2022 The very Disappointing National in Dayton, Ohio

Jim Haney

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The NAWCC National held in center City Dayton ,Oh. was a very disappointing experience.



The Logistics were very bad, We had to park in a elevated parking garage 1 1/2 blocks from the Hotel with validated parking slips that necessitated walking about 1/2 mile thru elevated sky ways. The only venue to eat was at the top floor of the Hotel(Raddison) and the wait times were unreasonable because of employee shortages. There was only one other eatery about 1 1/2 blocks away and the wait times there were over 30 Minutes and the food was terrible. To add to the misery the concession in the Convention center closed at 2PM and there was no food available the rest of the day. They did not even have vending machine with snacks available. There were Homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks around the Convention Center and several cars and van were broken into as was announced over the very poor PA system.





The set up day Friday was from 11 to 5PM which resulted in 6 hours of trading between table holders and Early Birds and that ,IMHO, killed the show the next day because everyone either bought or sold everything during that 6 hour period. The Show day opened at 9AM and no one came in. I was watching the door and there was no traffic flow into the room. We sat around all day without any customers. It was the most poorly attended National I have been to in over 25 years,,,,



AFAIK, there was no Media coverage of the event either in the Local paper or trade newspapers.... It seems that the Convention committee who approved this did not remember the same results 9 years ago. We are suppose to learn from our mistakes..



It is a shame that NAWCC members who go to the trouble to attend and the expenses involved end up with a disappointing venue like this.

I will never attend a event where I can not park and walk up to the Hotel and have a choice of places to eat. I felt relieved to no end when I drove away from that mess.



Who ever is in charge should have their plans reviewed to make sure that they have done all of the Minimum of things necessary to make a successful convention.


PS, I might add that several people wanted to attend and the info I copied from the Web site resulted in a bottom line of $95 to attend the show for guest nonmembers. They all declined. How can the NAWCC grow and prosper with that kind of backward thinking?
 
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DeweyC

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The NAWCC National held in center City Dayton ,Oh. was a very disappointing experience.



The Logistics were very bad, We had to park in a elevated parking garage 1 1/2 blocks from the Hotel with validated parking slips that necessitated walking about 1/2 mile thru elevated sky ways. The only venue to eat was at the top floor of the Hotel(Raddison) and the wait times were unreasonable because of employee shortages. There was only one other eatery about 1 1/2 blocks away and the wait times there were over 30 Minutes and the food was terrible. To add to the misery the concession in the Convention center closed at 2PM and there was no food available the rest of the day. They did not even have vending machine with snacks available. There were Homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks around the Convention Center and several cars and van were broken into as was announced over the very poor PA system.





The set up day Friday was from 11 to 5PM which resulted in 6 hours of trading between table holders and Early Birds and that ,IMHO, killed the show the next day because everyone either bought or sold everything during that 6 hour period. The Show day opened at 9AM and no one came in. I was watching the door and there was no traffic flow into the room. We sat around all day without any customers. It was the most poorly attended National I have been to in over 25 years,,,,



AFAIK, there was no Media coverage of the event either in the Local paper or trade newspapers.... It seems that the Convention committee who approved this did not remember the same results 9 years ago. We are suppose to learn from our mistakes..



It is a shame that NAWCC members who go to the trouble to attend and the expenses involved end up with a disappointing venue like this.

I will never attend a event where I can not park and walk up to the Hotel and have a choice of places to eat. I felt relieved to no end when I drove away from that mess.



Who ever is in charge should have their plans reviewed to make sure that they have done all of the Minimum of things necessary to make a successful convention.


PS, I might add that several people wanted to attend and the info I copied from the Web site resulted in a bottom line of $95 to attend the show for guest nonmembers. They all declined. How can the NAWCC grow and prosper with that kind of backward thinking?
Jim,

According to the website, NAWCC is now at around 10,000 members (down from 35K). Frank DG sez there were about 800 registrations. This makes an 8% attendance rate. Probably not bad. But, Frank pointed out that there were 550 tables. How many of the registrations were accounted for by the table holders? If they accounted for at least 550, then that means fewer than 300 non-table holders attended.

I would interpret your observation about Saturday a bit differently. Anyone planning on attending on Saturday would not have known all the stuff was sold on Friday. I suspect they just did not come. But certainly, "setup" has always been "dealer to dealer" time. Even in the 1990s.

The real question is if the NAWCC model still works. The 2002 change in airline policies, ebay, and age may have resulted in a sea change. Certainly, the younger generations have more important issues on their plates.

Maybe change the focus of Nationals away from sales to education and annual meeting. Perhaps the local chapter could arrange a swap venue the Sunday after if they thought it important.

But from what you and Frank report, the NAWCC likely cannot afford too many more of these.

As for me, I only use the Libray, Museum and Forum. If I have been to more than 2 regionals/nationals in 20 years I would be surprised.

In case anyone of import is reading this, I am 69 and have been a member for 40 years.


 

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To follow on Dewey’s math, I would be interested in knowing how many people were either not table holders or not early birds. I can’t recall a single person showing up at my table on Saturday that hadn’t already been there on Friday. So, I ask, why not let the public in on Saturday at a greatly reduced rate? Right now, Friday is the only relevant sales day. We need to make Saturday relevant again. The public (along with advertising) is the key to that.
 
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Jim,

According to the website, NAWCC is now at around 10,000 members (down from 35K). Frank DG sez there were about 800 registrations. This makes an 8% attendance rate. Probably not bad. But, Frank pointed out that there were 550 tables. How many of the registrations were accounted for by the table holders? If they accounted for at least 550, then that means fewer than 300 non-table holders attended.

I would interpret your observation about Saturday a bit differently. Anyone planning on attending on Saturday would not have known all the stuff was sold on Friday. I suspect they just did not come. But certainly, "setup" has always been "dealer to dealer" time. Even in the 1990s.

The real question is if the NAWCC model still works. The 2002 change in airline policies, ebay, and age may have resulted in a sea change. Certainly, the younger generations have more important issues on their plates.

Maybe change the focus of Nationals away from sales to education and annual meeting. Perhaps the local chapter could arrange a swap venue the Sunday after if they thought it important.

But from what you and Frank report, the NAWCC likely cannot afford too many more of these.

As for me, I only use the Libray, Museum and Forum. If I have been to more than 2 regionals/nationals in 20 years I would be surprised.

In case anyone of import is reading this, I am 69 and have been a member for 40 years.


Great questions. Don't forget the West Coast.
 

Rhett Lucke

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A few comments from my vantage point:

Registrations significantly exceeded last years numbers in Hampton, Va as well as our planning projections. this included approx 200 who registered onsite and included at least 33 new members. Mart tables also exceeded those from last years convention in Hampton. A positive, given the ongoing health concerns revolving around Covid and the current high cost of gas and air travel.

Along with the mart, the convention committee did an incredible job in putting together a full slate of lectures, workshops and a wonderful exhibit. The largest and most diverse slate in recent history. The lectures and workshops were very well attended with some requiring a last minute addition of seating. The exhibit, which included a large and wonderful display of Ohio Clocks as well as cataloged display of rare and early watches was also well attended.

In regards to the logistics concerns raised above, I respectfully would have to disagree on a number of points. First, I found the parking to be relatively convenient for a downtown location. The parking garage was essentially across the street from both the hotel and convention center, all connected by skywalks with parking validated by the hotel. The distance between the garage, hotel and convention center were much less than the 1/2 mile number mentioned. I used the parking garage from Tuesday afternoon through Sunday morning with no issues. As for restaurants, the hotel (as with many restaurants around the country) certainly had its struggles with available staff. Other options however, were available just a few blocks away in the "Oregon District" which according to google maps was around a 1/4 mile walk. Restaurants in this area ranged from fast food to casual pubs to nice steak/seafood venues. I personally walked to and dined at a number of these venues during the week and was very happy with both the service and food quality.

Like most cities of any size, Dayton did have a number of homeless people on the streets, but certainly not to the level one would see in a larger city like Philadelphia, Chicago or LA. For me, it wasn't particularly concerning but I can see how someone not accustomed to being in an urban environment might be a bit uneasy.

As for the mart schedule, this is a debate that has been going on for as long as I've been attending regionals and nationals. The bottom line is, everyone has their own preferences based on their particular situation. If we eliminate or delay entry for early birds, then many will simply buy tables with little or no intent to utilize. When non early bird registrants enter varies from mart to mart and I suspect will continue to evolve from event to event.

