Message from the Treasurer
Kimberly G. Smith
During the first six months of 2000, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology has experienced continued financial success. Net assets have grown from just over $1,000,000 to about $1,400,000. As I leave office after 3 years as Treasurer, the society is in fine financial condition. As I mentioned in the Spring newsletter, we have been able to reduce meeting registrations for full members, abolish the abstract fee, and reduce dues for full members. My last goal as Treasurer - making the annual meeting break even - may be a reality sooner than I think.
Over the last 6 months, we have been working closely with our new management company, Burk and Associates, to streamline the budget and to decrease costs across the board. From a financial standpoint, I am convinced that we did the right thing by hiring them as our management company. Through planning with our new staff, the upcoming Chicago meeting will lose less money than any meeting in recent history. They are committed to decreasing the cost of our annual meetings without sacrificing the quality of our meetings that we have come to enjoy. I trust that this will be a long and fruitful relationship. Indeed, Burk and Associates has never had a client leave!
Starting in January, the new Treasurer of the Society will be Ron Dimock, Professor of Biology at Wake Forest University, where he is Director of the Mussel Research Center. Ron has been a long-standing member of the society and very active in the American Microscopical Society, which meets annually with SICB. To learn more about Ron and his invertebrate research interests, click on http://www.wfu.edu/~dimock/
Although the society is in fine financial condition at the moment, Ron is going to be faced with some hard decisions over the next 3 years concerning the future financial strategy for the society. As I have mentioned before, the dark cloud on the horizon is the decreased revenue that the society is receiving from the American Zoologist. Most of the society's current revenue comes from institutional subscriptions, not subscriptions from members. Institutional subscriptions, particularly foreign ones, are decreasing at an alarming rate.
The society must develop alternative sources of revenues. From my perspective, increasing the membership seems to be the logical way to do it. Hopefully, the cost saving measures that we have been able to institute this year will draw some previous members back and generate interest among potential new members.
As my term draws to a close, I would like to thank all the people that have helped me over the last 4 years that I have served, first as Treasurer-elect and then as Treasurer.
As someone who has been a member for nearly 30 years, but who had not attended an annual meeting until 4 years ago, it has been a wonderful experience for me to serve the society. Fortunately, I served with a President, Martin Feder, who shared a vision of the future of SICB independent of its past. I trust that Ron Dimock and his President, Marvalee Wake, will be equally effective in moving the society forward into the new millenium.