Viewoint, Erika Kenner, ASA Trustee
As I write my last Viewpoint for the Register in my last year as an ASA Trustee, it is time to reflect. When I look back on the last six years and see what we’ve done and how much our breed Association has progressed, it makes me proud to be a part of it. It would be easy to sit back and think that we as Trustees had everything to do with that, but in reality, we didn’t. We work as a team with an incredible ASA staff — a staff where many have committed a huge portion of their lives to this great organization! Now that brings me to another finality. As I’m writing this, it is the last month Steve McGuire will be working for the ASA as he has decided to retire, and it is with extreme sadness, yet gratitude, that I write that. Luckily, he has decided to be a consultant to help with the transition for a while. Many members have known Steve through the years, but maybe some of you newer members haven’t. So, I will give a little synopsis. Steve started at ASA in the early years of Simmental in the US. He was an engineering student at Montana State University and started working part-time for the ASA in 1973. With 46 years at the American Simmental Association, Steve witnessed more changes firsthand and was part of some of the biggest decisions made in our history! He is a wealth of information for us Board members, as he gives insight into decisions made years ago and explains why some of them didn’t work. Similar to ASA members, Steve kept rolling with the times. He witnessed the first computers at ASA! The old mainframe took up an entire office room. Now we have everything on our phones, iPads, laptops and every staff member has their own computer in their office. As technology changed and the needs of the ASA members changed,
Steve kept updating the equipment and capabilities of the Association. We went from doing everything by paper and the staff typing everything, to the Herd Handler Computer Program, to the present online Herdbook. All at the same time, our members had to adapt to changing demand for our cattle. It always impresses me how change doesn’t disturb Steve much. Instead, he focuses on the path forward. In the past 10 years, there have been many changes thrown at Steve — ASA now manages the data for over 18 million animals and 15 breed associations through IGS. When members input data online, everything is automatic and the staff only has to get involved if there are issues. We can vote online now through Herdbook Services. Steve assembled a phenomenal team of programmers around him to make it all happen. The capabilities we have in-house now at ASA are the envy of many. The demand for Simmental cattle also increased because our members were accepting challenges, embracing change and focused on being the best. As members, we can learn a lot from Steve. When faced with change, embrace it and work to be the best! Focus on the end goal and keep moving forward, no matter what challenges us along the way. Teamwork can be better than working alone but assemble the best team. Thank you, Steve McGuire, for all of your years of dedication to the American Simmental Association and the example you have given us to follow. I always enjoy our little debates — you make me think a little harder! You will truly be missed, but will always be a friend to me and the ASA.