Looking forward, I'm very excited about next years National in Lancaster, PA. The host hotel and attached convention center are in the heart of Lancaster with many restaurant options both in the hotel and within walking distance. Along with the activities in Lancaster, the committee is planning a number of events to be held at our museum in Columbia. The National will also be followed immediately by the annual symposium, to be held at the historic Hamilton Club in Lancaster and will also be leveraging our museum and it's collections. A wonderful opportunity for members to help celebrate the NAWCC's 80th anniversary.
 

Jim Haney

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Rhett,

First I would like to thank you for assuming the job of Board Chair because of Jim Prices unexpected passing.

I would also agree with you that the Convention committee did an excellent job of putting together the a full slate of lectures, workshops and a wonderful exhibit. I attended the Ohio Watch Lecture by Fred Hansen & Don Barrett and learned some facts about Hampden that I didn't know.

I stand by my comments on the Logistics of the downtown Hotel and very inconvenient parking hassle and no restaurants available with out walking an excessive distance. We did walk down 2 blocks to the ONLY restaurant (Spaghetti Warehouse) and waited more than 30 minutes and the food was terrible.

The parking was a real hassle with the Ticket stubs having to be entered by the front desk to let you out of the garage. I know of a case that someone misplaced the stub and was told he had to Hike back to the Garage and get another stub out of the machine and then return and have it validated and then hike back to get their car out.......

Beside what I have mentioned my biggest disappointment was no attendance . What happened?

Saturday when they opened I didn't not see any people entering the room?

See the thread below this one for the details on the Preregistration fiasco, my post 7 & 8. The Preregistration were lost for months and thanks to Russ Young locating them and personally calling everyone to assure them that their tables and application were being processed.

You did not address the lack of Media coverage which resulted in poor attendance.

Also, the $95 charge for quest who wanted to attend and no provision for a Visitor or Public day to stimulate interest in the NAWCC.

I share your excitement and also am looking forward to next years 80th anniversary National in Lancaster, Pa.

Thank you for stepping up and assuming the responsibility that are required for the BOD Chair.


Jim
 

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I received an email survey from the Radisson hotel. I really ripped them a new one -- they were generally poor in all areas. Today I got an email back from them:

Dear Frank,

On behalf of our entire staff at Radisson Hotel Dayton Convention Center - DCOH we apologize for the concerns you shared about your experience at this hotel. I have addressed the issues with our team, and I assure you we are working diligently to ensure a similar situation does not occur again in the future.

We appreciate the feedback and will use it to fine tune our operations in the hope that upon your next visit we can exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,
Kristina M
General Manager
Radisson Dayton
kris.davis@radissonamericas.com
19372299836
***

Note that she left a phone number in case any of you want to speak with her.

Frank
 

demoman3955

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I have never been to an event, but im seeing this same thing happen to many types of events. Everything from swap meets to racing events. So many factors come into play this year, because of money being tight, and the cost of gas alone. I also doubt id pay 95 bucks to get into a place where the odds are i couldnt afford to buy anything anyway.
Ive been to many antique swap meets and its always antique store prices rather then people wanting to get rid of excess inventory or sellers thinking they have a piece that they seen sell for lots of money. Now if there were an event on the west coast and less then 400 miles away, i might go just to see the workshops or special things.
 

Bruce Barnes

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I used to attend the LA Regional (Pasadena),nice venue,easy parking,short walk across the street,easy to load purchases in your vehicle,small mall across the street with good restaurants, $10.00 dollars on Saturday for non members,many tables and sellers willing to negotiate and even after Friday a nice variety of instruments.............alas............, they raised the rent for the event for a variety of reasons mainly because they were not getting fair value for the space and time.
So welcome San Diego and look at the street and travel conditions there .....:-((
Welcome to the brave new world !!
Bruce
 

Rhett Lucke

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I stand by my comments on the Logistics of the downtown Hotel and very inconvenient parking hassle and no restaurants available with out walking an excessive distance. We did walk down 2 blocks to the ONLY restaurant (Spaghetti Warehouse) and waited more than 30 minutes and the food was terrible.

The parking was a real hassle with the Ticket stubs having to be entered by the front desk to let you out of the garage. I know of a case that someone misplaced the stub and was told he had to Hike back to the Garage and get another stub out of the machine and then return and have it validated and then hike back to get their car out.......
Jim, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree on the parking. I found it fairly convenient and was happy to not have to pay, which is somewhat unusual for a city of Dayton's size or larger. In regards to the restaurant situation, I can't comment specifically on the restaurant you mentioned as it was not one of the ones I visited. As I mentioned however, there were a number of very good establishments in the "Oregon District" (approx 3-4 blocks from the hotel/convention center and in the opposite direction from where you dined). I didnt consider that distance excessive and we had no trouble getting reservations with relatively little notice.


Beside what I have mentioned my biggest disappointment was no attendance . What happened?

Saturday when they opened I didn't not see any people entering the room?
I don't have the final numbers yet, but believe we had around 850 registrants with approximately 200 who registered onsite. As mentioned, this significantly exceeded our numbers from the previous year and slightly exceeded our projections. I believe these numbers were also slightly higher than what we normally see for the % of members who attend a National.

In regards to Saturday, I was tied up with other activities when the mart doors opened but suspect that the number of people was influenced by the relatively large number of "early bird" entrees who came on Friday and either didnt' return for the second day or were in no rush to get into the mart on day 2 (sleeping in, eating breakfast, etc....).

What I can say is that while I was in the mart room on Friday afternoon and for awhile on Saturday morning, there seemed to be a fair amount of people and buying/selling activity. Like with most events, this tailed off significantly as Saturday progressed. I also talked to a number of table holders and as usual, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Some sellers reported very good sales, some average and some poor. I suppose a result of what buyers were looking for, what a seller had available and of course the sellers prices. As a buyer, I was very happy to find a number of items to add to my collection.


You did not address the lack of Media coverage which resulted in poor attendance.

Also, the $95 charge for quest who wanted to attend and no provision for a Visitor or Public day to stimulate interest in the NAWCC.
I'm not aware of what was or was not done with local media, but there was significant coverage on Social Media, both before and during the convention which may have contributed to the number of onsite registrations we experienced.

Having said that, I believe we can always do more to better promote the NAWCC and our events. To that end, discussions have already started on promotional ideas for next years National. I suspect this will include a continued increase in the use of the Web and Social Media as well as potential exposure in traditional media sources.

In regards to the $95 charge you mentioned, one must understand that this includes a full 1-year membership in the NAWCC. The categories and associated entry fee's are a complex discussion as we also need to consider our current members as well as the fixed cost of running such an event. In the end, there is a minimum amount of revenue needed to cover our costs and anything resulting in a reduction in revenue from one category needs to be offset by an increase in another. This is a tradeoff that all our events (Nationals, Regionals and the Symposium) have to consider when planning their events.


I'll end by saying that I appreciate your comments and concerns. Everyone, including the Convention Committee, Board of Directors and our Members/Attendees want the same thing. As mentioned earlier, next years National Convention Committee has already started work in putting together what I believe will be a great event in Lancaster/Columbia. As part of this planning, they are reviewing what went well and what can be improved from this year as well as past years events (lessons learned).
 

DeweyC

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'll end by saying that I appreciate your comments and concerns. Everyone, including the Convention Committee, Board of Directors and our Members/Attendees want the same thing. As mentioned earlier, next years National Convention Committee has already started work in putting together what I believe will be a great event in Lancaster/Columbia. As part of this planning, they are reviewing what went well and what can be improved from this year as well as past years events (lessons learned).

Rhett,

Ok. So next year the fixed overhead will be much lower because of the reduced cost of staff travel, room and board

So it cannot be compared to this last one.

Not snarky, just a fact.

So if fixed costs are the major cost center, then perhaps the NAWCC needs to consider location so as to reduce those costs while generating the revenue to cover them.

Cost of travel, room and board for attendees?
Density of members (regular attendance at Chapter meetings within the potential target area (200 miles?)?)

But to me, having a table venue where there are 550 tables and only 850 total registrants (includes holders, volunteers, speakers, staff: at least that is how we ran Chapt 1 KOP counts when I was on the BOD) is NOT a successful event.

OTOH, has anyone looked at how successful the educational programs were? If these were well attended and the mart was not, perhaps the world is telling us something.

Given the lower overhead and the density of members in the Mid Atlantic, it is next to impossible to compare a Lancaster National to this last one. In fact, I will predict the Lancaster show is MUCH better and that some will say it proves the current model is alive and well.

With revenue from under 10,000 members and the primary need to operate Columbia, the NAWCC needs to husband its funds and avoid living in a state of denial. Yes, I know about the endowments, but I have seen trusts "broken" to cover operating expenses.

