distribution (3 years later, this issue has still not been resolved). Secondly, because of my background in the design and conduct of sample surveys, I volunteered to design and conduct a DBA Members Survey in late-2011. This survey was useful to the Board in showing the real characteristics of members and their boats. The survey was repeated again in late-2012.
When the results of the election were declared, I found that I had filled the eighth and final position on the Committee. In subsequent meetings of the Committee, I have been given responsibility for Market Research & Marketing, and for the Committee representative for Continental Events. In 2013, after the election of John Best to the Committee, I stood down from the Continental Events representative role, since John was directly responsible for these events and could report directly to the Committee.