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Reshaping ARRL Objectives, Refocusing ARRL HQ Structure is New CEO’s Goal


A plan by ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, to reshape and reorganize the management structure at ARRL Headquarters will go into effect on Monday, February 11. The ARRL Board of Directors endorsed the plan during its Annual Meeting on January 18 – 19 in Windsor, Connecticut.

“I see ARRL as a membership association, a business, and a 501(c)(3) public charity. As CEO, I intend to strengthen all three aspects. And all three must remain in balance for ARRL to function effectively,” Michel said.

“As a business, ARRL is not just QST magazine, The Handbook, DXCC or the VEC program. We can’t allow ourselves to continue to think within those traditional parameters.” He continued, “ARRL’s businesses are not membership, publishing, and advertising. ARRL’s businesses are value creation, value delivery, and advocacy. I plan to architect ARRL along those lines. To quote Steve Jobs, ‘More important than building a product, we are in the process of architecting a company that will hopefully be much more incredible, the total will be much more incredible than the sum of its parts.’” Michel said.

The reorganization has three key components. The first major change is the creation of a management council (MC). The MC will be a deliberative and generative body to discuss ideas, operations, and long-term planning for ARRL. The group’s goal is to foster horizontal lines of communication within the organization. Direct horizontal lines of communications are much more efficient than “up, over, and down,” Michel offered.

The second key change, Michel said, is the addition of a Product Development Manager. This individual’s responsibility will be to create new ideas for products and services, create pilot programs to quickly test those ideas, and then — if the pilot programs are successful — transition them to operations. “The motto in startups is to fail fast,” Michel said. “Let’s innovate like a startup.”

Third, he said, is creating the position of a Marketing Communications Manager. “Our brand works with our traditional members. It is not working for newly licensed hams,” Michel said. “If we are to create a demand for the value we bring to Amateur Radio, we need a coordinated and consistent message, across all forms of media that resonates with current and potential members.”

In conjunction with its support of this reorganization plan, the ARRL Board of Directors also endorsed a proposal to create a new Lifelong Learning platform that will establish ARRL as an educational leader in Amateur Radio, and the purchase of a modern association management software system that should dramatically improve ARRL members’ experiences.

“These are big investments the Board is making in ARRL, and a strong positive vote of confidence that we can deliver,” Michel said. “They are giving us the tools to be successful.” 



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