There has been a secular change in watch collecting for the reasons I gave earlier.

I have no idea what the NAWCC will look like. But I do see the core functions as coordinating among chapters, education programming, comunication (forums and Bulletin), Library and Museum. An annual meeting is required by the Constitution; but I do not think a MART is.
 

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This is a tradeoff that all our events (Nationals, Regionals and the Symposium) have to consider when planning their events.
Rhett,
I don't think it's the tradeoff that it once was and, thus, needs to be rethought. I'm just guessing on the numbers, but I'll bet I'm pretty close... I expect table holders (including spouses) and early birds made up around 90% of Mart attendence. So, the vast majority of attendees were doing their shopping on Friday. Anecdotal evidence from Jim and I (and others) would seem to back this up.

So, why not try something entirely new for Saturday? Make the attendence fee for NAWCC members something like $20-25. Then, invite the public, starting at 9:00am, for something like $30-35. To be effective, there will be the added cost of advertising and this must be done, and done well. Anybody (especially public members) that do take advantage of this Saturday pricing, would be gravy. And, who knows, maybe some of these public attendees would be impressed enough by the Mart, lectures, exhibits, etc that they will join the NAWCC. If nothing else, they would be introduced to the NAWCC.

I firmly believe we need to try something different and that we need to significantly increase our public outreach. This is a way to achieve that at our showcase event.
 

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I may be wrong, but it looks just like whats happening in local stock car races, where attendance is low. Ive talked to promotors about doing something to generate interest to the younger generation, because they dont go to or even really know about racing, and it seems the same with clocks. Why have a clock you have to wind when everything you need to know is on your phone. Try to get and teach younger people about clocks and try to spark an interest in them. Odds are, most on the forums are mostly 45 and older.
 

Rhett Lucke

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A few comments to hopefully clear up some misconceptions and communicate what is being done to move the organization forward to maintain and improve our National and Regional Events:

At a high level, The primary cost drivers for putting on a National Convention are facilities/equipment rentals, security and other contracted services. The manpower, planning and event management is done primarily by volunteers from the host chapter, convention committee and in the case of the National, many of our Board members. Travel costs are minimized with only a small handful of our headquarters staff traveling, along with our Executive Director to support the National. These individuals are selected to support specific activities, which include transport of materials from headquarters, registration and banquet support, tech support, publications and workshops.

Over the past few years, the cost of facilities rentals has been increasingly rapidly with facilities in major metropolitan areas simply being priced well out of our reach. in response, host chapters, along with the convention committee have worked hard to locate suitable facilities in locations with convenient hotels, restaurants and other attractions. After having to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were very fortunate that the Dayton facilities worked with us to reschedule to 2022 with no cost penalty. At the same time, through the foresight of a couple of our Board Members, we were also able to take advantage of the downturn of convention and travel in 2020 to negotiate a very favorable contract for our 2023 Convention in Lancaster.

Recognizing the current and future challenges we face with both National and Regional Events, the Board has established a "NRS (National / Regional / Symposium) Task Force". The purpose of the task force is to understand the current and future challenges facing these events and explore opportunities to address these challenges to maintain and enhance such events for our members. The organization and environment has drastically changed over the years and along with everything else we do, how we organize and manage these type of events must also change. With only a few meetings under their belt, I am very encouraged with many of the ideas being generated by this group and the sharing of best practices that are and will be occurring.

Responding briefly to some of Dewey's last comments, the Board has recently been shifting its primary focus from operations ( navigating through the pandemic and through the hiring and onboarding of our new Executive Director) back to more of a strategic focus. In short, what will the NAWCC look like in the future and how do we pivot to meet this vision. At the core of this focus, we have already started working on improving our chapter support, re-establishing our educational programs and promoting our organization and museum through our website, forums and social media. Also reaching out and collaborating with like organizations (those who attended the Dayton National most certainly would have noticed the AWCI bus that was parked within our mart room).

In short, we have world class museum and library, a lean but dedicated team of wonderful people in Columbia with strong leadership, a skilled and passionate membership and volunteer base and a diverse and experienced Board that is focused on the success of the NAWCC. I'm more than confident that we have all the key ingredients to tackle the current and future challenges we are and will face.
 

Jim Haney

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Rhett,

Some thing for the BOD to consider in your future discussions.

1.A reduction in annual dues. with the loss of Income made up from Higher Table prices$300+ for shows, this would pay for the venue without the NAWCC having to support the event.

2. A dedicated HQ person for requirement. If we charge $10 admission and have them fill out their information, this can be used for years to correspond with them on announcements of future events, recruit them for membership,ask if they are interested in helping in the areas of their interest.

3. A qualified person who would be familiar with the things that need done to make the shows user friendly. This was lacking at Dayton.

4.Chapter help from HQ in recruitment, school program for youth, training, Tech schools, things to do to increase membership, retain what members we have and look for new ways to involve people who may be interested in Horology.

I am sure most people realize that with Dues over $100 and charging $95 for someone to enter a show we are killing the NAWCC, so we can eliminate the $95 immediately and work on the Dues.:)

Thanks, Jim
 

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Jim, I believe you are thinking of the other hobby groups that have marts like our with perhaps a bit more emphasis on making original crafts than we have.

Those groups fund the marketplace aspect of their event by charging each vendor for their space, typically $300 to $500 and charging only a nominal fee for hobby members and the public to enter the event. We could do that, but it would be a serious risk on roll out since we have no good reference model to use.

It is really unrelated, but as an example in another industry, I ran the annual meeting for the Digital Equipment Computer User's Group (DECUS) for several years. The "mart" portion provided the basic facility funding and was paid by DEC and other associated vendors. The attendance fee was high but negligible compared to the training available to attendees. At our peak we had a meeting with 5,000+ attendees in Anaheim. Among the activities that the income from such events supported were "woods meetings" which provided training for both local and national committee members in the operations of the group and program previews. The admission fee for attendees was typically $1200 with an additional charge for special sections.
 

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1.A reduction in annual dues. with the loss of Income made up from Higher Table prices$300+ for shows, this would pay for the venue without the NAWCC having to support the event.
If we were to charge prices like this for tables you would only have dealers. I am not a dealer but I have gotten a table at a couple of regionals to pass along some of my extra items to other collectors -- however, I would never realize enough to pay those kind of prices. Often I have sold watches for not much more than I originally paid (albeit 20 years earlier), and that doesn't count restoration expenses. These events should also accommodate the collector who just wants to sell some items. The small sellers still have something to offer the collecting community and it would be a shame to push them out.
 

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If we were to charge prices like this for tables you would only have dealers. I am not a dealer but I have gotten a table at a couple of regionals to pass along some of my extra items to other collectors -- however, I would never realize enough to pay those kind of prices. Often I have sold watches for not much more than I originally paid (albeit 20 years earlier), and that doesn't count restoration expenses. These events should also accommodate the collector who just wants to sell some items. The small sellers still have something to offer the collecting community and it would be a shame to push them out.
I do not see this as a problem that can be solved by adjusting revenue streams. This has been a long term trend and reflects a change of interest; and lets face it, 35K out of a US pop of 200 million was not a big crowd to begin with. And now we are down to fewer than 10K.

I doubt we can fix the trend. But we can adjust. Neither would I tie our lifeboat to the ACWI which is a case study of flailing about for the last 20 years. Fewer than 1000 members and only because they think it helps their status with their brand based service accounts.

I think Rhett has it right, if NAWCC can stay the course of a hard and cold look at the environment and develop a true strategic plan. But far too often, people see only what they want to see.

I do know that the days of Manny Trauring flying in from Modesto with a train of luggage carts behind him are not going to happen ever again. Not because he is dead, but because the airlines have made that kind of thing impossible. I remember flying to Orlando with 20 chronometers in my carry on. Things change and we adapt.
 

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Overall it wasn't a bad event, by word of mouth we did find "Oregon district" where they had better food. A couple points to take forward...

-The Mart Chair who was making the announcements was very forceful and even intimidating at times, "Get out, that means OUT O...U...T..!" If you wonder why folks left early, your Mart Chair definitely contributed to this!

-I was surprised to see no mailing services available like what we had in Hampton. I hope you consider bringing this back for the Lancaster event.
 

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I remember a time when one of the awards at the Awards Banquet was best table display in the Mart Room. Usually it was won by one out the three or four higher end New York watch dealers.

