A short conversation with
Dr Walter Bowers has led the Nomads since 2011, when he was elected president during the club’s last visit to the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, New York. A member since 1996, Walt has never missed a meeting of the Nomads. In the first installment of a new series we are calling “Conversations,” Walt answers a few questions while reflecting on his years with the Nomads and the club’s future.
Q: Walt, the Nomads are once again heading to Turning Stone this summer.
Why Turning Stone, and what significance does this have for you personally?
Walt: First of all, this will be our third time going there. They have three great golf courses, excellent accommodations, and the extra-golf activities are good. The restaurants are also good and there is a casino on-site for those who enjoy that activity. And, the resort has been competitive as far as pricing is concerned. In fact, we locked in the prices for this event three years ago, so we are getting 2020 accommodations and amenities at 2016 rates.
From a more personal perspective, I was elected president at our 2006 meeting at Turning Stone. Returning after 14 years seems like an appropriate moment to start talking about transitioning the leadership of our organization.
Q: What are you thinking about?
Walt: We need to bring the younger members into leadership positions. It’s just that time. If we are going to continue to build a healthy organization, we will need to rise to this challenge.
I think this transition should be considered a nurturing or mentoring process. Those of us who should be exiting in the next year or two can bring along those who will be our successors – allowing them to learn the ropes by participating, particularly in the site selection process and the negotiations on the contracts for our next three locations. I guess the sticking point is that in our constitution and by-laws we have no provision for transition, we have no provision for a president-elect or a treasurer-elect.
Q: The membership can always consider amendments, right?
Walt: I agree, and certainly it will be an agenda item for the coming year. How can we address this constitutionally and legally? It should not be done as a whim of the president.
Q: What are the competencies needed to do the job you have been doing so well for so long?
Walt: The next president should have a passion and love of the organization. He must have patience, be non-judgmental, and allow a host of opinions to be debated and talked about. He should have the ability to manage conflict. There will always be opposing views, and the president has to have the ability to direct that energy to a fruitful conclusion. Our new leadership should also be able to delegate responsibilities and hold members accountable.
The president should also have some experience in contract negotiation. And our president needs to be able to communicate effectively and represent the membership with intelligence and dignity. Finally, the Nomad president should have some boldness…firmness. He needs to be able to take decisive action in order to lead the organization into whatever matters are at hand, and also into the future.
Q: So, give us a little bit about your vision of the future of the Club.
Walt: The organization should be self-sustaining. We should be Nomads and Nomads first, and not a venue for an outside entity to advance their positions at the expense of our organization. Our core-value must be maintained; and, the organization must remain transparent No hidden agendas. Everyone must be engaged in the whole decision process as we move forward.
Q: Can you just expand a bit more about site and site selection, and lessons you have learned?
Walt: When we look at a site now, these resorts have done their homework as far as the Nomads are concerned. They know that we generate upwards of $200,000 worth of revenue to that particular site. So, from that standpoint, we hold some leverage. At this summer’s meeting, we can lock down 2021, 22, and 23 at 2020 prices, so that saves us considerably…and we should do that.
Q: Let’s take a moment to think about what the Nomads have achieved under your leadership since 2006. Go ahead…brag a bit Mr. President.
Walt: Well, you guys know I am pretty modest, but here is my list:
- We have initiated some long-range planning.
- The organization is fiscally sound.
- We have brought in new membership – people of sound character who are good golfers and good men.
- We have reached our goal of 70 members in good standing.
- We now have our Memorial Day scramble on Nomad Tuesdays when we all have our signature dress, which is quite impressive.
- The 60 Minutes piece was a great tool, which has done a lot to enhance the national stature and recognition of the organization.
- The web site is out there now, which gives us a communications tool, and also gives our external audience a glimpse and a view of our organization.
- We have gone to some great places to play golf.
- And, we now have organizations that want to come to us and sponsor events for us – but we have got to be very careful with how we deal with that.
“Looking back, that’s not a bad list. We really got some things done – all of us together. And I want the members to know, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of the organization.“