Last week, the SJAA held its annual membership meeting, the highlight of which is election of members to the board of directors.
First, I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to departing members of the board for their years of service in making the SJAA an engaging and sustaining organization in its mission to bring astronomy and science to the general public. Thanks go to Rod Norden, Kevin Roberts, and Mark Wagner, long time board member and most recently the club’s President.
Allow me to introduce new board members, most or all of whom you may already be familiar as they are very active SJAA members, running programs and attending most events. Here they are:
Teruo Utsumi regularly participates at the school star parties, lending valuable telescope views to students and parents across the south bay. He also conceptualized and implemented the Quicker Start program, which makes available books and other beginner materials to new (and old) members alike at SJAA events. He also conceived and implemented the Half Messier Marathon that was successfully held last October, and will continue again next month. He also works to source speakers for the monthly general meetings. Teruo has been a staple attendee at board meetings, Houge star parties and other events. I am happy to see him on the board.
Dave Ittner has been an energetic member of the SJAA for a couple of years now. He is most well-known for starting the mentor program, which has evolved into the QuickSTARt program, an opportunity to help ease people into amateur astronomy by providing personal guidance on things from navigating the night sky to the basics of telescope handling. Dave already has a long list of other accomplishments such as working to partner up with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to open up their dark sites to astronomy related activities, the Advanced Loaner program, and the SJAA library. Welcome to the board, Dave.
Ed Wong has been an active member of the SJAA in several newer programs. He runs the Telescope FixIt program, he is also on the committee for the Astro Imaging SIG (special interest group) and regularly comes out to Houge star parties and observing and imaging opportunities at the OSA’s Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Ed is a proponent of binocular viewing and an avid photographer. I’m happy to see Ed bring his interest and his enthusiasm to not just the SJAA but to a leadership position as well. Welcome!
In addition to the new board members, we also have a few changes to the officer ranks.
Teruo Utsumi has been placed in the position of Secretary where he will record and keep the minutes from board meetings and generally ensure an organized administration.
Lee Hoglan, a long time SJAA member and director, has been elected to the position of Vice President, where he will provide back up to the president as well as continue to be the welcoming face of the SJAA to newcomers and others who have general questions.
Michael Packer continues in his role as club treasurer, providing prudent oversight to the organization’s finances, income and expenses.
Next, allow me to first thank Greg Claytor for his work as the SJAA vice president for the past many years. Greg regularly contributes at and participates in the board meetings, acts as an excellent MC and announcer at SJAA meetings, and in the past worked to source speakers for our general meetings. I look forward to his continued thoughtful discussions at board meetings.
And finally, let me thank Mark Wagner for the last two years of his term as president of the SJAA. Now that he has termed out, I’d like to humbly announce that I now take over the role as president. I don’t take this responsibility lightly and I will work to ensure that the SJAA continues to provide a rich menu of offerings to engage the public, and especially our next generations, in astronomy and related science education. I have a few ideas of how to refine and further evolve the club, but nothing is set in stone and everything is subject to change, so I am always open to hearing about new ideas anyone may have.
The SJAA is here for its members, the amateur astronomer community and the public. Let’s work together toward fulfilling the SJAA’s mission of making astronomy and science accessible to everyone.
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