We actually spent some time exploring an American version of the Basel Fair when I was first on the BOD. The idea was to get some major companies to purchase booths with displays for products and services and private areas for discussions. The major watch companies and the Auction houses would have been the primary targets for that but it would also have had low cost clusters of tables for hobby collectors at a much lower cost. In that setting a table would be 10ft x 10ft area with whatever furniture the vendor wanted to provide or a standard 8 foot draped table.

I do not know what the Basel Fair organizers net in profits, but it is probably in the $5M to $10M range at this time. The convention centers in our major cities handle that sort of event regularly for trade associations.
 

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AFAIK, there was no Media coverage of the event either in the Local paper or trade newspapers.... It seems that the Convention committee who approved this did not remember the same results 9 years ago. We are suppose to learn from our mistakes..
Jim, solutions always seem easy. 59 press releases were sent out to TV and radio in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, and we had live coverage on social media including Facebook and Instagram. Public did hear about the show and 33 joined the NAWCC as new members on-site. I believe all were Saturday. But, we must continue to do better.
 

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When I posted above, I did not realize that Basel World had been cancelled and that Rolex, Swatch, etc. had dropped participation presumably in favor of their own events.

Maybe we should be offering the American replacement. :)
 

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A few comments to hopefully clear up some misconceptions and communicate what is being done to move the organization forward to maintain and improve our National and Regional Events:

At a high level, The primary cost drivers for putting on a National Convention are facilities/equipment rentals, security and other contracted services. The manpower, planning and event management is done primarily by volunteers from the host chapter, convention committee and in the case of the National, many of our Board members. Travel costs are minimized with only a small handful of our headquarters staff traveling, along with our Executive Director to support the National. These individuals are selected to support specific activities, which include transport of materials from headquarters, registration and banquet support, tech support, publications and workshops.

Over the past few years, the cost of facilities rentals has been increasingly rapidly with facilities in major metropolitan areas simply being priced well out of our reach. in response, host chapters, along with the convention committee have worked hard to locate suitable facilities in locations with convenient hotels, restaurants and other attractions. After having to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were very fortunate that the Dayton facilities worked with us to reschedule to 2022 with no cost penalty. At the same time, through the foresight of a couple of our Board Members, we were also able to take advantage of the downturn of convention and travel in 2020 to negotiate a very favorable contract for our 2023 Convention in Lancaster.

Recognizing the current and future challenges we face with both National and Regional Events, the Board has established a "NRS (National / Regional / Symposium) Task Force". The purpose of the task force is to understand the current and future challenges facing these events and explore opportunities to address these challenges to maintain and enhance such events for our members. The organization and environment has drastically changed over the years and along with everything else we do, how we organize and manage these type of events must also change. With only a few meetings under their belt, I am very encouraged with many of the ideas being generated by this group and the sharing of best practices that are and will be occurring.

Responding briefly to some of Dewey's last comments, the Board has recently been shifting its primary focus from operations ( navigating through the pandemic and through the hiring and onboarding of our new Executive Director) back to more of a strategic focus. In short, what will the NAWCC look like in the future and how do we pivot to meet this vision. At the core of this focus, we have already started working on improving our chapter support, re-establishing our educational programs and promoting our organization and museum through our website, forums and social media. Also reaching out and collaborating with like organizations (those who attended the Dayton National most certainly would have noticed the AWCI bus that was parked within our mart room).

In short, we have world class museum and library, a lean but dedicated team of wonderful people in Columbia with strong leadership, a skilled and passionate membership and volunteer base and a diverse and experienced Board that is focused on the success of the NAWCC. I'm more than confident that we have all the key ingredients to tackle the current and future challenges we are and will face.
Rhett,

Can we get a breakdown of registrations?

No. of tableholders and spouse?
No. of volunteers?
No. of speakers?
No. of staff?
No. of preregistered?
No. of early birds?
No. of same day registrations?

When I was doing BOD for Chapt 1, all of these went into the count of registrations. Volunteers had to pay the same as everyone else. It would be very important to know how many people paid to attend and had no direct affiliation with the running of the event.
 

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There were no complimentary registrations. There were around 50 or so volunteers who contributed their time without compensation. There were also 20 or so volunteers from the local Convention & Visitors Bureau. We did pay the police who guarded the convention center each night.

I have not seen a report, but the registration desk said there were about 200 walk in registrations with 30 new memberships (included in the registrations count).. Rhett's numbers in his post above are the same and I think that gives a preregistration count of 650 (subject to any findl report corrections.)

One misconception is that there were as many table holders (or more) than there were tables. I do not believe that was true. Several attendees had 4 or more tables and all of those had only one or two members.

The speakers are all listed on the convention site. With the exception of the speaker at the Old Timers and Fellows luncheon, all speakers also paid their registration fee.

The NAWCC staff were 5, including Rory, I think. They worked at various activities including the gift shop, registration and assisting with AV facilities. They also brought the items for the Friday night auction that were being disposed from our donations storage and the gift shop inventory which sold very well. None of the items sold in the auction were from our museum collection. They were items that were gifts with no disposal restrictions.
 
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DeweyC

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There were no complimentary registrations. There were around 50 or so volunteers who contributed their time without compensation. There were also 20 or so volunteers from the local Convention & Visitors Bureau. We did pay the police who guarded the convention center each night.

I have not seen a report, but the registration desk said there were about 200 walk in registrations with 30 new memberships (included in the registrations count).. Rhett's numbers in his post above are the same and I think that gives a preregistration count of 650 (subject to any findl report corrections.)

One misconception is that there were as many table holders (or more) than there were tables. I do not believe that was true. Several attendees had 4 or more tables and all of those had only one or two members.

The speakers are all listed on the convention site. With the exception of the speaker at the Old Timers and Fellows luncheon, all speakers also paid their registration fee.

The NAWCC staff were 5, including Rory, I think. They worked at various activities including the gift shop, registration and assisting with AV facilities. They also brought the items for the Friday night auction that were being disposed from our donations storage and the gift shop inventory which sold very well. None of the items sold in the auction were from our museum collection. They were items that were gifts with no disposal restrictions.
Tom,
Thanks. Yes, these are the data that are important. The 70 volunteers get counted in the paid registrations since they have to register to attend. I had forgotten speakers pay for a registration at nationals.

The tableholders count is why I asked about tableholders and spouses/helpers. You cannot count just tables as it will provide an overcount of table-holders.

The nugget we should get to is the net number of attendees who were not directly connected with running the event. It is looking pretty small.

I am NOT concerned about the profit/loss of the Mart. I am supporting that we interpret the tea leaves constructively.

I am not as active as I once was and my interest is likely out of place. But I once invested a fair amount of time on the organization. Now I would call myself an interested bystander.

It looks like Rhett is moving in the right direction. I know there is a dance between things like fundraising and preparing the membership for change. Just avoid any precipitous actions like AWI when they decided to purge the membership of non professionals without understanding the fixed costs were the same whether the org served 6500 members or 1000 members. And tripling dues could not make up for the loss. Wound up selling pieces from the museum collection!
 

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I am not as active as I once was and my interest is likely out of place. But I once invested a fair amount of time on the organization. Now I would call myself an interested bystander.
and that right there is the best description of the eroding membership that i've read. i'm hearing (or seeing this) from old guard members left and right who even a few years ago were significantly more active than now... including me. when your organization depends so much on volunteering and member support, you need active and interested members and volunteers, yes?

covid? burnout? age? internal politics? the only things we can be sure of are that some members of the admin team will discount my comments by denigrating them or me, some members of the team will say 'we're working on it... give us time', the fully committed (bod, tom, staff, etc) will continue trying to preserve the status quo where the costs of doing so are in inverse proportion to the diminishing numbers of members who remember and/or care about the status quo, and the numbers of posts about ridgeway and less expensive clocks will increase. 8-(

where is the member outreach? diversity? junior horology outreach (more than onesy twosey), dedicated content creation? proactive member engagement?

i came here maybe a dozen years ago. i've gone to chapter meetings, but stopped because they became social meetings for the old guard who got tired of (or too old) shlepping clocks and only brought the same pocket watches and tools to the meetings. i've never been to a conventien and had no interest even before covid (has there ever been a survey of the membership to find out who and who isn't interested in conventions?). I have had phenomenal luck on craigslist and eBay, and am now able to afford higher quality clocks… only to find that the people who used to comment and provide information and share the collector joy are echoing dewey's (and my) sentiments... which seem to have some collective momentum behind them. i find this really sad, and demotivating. (Has there ever been a membership survey to assess what kind of experience and knowledge members have? What they like to collect? What they would like out of the organization?) the number of private messages i have received from the folks i consider major contributors echoing these sentiments... sometimes much more bluntly... is distressing. i sure hope someone in management is following organizational trends and can lead us out of the quicksand of complacency.

i am not as active as i once was, and find myself an interested observer (where have i heard that before? sounds so familiar). 8-(
 
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The nugget we should get to is the net number of attendees who were not directly connected with running the event. It is looking pretty small.

