Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Celebrating the past, Embracing the future - 2015 Annual Meeting

If you could predict the future, what would your city look like? This question will be a focus of this year’s Annual Meeting July 16 – 19 at Hilton Head.

This week, municipal officials get their first glimpse of the wide variety of topics and issues on this year’s Annual Meeting agenda.
Tying to the meeting’s theme of “Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future," many of the sessions will examine trends affecting cities’ long-range planning and put forth forecasts on topics as diverse as demographics, the sharing economy and technology. You might even see a drone hovering overhead.
The meeting’s keynote speaker is a well-known “futurist,” Rebecca Ryan, who will share some of the tools and techniques futurists use to imagine what communities could become under various conditions. Also, we’ll dive into how cities need to be prepared for future technology developments such as driverless cars, drones and services such as Uber.

Plus, to celebrate the Association’s rich history of serving the state’s cities and towns, the Annual Meeting will feature a look back at issues, challenges and successes through the decades.

But, here’s something funny about history…you just never know what will turn up when you start digging into it. When initially making plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Association’s first Annual Meeting, the staff discovered the Association has been around longer than we originally thought. And this year is actually the 76th Annual Meeting.

The first informal gathering of mayors happened in 1926, not 1939 as we originally thought. The first “official” Annual Meeting of municipal officials took place in February 1940, just weeks after the Association hired its first full-time executive director and moved into its first office building.

So this year, we celebrate the 76th Annual Meeting of an organization that has been serving cities for almost 90 years!

Regardless of her age (and we all know you never ask a lady her age), the Association has long served local officials giving them the tools and resources they need to be effective public servants. The Annual Meeting will celebrate this rich history and give local officials the tools to be prepared for what the future holds.

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