Friends, Members, Colleagues –
The last year has been a journey for the MEMA Staff. Heck, the last year has been a journey for most companies.
First, the sad departure of Jamie Py from the Association. This broke our hearts. We miss Jamie, but we are happy to see that he is settling into a new way of life now. His career at MEMA was huge. For many members, Jamie was the association. His loss was a blow.
As if that was not enough, the loss of Jamie was trailed closely by his best friend, MEMA’s VP Matt Morrison. Matt was an extravagant personality that the staff and members will miss dearly. He always had a nice thing to say and he always thought outside of the box. He was an ideas man and during his time at MEMA his accomplishments were many, including the conception and execution of the MTEC grill truck and streamlining of membership retention and sales.
During his time with MEMA he brought on over 40 new members, An impressive number. He was a good learner and absorbed much information about the industry working side by side with Jamie in a short amount of time. When Jamie had his stroke, Matt stepped up as acting president offering much needed encouragement to the staff.
Matt was instrumental in growing MEMA Technical Education Center. He was essential in helping to reproduce MTEC in other states such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania and brought on board Military Talent Source, who have brought many veterans to MTEC as well as to MEMA members over the years.
In general Matt helped make a lot of great connections and maintained relationships with organizations such as the Maine Chamber, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Maine Blue Collar Scholarship Foundation, and many more. It was partially his hard work that made financing for MTEC students a reality with Maine’s Credit Unions, specifically Five County Credit Union. He sold MTEC to many schools, voc techs, guidance counselors, career centers, and more. He was MTEC’s secret weapon.
We wish him much luck in his life endeavors, and the staff continues to trek on to our next great loss. For less than a month later MEMA announces the retirement of our beloved Robin Manson, Benefits Administrator for 23 years.
In 1997 Robin Manson hit the ground running at MEMA. It was Robin’s hard work that grew the Health and Workers Comp Programs, which were quite small when she joined the Association. Many of you in the trusts today are here because Robin recruited you. She created a working database, an organized workflow, and developed procedures of operation where there were not any.
She is a big part of this Association and has quietly and kindly helped many of our members through difficult times under many conditions.
In 2017, she worked closely with Jamie Py and the Allumbaugh Agency to establish the Self-Insured Health Trust that is such a great benefit for our membership. Although we are so happy for her new adventure in retirement, she is greatly missed by the MEMA staff.
So, as we said, it has been a long road and many changes at the association. There are two ways to look at this transition. All things have a cycle. We have been graced with the opportunity to make changes in the Association, to add new blood, to work extra hard with the Executive Board to redefine the Association, what it stands for and how we can move ahead in the best interest of the membership.
On July 27, 2020, we brought on board Christa Fairbanks who brings to the Association more than 20 years of extensive insurance industry experience. She is a respected professional well known for attention to detail and client focus. She worked for several years as a Senior Key Account Executive for one of Maine’s largest insurance carriers, a role that enabled her to partner and foster relationships with large Maine based employers to customize and implement employee benefit plans specific to their business. She already fits in great with the staff and we look forward to the trusts growing over the years in her capable hands.
Then in August 2020, MEMA put out an announcement that the Executive Board has chosen a new company President: Mr. Charlie Summers.
The press release explains that “Charlie brings an impressive level of professional leadership experience to MEMA. He is a recognized civilian and military leader with significant experience in the political, military, veteran, and small business communities. Most recently, Charlie served as the Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.”
So, it seems that our old journey has ended and a new one has begun. Thank you for sticking it out with MEMA in what we consider to be one of the toughest years the Association has ever faced. The road leads up from here and we will see you on the other side!
The MEMA Staff