I am NOT concerned about the profit/loss of the Mart. I am supporting that we interpret the tea leaves constructively.
I think the walk in registrations represent this community you are seeking. Some seemed pretty interested to me. Others were exploring but felt it was worth the $75 to take a look.

We seem to have lots of ideas about what is wrong, but very little insight into what to do about it. I think we need new products, but I do not know what they are. I see very few here who are interested in brainstorming about that.

Whatever we do must attract participants (not necessarily members) and must be largely self sufficient for funding. I get the impression that no one wants to have such discussions because they fear losing some sort of advantage. I also think there are some who would be willing to help without compensation and would welcome proposals. An issue with that is that everyone seems to feel that the BOD or perhaps the Executive director must provide direction.
 

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and that right there is the best description of the eroding membership that i've read. i'm hearing (or seeing this) from old guard members left and right who even a few years ago were significantly more active than now... including me. when your organization depends so much on volunteering and member support, you need active and interested members and volunteers, yes?

covid? burnout? age? internal politics? the only things we can be sure of are that some members of the admin team will discount my comments by denigrating them or me, some members of the team will say 'we're working on it... give us time', the fully committed (bod, tom, staff, etc) will continue trying to preserve the status quo where the costs of doing so are in inverse proportion to the diminishing numbers of members who remember and/or care about the status quo, and the numbers of posts about ridgeway and less expensive clocks will increase. 8-(

where is the member outreach? diversity? junior horology outreach (more than onesy twosey), dedicated content creation? proactive member engagement?

i came here maybe a dozen years ago. i've gone to chapter meetings, but stopped because they became social meetings for the old guard who got tired of (or too old) shlepping clocks and only brought the same pocket watches and tools to the meetings. i've never been to a conventien and had no interest even before covid (has there ever been a survey of the membership to find out who and who isn't interested in conventions?). I have had phenomenal luck on craigslist and eBay, and am now able to afford higher quality clocks… only to find that the people who used to comment and provide information and share the collector joy are echoing dewey's (and my) sentiments... which seem to have some collective momentum behind them. i find this really sad, and demotivating. (Has there ever been a membership survey to assess what kind of experience and knowledge members have? What they like to collect? What they would like out of the organization?) the number of private messages i have received from the folks i consider major contributors echoing these sentiments... sometimes much more bluntly... is distressing. i sure hope someone in management is following organizational trends and can lead us out of the quicksand of complacency.

i am not as active as i once was, and find myself an interested observer (where have i heard that before? sounds so familiar). 8-(
I like your post.

With the age of the Internet there are alternatives to the organization where information can be obtained.

Much of the focus appears to be East of the Mississippi.

Are there any Mavericks on the BOD? Defined to be those that can see out of the box.

Interesting reading here: Corporate Documents - National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc. Be sure to read the Board of Directors minutes for March (3 documents) and April (1 document)
 

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Whatever we do must attract participants (not necessarily members) and must be largely self sufficient for funding. I get the impression that no one wants to have such discussions because they fear losing some sort of advantage.
This is what I was getting at when I said we need to rethink these past thoughts. I still haven't gotten an answer to my question on how many unique members came in on Saturday only, but I'll bet it's a really small number based on the data that has come out. Thus, it seems that everyone who wanted an 'advantage' is now coming in on Friday. We no longer see the stream of members waiting to come in at 9:00am Saturday morning. To me, that says that Saturday is wide open for some rethinking and that rethinking probably won't upset anyone. For me, that is aggressively (advertising and price) pursuing the public on Saturday. There is potential future value associated with every member of the public that we can bring in while sellers are still selling.
 

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I still haven't gotten an answer to my question on how many unique members came in on Saturday only, but I'll bet it's a really small number based on the data that has come out.
Dave, do you mean new registrations on Saturday? If so, the walk-in registration forms would need to be counted by day rather than as a total. I don't know if the current registration reporting includes the date the registration was entered, so it may be a matter of dividing and counting hard-copy registration forms.

If, instead, you're referencing total number of unique members who came in on Saturday only, that would be more difficult to quantify as there are generally quite a few pre-registrants who only come in on Saturday. To my knowledge, and in my experience working numerous registrations including numerous Regionals and a few National events, there is no record of the number of pre-registration packets picked up on Saturday rather than Friday or Sunday. Additionally, you would need to know whether the packet was for 1 or multiple registrants.

Hope the above doesn't sound picky, but calculating the number of Saturday-only attendees might not be a straight-forward process.

Pat
 

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Thanks, Pat. It is the number described in your second paragraph that I am after.

In the not-to-distant past, there was a line of members waiting to get in on Saturday at 9:00. These members generally didn't want the public to be let in at the same time and potentially lower price point. I think this is the 'advantage' (or one of them) that Tom spoke of. The NAWCC members wanted 'first dibs' over the public on the good stuff, but didn't want to pay for early bird entry. My claim is that there are very few members in this group that would care anymore. Conversely, there are probably many sellers who would welcome the public at 9:00 on Saturday morning.
 

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In post #29, Dick C cuts to the chase.

Let me introduce myself as a lead-in to making a point. I'm a newbie to clock repair and restoration. I'm a hobbyist. I can't afford to be a snob. I don't do watches, not that I wouldn't like to, and I don't fit the profile of a "collector" - acquisition is not a real consideration for me. So I may not fit well under the umbrella of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. I rescue castoffs and strays, yard-sale and thrift store finds, and the occasional on-line auction items. I seek out the battered and neglected and I make them work again. Some of them I restore but most of them I leave with their patina, dings and dents and scars. I help them *survive*. I do this because I believe in their intrinsic value and I believe in the soul of machines. And I do this because I have an insatiable desire to learn new things. Every time I light off some battered old clock that I've salvaged, cleaned, repaired and coaxed back to life, I get a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I live in Southern California, on the Far Left Coast. I became a member of the NAWCC because I feel obligated to pay for the education I receive every time I dive into the Forums - my annual dues are tuition, and a definite bargain. Do you know how many others on these forums are like me? I certainly don't but I suspect I'm typical of a lot of participants. Unless an event is within reasonable driving distance and promises a good return on investment in time and gasoline, I won't be going.

With that in mind, the concept of a get-together in Dayton is as alien to me as a flight to Mars. My window into NAWCC is right here - in the Forums. There is more knowledge about horology on these boards than anywhere else in the world, and the vast majority of participants are extremely generous in sharing their experiences and providing guidance. Just as quartz largely displaced mechanical movements, the Internet has displaced the more traditional in-person gatherings. Those days are long gone, and as some have opined above, they ain't coming back.

Rather than doing a post-mortem on the event in Dayton by slicing and dicing that small pile of statistics, perhaps we should consider taking stock of where WHERE the membership is; WHO it is, and WHAT it would like to see. Do you know the demographic distribution by age, interest (clocks vs. watches; collecting vs. repairing, e.g.), skill level in years, professional versus hobbyist, country/state/province? Then map that into the demographic of those that attended Dayton. I'll bet the correlation isn't terrific.

Another statistic I'd like to see is a breakdown on number of posts by forum participant, cross-referenced to NAWCC members versus registered users. (Paying vs. non-paying). Why are these numbers what they are? How could some of those registered users be encouraged to make monetary contributions? Do these forums have so little value to them that they wouldn't consider contributing to its support?

Is there any thought of professionally creating a survey available to *everyone* that participates in the forums? Limiting it to just those who are dues-paying members would destroy the value of the exercise, and even being wide-open, self-selection bias would influence the results, but this would be a good way to establish a baseline from which to determine how to maximize the appeal and the value of the association to the general public.

My intention here is not to roll a grenade under the bus. I want to be helpful. I've been the chairman of the boards of directors of a couple of non-profit common-interest associations so I understand some of the conflicting tensions that the NAWCC is experiencing. It seems to me that it can either keep doing the same thing and gradually coast into oblivion or it can reinvent and revitalize itself in an attempt to evolve its way out it.
 

