Passing the Baton
Johnston Readies to Welcome President Butler
Q: What advice do you intend to pass along to your successor?
A: Gaines will be great as AMOA President, but he DOES need to work on his short game and the way he addresses the ball when he’s teeing off!’
Seriously, Gaines has been preparing for his term for a long time. He is more than ready. He has served on virtually every committee — some of them multiple times — and been elected or appointed to leadership positions in our working groups on numerous occasions.
No one has worked harder or earned the job of AMOA President more than Gaines Butler. And, he is one of the most outgoing, likeable and fun-loving guys around, so he’s not going to have any problems meeting or connecting with people during his travels.
One of Gaines’ strengths is his analytical approach to projects. He loves his spreadsheets, and I would encourage him to use them in his role as President. At the same time, Gaines — like me — will be surrounded by some talented people who he can lean on for advice and feedback. It was especially comforting to know I could rely on the Past Presidents on the Board — Donovan Fremin, Andy Shaffer, John Pascaretti and Bobby Hogin. I will join Andy, John and Bobby in this capacity during Gaines’ time at the helm. I’d encourage him to use them/us whenever he needs some input.
AMOA, working with AAMA, has made a lot of progress on the show and in the legislative arena before and during my term, and while I know Gaines will develop his own agenda, these are a couple of key areas that I would continue to focus on.
We’ve also built a close relationship with the state associations. That’s vital, since everything at the state and local level affects our businesses. Gaines will be a great ambassador for AMOA when he travels around the country, so I have no doubt our collaboration with the state organizations will only grow stronger.
Of course, then there’s the usual stuff: Be prepared to spend more time packing a suitcase and hanging out at airports (there was more of this than I ever anticipated). The good news for Gaines is that he’s close to the Atlanta airport where there’s an abundance of flights!
Also, be ready to be overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to the AMOA President. While I — and I know Gaines, does, too — consider it to be an honor to be elected President, I was almost constantly on the receiving end of special treatment during my travels.
And as virtually all Presidents have related to their successors, it’s a 365 day (give or take a few) sprint as AMOA President. It seemed like a long time getting to this position, but the journey in this role has gone by in the blink of any eye.
Finally, enjoy it. Gaines, just be yourself and you’ll do fine. Besides, you can always act like most Presidents and blame the “previous administration” for anything that goes awry.