This month, we check in with Dr. Dan Markowski, the technical advisor of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA, online at Mosquito.org). For more mosquito-related trends, check out our annual Mosquito Management Supplement in this issue.
1. The 89th annual AMCA meeting just took place last month in Reno, Nev., where a new strategic plan for the association was announced. Could we take each of the priority goals outlined in the plan one by one, with where the association is in reaching them?
We’ve already made great strides in our first priority goal: Legislative and Regulatory education and grassroots advocacy. We’ve subscribed to separate advocacy tools to track issues at the municipal, state and federal levels. Together, these new tools will give our membership improved education on the many legislative and regulatory issues confronting their operations and allow for a more concerted response. These tools will be available to our members via the AMCA website’s membership portal in May. Additionally, AMCA is providing increased financial support to expand representation from around the country at our upcoming Washington Conference in mid-May.
2. The second priority goal is to develop and launch a comprehensive virtual education/training platform as a member benefit. How is that coming along?
In recent years, we have added supplemental chapters to the AMCA Best Management Practices manual, or “the BMP.” Currently, we are working with internal experts and private consultants to develop training modules based on these manuals. We envision a minimum of 13 training classes, each 15 to 20 minutes in length. These will be posted to our new online training platform and include dynamic testing content designed to educate while evaluating the user’s ability to retain the information presented in each chapter of the BMP. We’re hopeful these modules will result in a final certificate of completion that attendees will use to demonstrate a basic level of mosquito and mosquito-borne disease surveillance and control. In addition, we see these training modules as the first step of a tiered training strategy that will ultimately set a new national standard for public health professionals. Many of these training videos will be available to the public, with AMCA members receiving expanded training and benefits. We expect to have an initial launch by the end of this summer.
3. The third priority goal is to increase membership value. Are there any details you can share?
Although the two initiatives we just mentioned should provide great value to our members over the upcoming years, we’re working on several other items that will continue to add value to members.
Our industry continues to face changes, whether it is new regulations, new technologies, changes in the economy, and more. The AMCA is developing resources and opportunities to increase the exchange of information among our members.
As an example, with endangered species protection language being added to many, if not all, of the products we use, it will soon become more important than ever to understand these label requirements and how best to justify vector management decisions. Our redesigned website and membership portal will have sample documents, plans and contact information for programs that need help navigating these changes, as well as address many other issues facing AMCA members.
Among our many initiatives, the AMCA will expand its unique webinar series provided throughout the year, featuring experts in the industry on key issues. The Journal of the AMCA is continuing to expand its reach and recently began continuous publication, so keep your eye out for new articles by visiting the journal online or following our social media.
And that is just the beginning of the plans to expand member value, as the AMCA board of directors, membership committee and others are accessing additional opportunities to serve the membership and welcome ideas from any members on how we can better serve them.
Finally, internal surveys have demonstrated that our members view networking opportunities as a primary benefit. To expand on that, we have growing programs for young professionals; encourage participation on AMCA committees covering a wide range of interests; added a networking breakfast to our annual meeting; and are working toward making the Washington D.C. Conference fun and accessible for all members.
4. The fourth priority goal is to strengthen the organization financially, especially for its Research Fund. What does the AMCA have planned for this aspect this year and beyond?
Over recent years, the AMCA has worked hard to ensure its financial stability, particularly during the economic instability that took place during the pandemic. These efforts have set up AMCA not just for a stable future, but one for growth.
The board of directors and the finance committee, under the leadership of our treasurer, are now pursuing efforts to expand our revenue sources so AMCA can grow in ways that will best serve members and public health efforts.
In particular, AMCA is further developing our long-standing collaborations with CDC, and we continue to secure funding sources for the AMCA Research Fund, which allows us to expand the research funding for some exciting research projects, including unique approaches to mosquito control and public education initiatives.
Ultimately, our financial goals in the upcoming year will be to use membership dues to provide value and opportunities for individual growth through the annual meeting; collaborations with other agencies, such as the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA); and engagement with our committees to make the AMCA an even stronger association in the future.
5. Why do you believe the AMCA is a good organization for pest management professionals who offer mosquito management services to join?
The AMCA remains a vital resource for all our members, especially for strengthening professional response to vector-borne disease threats in the upcoming years. There are a variety of issues facing our industry, but we can shape these issues and better serve our constituents. By becoming a member, not only do you receive the tools you need to grow your programs in an environmentally conscious manner, but you become part of the solution by providing needed support and involvement.