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First Timers at a Watch and Clock Show

Before our comments and thoughts a little background on my wife and I. We had never been to any watch and clock show before this one. I just got interested in this hobby 3 years ago. Due to my immunity issues we had not been to a restaurant, since March of 2020, until June of 2022 and our 55 th wedding anniversary. Basically the only place I went was to doctor visits. We decided it was finally reasonably safe for us to get out and the Dayton show seemed to be a great way to start. Our first show for the year (we are attending shows this year associated with our other hobbies). Additionally, our son lives near Dayton and we had not seen him since Sept of 2019. We wore masks when in the crowds (I forgot once when I decided I wanted a watch and went over in a hurry to the mart late Saturday) and in the hotel public areas. We arrived Wednesday to make sure we got in on everything. As an aside I and my wife have worked with small groups that put on large multi-day shows, one of which had over 170 vendors, over 20 large displays, and was laid out in 25K square feet across several buildings. So we know what it takes to put on a show – never ending work.

The punch line is we were very disappointed. We had discussed the possibility of "purchasing" a couple of tables and setting up to sell, we are very glad we decided not to sell. Our only reason for staying at the hotel was being able to stop, go to our room, and take a break. Our only expectation of the hotel complex was it would likely be a 1 on scale of 1-10, expectations were met.

The show itself had some very excellent high points. We enjoyed the lectures and classes we attended and those who put them on should be commended for a great job, we both know what it takes to prepare, having done lectures ourselves. The Ohio Clock display with the early watches was outstanding. The dealers at the mart were friendly, courteous, and helpful. So helpful they relived me of many $$, in return for some very nice watches and merchandise. I was able to put faces with folks I chat with on this site.

The show had some real downer points. We really felt for the dealers, as we cannot imagine anyone clearing much of a profit given the expense to attend. We expected the aisles on Saturday to be packed with humanity. When it was explained to us what it cost for the public or even a friend of a member to attend we were flabbergasted. We had not realized that NAWCC shows were incestuous ie outsiders not wanted. How long can the marts keep selling to each other with no new blood? Eventually there will be no one to buy anything. Most everyone I saw looked like me, lots of grey hair and moving slowly. I belong to another organization with similar policies that is trying not to die off. Where were the young people? Where were the efforts to get them to come out? I do not think I saw any teenagers, a real bad sign folks. The absolute worst issue for us was the Sunday morning workshop cancellations. We stayed Saturday night because we wanted to attend the Cuckoo Clock workshop. It was cancelled, it never occurred to us the workshops would be cancelled. We would like to know when the cancellations were posted and why. Maybe there was PA announcement and we did not hear it (really bad PA system) or whatever so we are sure it is our fault of course, but that cost us a day with expenses and hotel bill for another night. The only partially saving grace was I happened to go over to the show Sunday just before 9AM to go into the mart, I came across the walk way (the first time I did that) and then saw the cancellations. I saw there were still seats for the wooden movement workshop so went to it. Russ Hill and John Riddle put on an excellent workshop and I learned a lot – thanks for saving part of the day.

As for the hotel, the only high point was the staff at the front desk and lobby. They did an excellent job. As for amenities and the restaurant, well a score of 0 would be too high. The parking process was a pain since we went out every day and do not move along very fast anymore on longer walks.

As for the volunteers and organizers of the event, Gen and I both thank you for your efforts and lots of hard work in putting the show together. All of our interactions with you at the show were positive, and as newbies all of our questions were answered to make our attendance easier.

Several suggestions from the newbies:
1. The early registration system was almost a bust for me, I had questions and emailed them to the person listed on the form, got no response after 3 or 4 days, I left a phone message, no response. I finally got on the NAWCC forum and asked my questions, got a response within hours and was off filling out the form. Make sure contacts listed are correct and actually have the time to respond to questions.
2. Not to create a debate (I almost was run out on a rail for suggesting this with another group), but the public who are not members and interested in this hobby need to be able to get into the mart easier with less $$. How about, bring a friend along, a member is allowed to bring in one visitor for a nominal fee $5 or $10. Or on Saturday from 1 to 5 open the mart to the public for $10. Need to generate interest in the hobby – one way is to get them to buy a watch. Then they are hooked. In April of 2019 I decided to purchase 6 specific Railroad watches, several NAWCC courses later, and way more than 10x my original watch goal here I am at a convention. Unfortunately I am 75, not the demographic needed to keep this hobby alive. Please try some radical ideas.
3. "Each one teach one", is a way to generate interest. In my other hobbies where I have a lot more experience that I can share this has worked for me as well as others. At this point I am learning watch "stuff", so not much to share yet other than enthusiasm. A challenge to the members, get someone involved, be open and inviting. The forums are great but one on one is better.


Regards,

Bob & Gen Nawa


PS – From Gen, I had not read the thread started by Jim Haney before writing the above with Bob. I told Bob not to bother publishing any of our observations after reading the thread, but he told me to add my personal thoughts so here goes. Over about 45 years I have been in many organizations. Unfortunately in the thread I observe a behavior by folks that spell the demise of your organization. The old guard does not listen to the input, they spend time defending, successful leaders listen. Exceptional leaders listen and develop a new vision / direction and implement it with casualties expected. I have watched and been in organizations where folks pushing for change were basically shut down, many of those organizations lost real enthusiastic people and are no longer in existence, or are so small they are just a coffee group. Stop defending, start listening, take the input, ask for it always, don't lead with a comeback defending the current position. You might be surprised at the increase in participation and enthusiastic growth of the organization.
 

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In post #29, Dick C cuts to the chase.

Let me introduce myself as a lead-in to making a point. I'm a newbie to clock repair and restoration. I'm a hobbyist. I can't afford to be a snob. I don't do watches, not that I wouldn't like to, and I don't fit the profile of a "collector" - acquisition is not a real consideration for me. So I may not fit well under the umbrella of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. I rescue castoffs and strays, yard-sale and thrift store finds, and the occasional on-line auction items. I seek out the battered and neglected and I make them work again. Some of them I restore but most of them I leave with their patina, dings and dents and scars. I help them *survive*. I do this because I believe in their intrinsic value and I believe in the soul of machines. And I do this because I have an insatiable desire to learn new things. Every time I light off some battered old clock that I've salvaged, cleaned, repaired and coaxed back to life, I get a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I live in Southern California, on the Far Left Coast. I became a member of the NAWCC because I feel obligated to pay for the education I receive every time I dive into the Forums - my annual dues are tuition, and a definite bargain. Do you know how many others on these forums are like me? I certainly don't but I suspect I'm typical of a lot of participants. Unless an event is within reasonable driving distance and promises a good return on investment in time and gasoline, I won't be going.
Im right there with you. All clocks have value to me, even if its just the guts and nothing to put it in. being on the left coast does seem to be a problem, and im just across the boarder to the north of you. Om lucky in that im not trying to make a living doing anything with clocks, and i sure dont have the know how to do it, and thats also why im here. At 65, im a bit late to the game, which i regret.

How long can the marts keep selling to each other with no new blood? Eventually there will be no one to buy anything. Most everyone I saw looked like me, lots of grey hair and moving slowly. I belong to another organization with similar policies that is trying not to die off. Where were the young people? Where were the efforts to get them to come out? I do not think I saw any teenagers, a real bad sign folks.
I was saying the same thing up there. /\. Ive seen and am seeing the decline of many things because no new blood is interested in whatever it is thats just hanging on. My daughter loves some clocks, but she has no interest in them other then looking at a couple of them, and my son could really care less. O have 3 grandfather clocks in my little where i sleep and peck away on the pc, and i go to sleep listening to the tic tock, but everyone else cant deal with it. There has to be a way to get others interested, because if not, it will end.
 

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PS – From Gen, I had not read the thread started by Jim Haney before writing the above with Bob. I told Bob not to bother publishing any of our observations after reading the thread, but he told me to add my personal thoughts so here goes. Over about 45 years I have been in many organizations. Unfortunately in the thread I observe a behavior by folks that spell the demise of your organization. The old guard does not listen to the input, they spend time defending, successful leaders listen. Exceptional leaders listen and develop a new vision / direction and implement it with casualties expected. I have watched and been in organizations where folks pushing for change were basically shut down, many of those organizations lost real enthusiastic people and are no longer in existence, or are so small they are just a coffee group. Stop defending, start listening, take the input, ask for it always, don't lead with a comeback defending the current position. You might be surprised at the increase in participation and enthusiastic growth of the organization.
Not discounting anything Bob said, but Gen has it exactly right. It is clear she understands volunteer organizations, generational differences and people in general.
 
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PatH

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not much to share yet other than enthusiasm.
Thank you, Bob and Gen, for posting your thoughtful, and thought-provoking, post. One of the points that really caught my eye was Bob's statement copied above. Never discount the power of enthusiasm. It seems like enthusiasm and a smile are sometimes in short supply. Yet, it's often the key to getting others interested in our hobby. It's so exciting to share in the enthusiasm of new collectors, and it's a wonderful reminder that we sometimes forget about the excitement and thirst for knowledge that brought us here.

