AALA 2019 President’s Address

Greetings AALA Members! I hope you join my excitement as we announce the launch of the registration for the 2019 Annual AALA Educational Symposium and CLE – our 40th Anniversary Celebration! President-Elect Mike Traxinger and his Planning Committee team have been hard at work over the last 8 months, and the program is one that you won’t want to miss!  I am happy to report that Mike’s team is well on its way to shattering the records we set in 2018 for speaker involvement and sponsorship dollars. We hope you’ll help us also set a new record number of conference attendees. Click on the links above for more conference registration information!

This message also begins a series of association updates and messages from the AALA Board and its Committee Chairs, to share with you their insights about the great work of our organization, its members, and their efforts in the field of agricultural and food law and policy.

During the past seven months, the Board has overseen two Executive Director transitions. Last fall, after receiving notification of Maureen Kelly Moseman’s intent to step down from the position, the Board unanimously agreed that, given the critical role the Executive Director serves in AALA’s operations, it was important to conduct a national search for the position.  Please join me in thanking Dillon Law, P.C., in Sumner, Iowa, led by AALA members Pat Dillon and Jill Dillon, for their service to AALA as Interim Executive Director! We are grateful to Pat and Jill for their service. And, as we reported in April, after receiving 43 applications, conducting an initial round of virtual interviews, and a final round of in-person interviews, your Board selected Scott Heider and his association management firm, Braden Heidner Lowe & Associates, to serve as AALA’s new Executive Director. For more information on Scott and BHL, please go to https://www.aglaw-assn.org/aala-announces-new-executive-director/.

Throughout our search for a new Executive Director, I have been reminded why I joined AALA in the first place. In 2003, as a Drake Law student, I attended my first AALA meeting in my home state of Texas. I was immediately captivated by the gathering of legal and policy professionals who represented a diversity of thought and practice areas, while still maintaining a strong sense of collegiality. Today, in 2019, I am still captivated.

For the past sixteen years, I have seen professional colleagues turn into close personal friends. I have debated agricultural policy and its implications with fellow AALA members. I have received expert witness recommendations, case referrals, and deal term tips. With great interest, I have listened to CLE presentations and webinars that have absolutely nothing to do with my area of practice – but, that I know are important to agriculture and to our membership. I have poured over other presentations and webinars that have been my guide in handling a new matter or issue. For the past two years, as President-Elect and President, I have had the opportunity to see our members in action—dedicating their time, energy, leadership, thoughtfulness, and vision to this great organization.  And throughout the national search for an Executive Director, and the dual transitions in the Executive Director role, your AALA Board members worked tirelessly to identify the candidates who were suited to take AALA into its next 40 years, while still adhering to our financial goals and budgetary constraints. Please join me in thanking your AALA Board members for their service!

We hope you all had a safe and happy 4th of July. Register today for 2019 40th Anniversary CLE! We look forward to seeing you in our nation’s capital this November.


Warm Regards,

Amber Miller