What types of councils are available?
There are two basic "types" of councils: those based on the type of facility or industry one works in; and, those based on specialty or technical areas of interest within any type of facility. The councils listed below are the first to be launched:
What do Councils do?
- Facility/Industry Councils
- Manufacturing - discrete parts
- Manufacturing - processes
- Utility / Communication
- Wholesale / Retail
- Hotels / Hospitality
- Consulting / Support Services
- Specialty / Technical Councils
- Civil Engineering
- Management / HR
- Safety & Compliance
- Controls & Instrumentation
Certainly, councils provide a networking opportunity for specific communities within AFE. And through those networks, we anticipate that specific needs for the industry will be identified. So, basically, the educational and informational products and services rendered will be as diverse as the needs of the group each council represents. AFE won't limit the direction councils' members want to go. However, we anticipate that some of the projects will include:
- Create a solutions center or "ask the expert" program to be accessed via the AFE website and through an users group
- Conduct secondary research to collect and populate the Virtual Information Pipeline (VIP), AFE's on-line information resource
- Conduct surveys and publish primary industry research
- Develop training and/or certification programs
- Establish best practices/benchmarking research
- Establish standards or industry guidelines
- Write a series of articles for the Journal
- Write a book/workbook
- Develop a preferred vendor directory/program
- Sponsor and host chat sessions
- Look for industry partnerships
- Set policies and advocate to government or standard-setting institutions
Who can join a Council?
Any AFE member can join a council. And just about anyone can become an AFE member. If you are not an AFE member, you should be.
How do I join an existing Council?
New members are asked on their application. However, you can switch or add councils anytime you would like. Simply send us an e-mail with the Council you'd like to join (or quit) and we'll do the rest. You can also do it yourself by updating your membership data online by accessing your membership record and editing the Council affiliation in your member profile.
How much does Council membership cost?
It's free for AFE members. Yes, other associations charge an additional fee. But this, like so many other benefits, is included in the price of AFE membership.
How many Councils can I join?
You can join as many as you like. However, a council will be only as effective as the dedication and work put in by its members. If you cannot participate actively (see next question on "What do I do as a Member of a Council?"), perhaps you should only join those councils to which you feel you can offer a contribution. Remember, as an AFE member, you do not need to be a member of a Council to access it as a resource. You can still ask the council a question and you can still utilize the products and services a council creates.
What do I do as a member of a Council?
The old axiom holds true, "You only get out of it what you put into it." At a minimum, all Councils members need to:
- Respond to council communication (i.e. technical questions, polls, surveys product reviews, etc.)
- Attend at least one council conference call a year
- Participate in council projects to the extent possible
If you'd like to do more and lead a council, let us know (see following questions on Leadership opportunities).
When, where and how do Councils meet?
Primarily, councils will take advantage of new and emerging technologies. Most communication and meetings can be held via toll-free phone conferences or virtually using web-based meeting programs on AFE's website. Much can be done using chat, threaded-discussion boards or simply e-mail groups. Each council will have their own website hosted within AFE's site. Staff will assist in setting up the meeting and communication platforms. Face-to-face meetings are not out of the question (provided funding is approved and available) and certainly will be encouraged at AFE international and local conferences.
Each council should meet at least twice a year. However, active councils may meet as regularly as monthly, depending on the scope of work being accomplished. It is suggested that councils utililize smaller ad hoc task forces to accomplish specific tasks.
What Council leadership opportunities are available?
Each Council is lead by a chair, a vice chair and a secretary. The Committee elects each position every other year. Generally, to be considered you need to:
- Have knowledge of the industry/facility/technology of the council focus
- Be willing to commit time and resources to council success (This could range from a couple hours a month to a few hours a week).
- Have the ability to lead volunteers
If you'd like to be considered to be an AFE leader, please complete the appropriate form. You will be contacted shortly.
What do Council Leaders do?
Each Council is headed by a Chair, who is responsible for:
- Leading council meetings
- Communicating with AFE Headquarters
- Representing the council on the Council Committee (a roundtable of all Council Chairs, led by the Vice President of Councils (an AFE Board member).
The Vice Chair fills in when a chair is unavailable and accomplishes tasks as appointed by the Chair and the Council itself. The Secretary keeps minutes of meetings and works with staff to distribute communications to Council members. All three form the Council Leadership team (which can also expand to meet the needs of the Council). The Council Leadership team has the additional responsibilities of:
- Ensuring the council is meeting member and industry wants and needs
- Assigning, managing and facilitating project development for council task forces
- Keeping council members on track
- Bringing resources to the council projects
- Maintaining council accountability, attending council events and meetings, honor commitments and deadlines
- Recruiting council members
As a general guideline, council leaders serve an initial 2-year term. At that point, the council will select (by vote) its next chair. There is no term limitation unless the council so decides.
How do I start a Council?
For any council, there must be a core group of interested people who are willing to make the commitment to launch and maintain a council. If so, the following steps are then taken:
How will Councils get funding?
- With feedback provided by survey results, the first step to launching a council is to identify several champions for the council and a council leadership team. Each council will have a council chair and at least one vice-chair. Once the initial council concept is initiated, those interested in forming a council can complete an online application, which will be submitted to the Council Committee Vice President for approval.
- Staff will assist in scheduling a conference call of the council leadership team along with the Council Committee VP and key staff personnel.
- Staff will assist with inviting interested members and potential council members to join the conference call.
- Brainstorm and identify "hot" topics in the council area that the council leadership would like the council to address. Formulate a strategic direction to be presented to the Council Committee.
- Identify the projects that the council would like to take on and identify the deliverables at the end. Determine time line and resources required for each project. Formulate a business plan for the coming year.
Ideally, councils are to be considered revenue generating in nature. The products and services that the councils develop will provide AFE with sufficient income to support additional council activities. Of course, councils will need research and development seed money to initiate projects. Council Chairs sit on the Council Committee. The Council Vice President will carry initiatives and proposals to the AFE Board of Directors for funding. All proposals submitted to the Board through the Council Committee should contain a business/marketing plan detailing costs and benefits.
What is the Council Committee?
Each Council Chair sits on the Council Committee with all other Council Chairs. It meets at least once a year during the AFE planning meeting. Each Council Chair submits a report to the Committee regarding the Councils current activities. Requests for funding and staff resources come through this Committee to the AFE Board of Directors. The Committee will also allow Councils to coordinate similar projects.
Who is the Council Vice President?
The Council Vice President is a members of the AFE Board of Directors, who have the ultimate strategic and fiduciary responsibility for the association. The Council VP presides over the Council Committee and serves as the Council Committee's representative to the Board.
Why should I join a Council?
For over fifty years, networking has been one of the primary reasons for belonging to AFE (or AIPE at the time). Historically, most networking was accomplished locally at chapter events or at an occasional AFE national meeting. With the advent of technology, the world is literally at your fingertips. Using modern technology, AFE will enable you to network with other facility professionals around the globe who work in the same type of facility or who share expertise on a facet of engineering or maintenance. Using this network, Councils will be able to provide information on demand and create valuable resources for their peers around the world.
Historically, leadership involvement with AFE has often meant planning seminars, plant tours or golf tournaments. Now you can be more involved in things closer to your heart (and wallet). And as an end user for so many products and services, AFE councils will allow you to have a voice to the manufacturer/vendor while setting standards and best practices. Councils allow you to make and do your job better — the way YOU want to do it.