While I'm sorry to hear examples of the experiences that attendees had, I'm so glad to hear that you were able to attend some of the lectures and workshops. The members who share their knowledge at these events put in hours and hours (and often $$) researching and preparing, as well as willingly missing out on other functions and "mart-room time," to help the rest of us learn. Although I am very aware that it's difficult for table-holders (who may be manning their tables single-handedly) to get away for a quick break, much less an hour to attend a lecture, it's disheartening to hear how many other attendees have never been to a lecture, workshop, chapter meeting, annual meeting, or viewed the excellent exhibit, all of which are free.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. There have been some great thoughts put forth that will hopefully lead to even more discussion and positive actions. As we move forward, I'd like to encourage everyone to make an effort to take advantage of the available opportunities, to talk to others, and to share your enthusiasm - and your smiles.

Thanks again,
Pat
 

Larry Lucke

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The NAWCC National held in center City Dayton ,Oh. was a very disappointing experience.



The Logistics were very bad, We had to park in a elevated parking garage 1 1/2 blocks from the Hotel with validated parking slips that necessitated walking about 1/2 mile thru elevated sky ways. The only venue to eat was at the top floor of the Hotel(Raddison) and the wait times were unreasonable because of employee shortages. There was only one other eatery about 1 1/2 blocks away and the wait times there were over 30 Minutes and the food was terrible. To add to the misery the concession in the Convention center closed at 2PM and there was no food available the rest of the day. They did not even have vending machine with snacks available. There were Homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks around the Convention Center and several cars and van were broken into as was announced over the very poor PA system.





The set up day Friday was from 11 to 5PM which resulted in 6 hours of trading between table holders and Early Birds and that ,IMHO, killed the show the next day because everyone either bought or sold everything during that 6 hour period. The Show day opened at 9AM and no one came in. I was watching the door and there was no traffic flow into the room. We sat around all day without any customers. It was the most poorly attended National I have been to in over 25 years,,,,



AFAIK, there was no Media coverage of the event either in the Local paper or trade newspapers.... It seems that the Convention committee who approved this did not remember the same results 9 years ago. We are suppose to learn from our mistakes..



It is a shame that NAWCC members who go to the trouble to attend and the expenses involved end up with a disappointing venue like this.

I will never attend a event where I can not park and walk up to the Hotel and have a choice of places to eat. I felt relieved to no end when I drove away from that mess.



Who ever is in charge should have their plans reviewed to make sure that they have done all of the Minimum of things necessary to make a successful convention.


PS, I might add that several people wanted to attend and the info I copied from the Web site resulted in a bottom line of $95 to attend the show for guest nonmembers. They all declined. How can the NAWCC grow and prosper with that kind of backward thinking?
I see all the negative comments and just wanted to post that I had a great National and want to thank all the volunteers for their efforts. My only complaint was that the hotel was a bit overwhelmed and understaffed, but I see that everywhere in the service industries. I had good sales at my table both Friday and Saturday morning and bought numerous items I was very happy with from a bunch of other table holders. I visited several sellers that reported good sales, mostly watch dealers. As far as the venue, parking was surprisingly easy and if you couldn't find good food in the area you either didn't need to eat or simply didn't try, It was all over the area within a short walking distance. Looking forward to future events!!
 

Nookster

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I have only attended a few Nationals. I live on the west coast and there is never a show this way but seems every 10 years. I was told it needs to be sponsored by the local chapters, and I am sure those are dying off? It seems to me that the entire NAWCC is controlled by a few chapters, all back east, so therefore the shows are back east. If we are a member of the NAWCC as an organization, why doesn't the NAWCC just pay for and promote the "National" as the name suggest and take the profits or losses? Are our dues just to pay staffing, the museum, gift shop, insurance and so on, all based in Columbia, which is not an easy place to get to, nor a friendly place to visit for me. Nothing benefits the membership of the other half of the USA, except local shows which are not happening much anymore. Based on the yearly assessment of dues there are some 8000 plus members now?

The show was a bust if you were a watch collector. The curtain divide between the WWT and the NAWCC was not a great idea, why not just take down that curtain and let all paid members go to both shows on Friday-Sunday, unless the WWT prohibited it? I don't know the answer. Why start at 11:00 am on a Friday? Why not 8 or 9? On Friday, I entered at 11:00am and was done by 12:30 after doing three laps. Not many watch sellers there. I know you can't control who attends the shows, but it just seemed like every clock collector from Dayon East attended. No offense to the clock guys, they were there in strength and good for them. But as a watch collector and enthusiast, I was greatly disappointed. The area was rough, dirty and boarded up or vacant in most places in the downtown area. Not much to do other than the Packard Museum or the Air Force Museum. I will say there was one good thing, they did have local police watching over the convention center at night.

As an organization, you folks need to figure out how to get more young people involved or the NAWCC won't exist in a few years. Some of your policies are outdated, tired and just downright dumb. If the board/NAWCC continues to run this place like this for the next few years and can't figure out how to entice people to join or get more members to attend shows, there will be real issues in the upcoming years. You got to get the younger generation excited about clocks or watches.

I went to the presentation that Rory did, was fantastic, but I am 63 and was by far one of the youngest in the room but a few. You have an aging membership (me included) and you need to figure out that thing that can draw younger members in. If the dues are just to support staff, the museum and library, then what are the benefits to becoming a member?
 

Tom McIntyre

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World Wide Traders is an independent company that holds a number of buy sell events each year. When they hold one in conjunction with the NAWCC they generally subcontract for their space and use whatever business model they like. The NAWCC primary interest in that show is the provision of display cases and safes to the attendees at our show. There is also the less tangible benefit of attracting some higher end watch people who might not attend the show otherwise.

The NAWCC has a reasonable local presence near both Los Angeles and San Diego. We are also strong in Oregon and Washington State. Coming just a little eastward, we have good presence in Arizona

An ongoing concern is that the local chapters and regional groups are based on needs that are largely independent of the needs of the NAWCC itself. That history leads to conflicts on what the organization needs to succeed as a multinational horological group.

Since I will be 86 next week, you all look pretty young to me. I anticipate a substantial growth in the online and virtual NAWCC with a growing emphasis on scholarship over trading. When we reach our potential for online display and management of our collections and collected member knowledge, the facility in Columbia should become a destination for scholars in both the craft and historical/cultural studies of horology.

Our community will need to be here to focus on the most effective goals.
 

Nookster

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The Pasadena shows are gone, San Diego is good, Arizona is ok, but like you stated, "the facility in Columbia should become a destination for scholars in both the craft and historical/cultural studies of horology." Again, got to go to the east coast. No classes sponsored by the NAWCC on the West Coast.

You have to be inclusive to all parts of the USA, not just the East Coast to attract more members.

Congrats on 86, outstanding Tom and I am sure you think like a 20-year-old!
 
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Arthur Cagle

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and that right there is the best description of the eroding membership that i've read. i'm hearing (or seeing this) from old guard members left and right who even a few years ago were significantly more active than now... including me. when your organization depends so much on volunteering and member support, you need active and interested members and volunteers, yes?

covid? burnout? age? internal politics? the only things we can be sure of are that some members of the admin team will discount my comments by denigrating them or me, some members of the team will say 'we're working on it... give us time', the fully committed (bod, tom, staff, etc) will continue trying to preserve the status quo where the costs of doing so are in inverse proportion to the diminishing numbers of members who remember and/or care about the status quo, and the numbers of posts about ridgeway and less expensive clocks will increase. 8-(

where is the member outreach? diversity? junior horology outreach (more than onesy twosey), dedicated content creation? proactive member engagement?

i came here maybe a dozen years ago. i've gone to chapter meetings, but stopped because they became social meetings for the old guard who got tired of (or too old) shlepping clocks and only brought the same pocket watches and tools to the meetings. i've never been to a conventien and had no interest even before covid (has there ever been a survey of the membership to find out who and who isn't interested in conventions?). I have had phenomenal luck on craigslist and eBay, and am now able to afford higher quality clocks… only to find that the people who used to comment and provide information and share the collector joy are echoing dewey's (and my) sentiments... which seem to have some collective momentum behind them. i find this really sad, and demotivating. (Has there ever been a membership survey to assess what kind of experience and knowledge members have? What they like to collect? What they would like out of the organization?) the number of private messages i have received from the folks i consider major contributors echoing these sentiments... sometimes much more bluntly... is distressing. i sure hope someone in management is following organizational trends and can lead us out of the quicksand of complacency.

i am not as active as i once was, and find myself an interested observer (where have i heard that before? sounds so familiar). 8-(
I once was a member of NAWCC. The chapter I belonged to was basically a clique of folks who had "always" been there, and while polite, certainly made no attempt to make newcomers feel wanted or welcome. Presentations were uninspired, and frankly, the meetings were boring...mainly chat fests among the oldtimers. Nothing arranged for newbies to bring in problem movements for advice. After several years I decided the two hour trip one way wasn't worth it. I did attend a national when I belonged, but wouldn't have if it was farther away than it was. Also, interestingly, I notice that chapter is still listed as active but hasn't posted any information in years...I know, everything is blamed on Covid.

