January 5, 2019

In attendance:

Brian Sheron, Superintendent
Marshall Abrams, Senior Assistant Superintendent
Ernie Little, Assistant Superintendent
Tom Brodrick, Paymaster
John Paganoni, Assistant Paymaster
Nick Kalis, Layout Tour Coordinator
Bob Sprague, Clerk

Brian Sheron called the meeting to order at 12:23 PM.

The meeting began with Committee reports.

Tom Brodrick gave the Paymaster’s report. The Division made $1377 from ticket sales and white elephant room at the Regional Convention. Ticket sales were extremely good and more than $8,000 worth of merchandise was sold at the White Elephant.

The Division began July 2018 with a balance of $3,081.95. With a MER Dues payment and the money from the ticket sales and white elephant room added, and a deposit for the Minicon space spent, the new balance at year end was $4,391.45.

Brian stated that he had recently received an additional Dues payment check from the MER for $132.50, and provided that to Tom.

Marshall Abrams gave the Potomac Flyer Committee report. Alex Belida will be working with Marshall on the editorial content going forward. MailChimp is able to report on open and click-through rates; 71% of those to whom the December Flyer was sent via e-mail opened the message, and only 38.5% clicked. Marshall also has been analyzing member activity, noting that only 20-30 members attended more than two division activities during the past year.

Brian summarized a report on the Achievement Program from Mat Thompson. 4 members received Golden Spike awards. Nick Kalis’s layout was evaluated for Master Builder- Scenery, and passed. Mat has worked with Dave Arday of the Chesapeake Division to staff the model room at the Minicon with judges.

Marshall gave the Webmaster report. An experiment with free software from Google used for the Convention recap had mixed results, so the Division invested in an upgraded software package that is designed to work on small (smartphone) screens. Content from the old website will be migrated over time to the new format. 1and1 will remain the hosting site because they offer the most favorable rates.

Nick Kalis gave the Layout Tours report. We are full through 2020 with backups with several hosts already on the schedule for 2021. Nick asked whether it would be possible to send out “day of” e-mail reminders for layout tours. Marshall sends notices, generally once per month, about a week before the tours; there is concern of sending an unwelcome quantity of e-mail. The board agreed that a good compromise would be to continue the notice one week before and send a short reminder two or three days before.

Nick mentioned that a healthy Layout Tours program encourages hosts to work on their layouts and increases the “stock” of presentable layouts in the Division. The most recent open house was highly successful because the host opened his home to friends and neighbors as well as PD visitors, making for a lively event.

The board discussed the concept of “doubleheader” layout tours to increase turnout. If two nearby layouts could be scheduled on the same afternoon, it might incentivize more members to make the trip. Tom Brodrick volunteered to open his layout on the same day as the already-scheduled February open house at Frank Benenati's house, which is less than mile away.

Nick Kalis gave the Teams Committee report. Team leaders all submitted a one-paragraph report. Nick will compose some promotional articles for the Flyer to help increase participation.

Old Business

The Board approved the minutes for the December 17 (e-mail) meeting.

The Clerk will file minutes for the September 22 meeting for Board approval.

Volunteers were solicited through the Flyer to staff Exploratory Committees for a "Model with the Local Masters" program and a proposed operations weekend and none stepped forward. Bernie Kempinski expressed willingness to be a presenter for the former, but without a volunteer to set up and administer the program it will probably not be feasible. The Division supported an operations initiative for a few years, but the original volunteer stepped down and there has been no volunteer willing to step forward. Brian suggested that it might be easier to recruit volunteers for a distinct event, for example, an “operations weekend 2019” as opposed to an ongoing commitment.

Nick Kalis volunteered to explore an excursion to the headquarters of Scenic Express, where the owner would offer a set of clinics in addition to a visit to the warehouse. Nick will prepare a proposal.

John Paganoni will contact a member who might possibly volunteer to discuss the operations weekend concept. Tom Brodrick volunteered to set up and administer the "Model with the Local Masters" program. Marshall Abrams will contact the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild to get financial and logistics information on their similar lecture/workshop program.

New Business

Minicon – March 16. The actual location is Laurel, MD.

Brian has been spending considerable time on the Minicon. PD volunteers have been asked to cover the contest room, white elephant, registration, audiovisual, and clinics aspects of the Minicon.

Brian is putting together a flyer. He is estimating 70-80 attendees could be expected from the two Divisions. We will charge $10/member, $15/non-member and break even with that level of attendance.

Annual meeting notice went out in the Flyer prior to January 1.

Official notice of elections must be sent out to the current roster, by e-mail or postcards to those members who do not have e-mail addresses. Must be sent out to arrive by February 20. Announce that the election will be held at lunchtime at the Minicon on March 16. There will be a special issue of the Flyer about February 15 with notice of the meeting and bios of the candidates.

The board has approved the copy for the new PD brochure; Bob will get a layout done selecting pictures from the website.

We need to make sure that we have insurance waiver forms from any non-NMRA open house host.

Brian called the meeting to executive session at 2:46 PM.


* Promote new “doubleheader” at February layout tour in January e-mail#

Marshall Abrams#

Due 1/15#

* Send reminder e-mail for February layout tour 2-3 days in advance#

Marshall Abrams#

Due 2/14#

* Review 2019 layout tour schedule and look for opportunities to add layouts to create “doubleheaders” on some layout tour days#

All Board#

Due 2/15#

* Compose some promotional articles to promote participation in teams#

Nick Kalis#

Due 2/1#

* File minutes of September 22 Board meeting for Board approval#

Bob Sprague#

Due 1/12


* Submit proposal for excursion + clinics to Scenic Express warehouse near Pittsburgh#

Nick Kalis#

Due next board meeting#

* Contact Mat Thompson to discuss Operations Weekend options#

John Paganoni#

Due 2/1#

* Contact Fiber Arts Guild for information on their lecture/workshop program#

Tom Brodrick & Marshall Abrams#

Due 1/15#

* Prepare business plan for "Model with the Local Masters" program.#

Tom Brodrick#

Due 2/1#

* Send official notice of Annual Meeting and Elections – e-mail and postcards#

Bob Sprague#

Due 2/20#

* Create special edition of Flyer for elections#

Marshall Abrams#

Due 2/15#

* Get bios and supporting information from candidates#

John Paganoni#

Due 1/31#

* Get layout for new PD brochure done#

Bob Sprague#

Due 2/1#

* Make sure we have insurance waiver forms from any non-NMRA open house host#

Nick Kalis#


* Write article for Flyer encouraging attendance at open house layout tours and providing schedule for balance of 2019#

Nick Kalis#

Due 1/31#

* Prepare and submit Annual Report to MER#

Bob Sprague#

Due 1/30#