The following is the text of Alan Jones’ presentation of the Chair’s Award at Winter Management Conference 2020 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Our next award is one we have not given for several years, the Grassroots Champion Award. As David mentioned earlier, TCIA is committed to growing and strengthening our advocacy on behalf of commercial arboriculture. While there are many ways we can impact public policy, one of the most effective is for each of us to build relationships with our elected officials.
We are presenting the Grassroots Champion Award to Tim Gamma this year because he has set the blueprint for the rest of us to follow. Prior to the TCIA Legislative Day this past June, Tim had an informal conversation with his local representative, Congresswoman Ann Wagner. He made sure that he would be coming by her DC office for a visit. At the appointed time a group arrived at her office and were greeted by aides who quickly explained that the Congresswoman was very busy. Pretty typical, until the Congresswoman herself shouted from the other room, “Send them in!” The group then spent a significant amount of time with Ms. Wagner, explaining our issues as she dolled out follow-up tasks to her staff.
These are exactly the relationships we need in order to have an impact and I congratulate Tim Gamma on receiving this year’s Grassroots Champion Award.