RePlay's Monthly Chat with AMOA President John Pascaretti
[Editor’s Note: We caught up with AMOA President John Pascaretti last month while he was in Chicago for a series of association meetings punctuated by the first-time Road Scholar two-day education program at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.]
RePlay: We understand that you are participating in a long-range planning meeting this week.
What’s the purpose of that meeting and what kind of items are on the agenda?
Pascaretti: In general, we look at where we are at the moment, and then we try to pull out the crystal ball and see where we need to be in the future to remain relevant to our members. It’s a neat meeting because you do some serious soul searching. We really look at what we need to do to make our association stronger. It operates like a high-level brainstorming session.
The immediate past president, in this case Andy Shaffer, chairs the meeting, which will also include current officers Gaines Butler, Jerry Johnston and Bobby Hogin and past presidents Russ Mawdsley, Gary Brewer and Donovan Fremin, along with our EVP Jack Kelleher and Deputy Director Lori Schneider.
It’s not easy to sit down and dissect your organization. But if you don’t have a roadmap, you don’t know where you are going. It’s been two or three years since we have held one of these meetings. At that last long-range meeting, we suggested downsizing of the board, which we have since implemented.
You are also having a budget meeting. Anything to report there?
The association remains on solid financial ground, and we want to keep it that way. We will put into play a budget for 2014.
What are your expectations for the Road Scholar Program?
We had 55 attendees for the Road Scholar and a very impressive keynote speaker, who brought a unique perspective. George Smith talked about redemption, and we also engaged the issue of change across a wide range of topics. We are happy with the turnout for the event.
Being close to the airport made it easy to get in and get out. This does not involve the same time commitment of the Notre Dame program, but we hope that people will get the bug and then want to transition to the Notre Dame program. If this program proves to be a success, and by all indications it already has, we plan to move it around the country.
Our Notre Dame program remains our premier educational member service, an event that’s evolving as the makeup of each class changes. We still get owners, but we are now getting a lot of people who are management and route staff. We are always analyzing what kind of material we should be offering to get the most out of that program for our members.
Tell us about your latest presidential travels.
I attended the West Virginia state association meeting. We held a really wonderful tribute for past president Jerry Derrick. Jack and the staff put together a photo album, and we presented that to Jerry’s daughters. I also learned a lot about the video gaming business there. I really enjoyed the hospitality of the operators I met there.
Last week I was at the Georgia AMOA meeting, and again I got an education, this time about their new Class B program. The Class B games award prizes including lottery tickets, and the state shares in the revenue stream. They had a great attendance at the meeting, and they also had a trade show with exhibits. Besides Class B equipment, Betson and Brady were there with traditional amusement coin-op equipment. Additionally, a representative of the Georgia Lottery Commission gave a presentation about the Class B program and the launch of a central server. That event was standing room only.
How is the Amusement Expo day of education shaping up?
We are going to offer a wide variety of topics for street operators and FECs, as well as general business topics. That committee has really put together an impressive program. There’s a session on cranes, something on ATMs, card swipe, prize merchandisers, digital jukeboxes, bulk vending; they have really covered the waterfront. There will also be several technical sessions so there’s something for everybody out there.
Thanks, John. Happy Holidays and happy trails.
John Pascaretti is a Michigan coin-op distributor who has been in the industry since the mid 1970s. He began helping a cousin run a route, eventually running his own, and has since moved into distribution, beginning with Rowe and eventually opening up his own Pascaretti Enterprises in Warren and Grand Rapids.
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