Accomplishments Jay Strates, OABA Chair 2018


he 2018 season has been a blur. It seems like it was over before it began. Record heat, both early and late in the season, along with two hurricanes and tor- rential rains crossing over Oklahoma, Texas, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states, made for a tough season and lots of challenges. We have just completed two of this year’s major industry meetings: IAAPA in Orlando, Florida, where the board met to review committee Action Plan progress and approve the budget for the upcoming year; and the Organization Committee contin- ued the search to find the most qualified candidate for our president’s position by conducting face-to-face interviews. We hope to introduce the new president to the membership at the 54th Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Then after a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday, we were off to San Antonio, Texas, the new location for the IAFE’s annual convention. The OABA presented a workshop and once again sponsored the keynote speaker, Shawn Rhodes. The meeting concluded with the recognition of our class of 2018 Circle of Excellence recipients at the IAFE annual awards ceremony. We are very appreciative of the opportu- nity to participate with the IAFE and for the opportunity to

present our COE prestigious awards as part of their ceremony. For our members that were not able to attend these meet- ings, I think the end of the year is a great time to touch on the highlights of the OABA’s accomplishments this past year. Our Government Relations Committee and the Executive Board have obviously spent a lot of time and resources advocat- ing for the H-2B seasonal worker program. It is our hope that at a minimum, these efforts will create a permanent increase in the visa cap. I want to thank OABA Trustee Michael Wood for the tremendous amount of time and effort he has spent representing the OABA with other industry stakeholder groups and recruiters. While we have made significant progress advocating for the program, we have not achieved our ultimate goal of a permanent fix. The progress that has been made was in the form of im- proved relationships with legislators from both sides of the aisle. We have significantly more support for a permanent fix, but we are also caught up in the mid- dle of a larger battle regarding illegal immigration,

4  OABA ShowTime Magazine | DECEMBER 2018

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