Membership, like politics, is local. I think the emphasis has to be more on the local chapters and less on national matters, or things like the museum which relatively few members will have the opportunity to visit, and if so, probably only one or twice unless they live in the area. If there was a local, lively chapter where I would get some personal return for my dues, I'd rejoin NAWCC in a heartbeat. Lofty goals for the organization are all well and good, but until it gets more local I think it will continue to decline. My experience, thoughts and opinion. Worth what you paid for 'em..others will differ, I'm sure. No offense intended.
 

Tom McIntyre

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There are lots of discussions on this site about watches and clocks. We have noted scholars from all over the world participating.

It is no less an NAWCC facility because we do not require a fee to participate. The point is to be a focus for those with a genuine interest in watches and clocks.

The NAWCC has a vast archive of material about watches and clocks and the history of the industry. We use that resource to support discussions here and publications in our Watch & Clock Bulletin. I do not understand how readers could be disappointed with what is available and I know we are making a major effort to have the material more interactive with much higher quality images in the near future.

If one asked our over 8,000 members what they think they are paying for with their dues, there would be lots of answers. At the present time, I think we probably have a couple of thousand members who do not have any local affiliation. I believe about half of those are pretty active here on the forums both in discussion like this and in discussion of artifacts and horological ideas.

My hope is that this low budget, community oriented, activity will satisfy many of our members that they are doing something worthwhile by supporting the NAWCC either through dues or donations. I do not think of this in terms of return on investment but rather in terms of doing something that is important and taking satisfaction in that.
 

Schatznut

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If one asked our over 8,000 members what they think they are paying for with their dues, there would be lots of answers.
Tom, how many registered users of the Forums are there?
 

Arthur Cagle

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There are lots of discussions on this site about watches and clocks. We have noted scholars from all over the world participating.

It is no less an NAWCC facility because we do not require a fee to participate. The point is to be a focus for those with a genuine interest in watches and clocks.

The NAWCC has a vast archive of material about watches and clocks and the history of the industry. We use that resource to support discussions here and publications in our Watch & Clock Bulletin. I do not understand how readers could be disappointed with what is available and I know we are making a major effort to have the material more interactive with much higher quality images in the near future.

If one asked our over 8,000 members what they think they are paying for with their dues, there would be lots of answers. At the present time, I think we probably have a couple of thousand members who do not have any local affiliation. I believe about half of those are pretty active here on the forums both in discussion like this and in discussion of artifacts and horological ideas.

My hope is that this low budget, community oriented, activity will satisfy many of our members that they are doing something worthwhile by supporting the NAWCC either through dues or donations. I do not think of this in terms of return on investment but rather in terms of doing something that is important and taking satisfaction in that.
To me, the Forums are the best part of NAWCC...where else could you find the knowledge and expertise, plus the helpfulness, that you find here? However, I would dearly love a local chapter, but there is none.

As far as "return on investment" is concerned, I'm sure that many folks, especially those raising families or in retirement, have limited means to expend on non-essentials such as hobbies, so for them "return on investment" is essential, notwithstanding the lofty goal of paying dues for altruistic purposes. The stated goals of NAWCC are praiseworthy, no one can reasonably disagree with that, but are they sustainable in present form if members are voting otherwise with their feet?

I am not trying to be argumentative or disagreeable, I just throw these remarks out for discussion.
 
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Tom McIntyre

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Tom, how many registered users of the Forums are there?
We continuously report the number of active users in the past 30 days on the right of the screen. NAWCC Members are those who pay dues. Friends are the remainder who have registered. Those who have registered to participate in the last 30 days is the other count. Those who have registered are also included in those active. We also show currently active a bit further up the screen. In those numbers guests refers to those who have either not registered, or have not logged in.

The total NAWCC Members listed is 6,300+ but that includes any who have ever visited (and are still members). There are also 446 former members who are currently inactive but that number may be low since it is not really tracked actively. I would need to do some custom analysis to get better numbers. Once we get our membership systems merged between paid and unpaid we will have more accurate data, but likely the same general story.
 

Nookster

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Tom,

There is so much stuff in the library that is not available to members. Do you know why? We have to go there to get it. Barely anything is online. The reason is legit, it takes time and money that the NAWCC does not have.

So why is it that Rhett Luckey (Chairman) and a few others were able to have the complete set of the Hamilton binders with serial numbers that were digitized for the NAWCC? It's because he and his friends paid for it. They were able to keep a full copy too, but not us members. We all know they are several other Hamilton Pocket Watch euthenist other that Rhett and I am sure they would love to have a complete set and working copies of those historic catalogs. I am not ever a pocket watch collector, and I would love to have a copy. When we go online to look at the Hamilton catalogs, we have to search page by page? How did this happen? Because he and the others were on the inside, paid for it and were allowed to keep a copy. I believe 5 people divided it from the story Rhett told me years ago. Conflict of interest? I don't know but is sure not fair to the other members.

So, my question would be, why would we not be allowed to buy a copy from the NAWCC. Good way to raise money? Was it ever sent to members asking for us to donate to help digitize the catalogs? I don't think so. So, our new Chairman and his friends were privy to this information and no one else is allowed to have a full complete copy of those catalogs, end of story.

Now Tom, tell me if this is fair and if its why membership is dropping?
 

Tom McIntyre

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To me, the Forums are the best part of NAWCC...where else could you find the knowledge and expertise, plus the helpfulness, that you find here? However, I would dearly love a local chapter, but there is none.

As far as "return on investment" is concerned, I'm sure that many folks, especially those raising families or in retirement, have limited means to expend on non-essentials such as hobbies, so for them "return on investment" is essential, notwithstanding the lofty goal of paying dues for altruistic purposes. The stated goals of NAWCC are praiseworthy, no one can reasonably disagree with that, but are they sustainable in present form if members are voting otherwise with their feet?

I am not trying to be argumentative or disagreeable, I just throw these remarks out for discussion.
I is my impression that the members who are leaving are those who are giving up on their original intent to get rich by selling watches and clocks on eBay or local flea markets that they bought at NAWCC Chapter meetings and regionals. That was the story being told to recruits in the 1970s when we hired our first professional E.D. (Of course many just thought they might like horology and have decided they do not.)

I may even have thought that at one time, but I quickly learned I had no real talent for selling. As my late friend Jerry Laux used to say, he always sold his watches for less than he paid for them to maintain his amateur standing.

My personal income is my Social Security and a pension from WVU where I taught for 10 years in the 1970's.

I still enthusiastically support the NAWCC with what time and money I have available.

I am not looking for any applause, but I think none of us can speak for the population and our best data is our own data.

By the way, the BOD has had a number of studies done on our membership trends. In general we have lost the same percentage of users every year since 1950 The difference is that we exceeded that value by new members from 1950 to 1995. During that period we grew to nearly 38,000 members.
 

Nookster

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Tom,

Would be interesting to see the yearly drops in membership the past 10 years. It's great and all that in 50's some 70 years ago we had 38,000 members. I think this is what everyone is talking about, the NAWCC relies on its past, not in the present or the future? You have to think forwards, not backwards to get more or new members. 6,300 members, I was way off thinking it was in the 8,000's.

No offense to Arthur, but how can he be on the forums and not be a member of the NAWCC?
 

PatH

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Tom,

Would be interesting to see the yearly drops in membership the past 10 years. It's great and all that in 50's some 70 years ago we had 38,000 members. I think this is what everyone is talking about, the NAWCC relies on its past, not in the present or the future? You have to think forwards, not backwards to get more or new members. 6,300 members, I was way off thinking it was in the 8,000's.

No offense to Arthur, but how can he be on the forums and not be a member of the NAWCC?
I think 6,300 is the number on the Forum. As I recall the total membership of the organization is quite a bit greater.
 

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