Having traveled home from the conference in Saint Louis, caught up on all the chores around the house that needed doing, I’m sitting here waiting for the sun to come up so I can go out on a ride. IPMBA Conferences are special to me; they represent what a group of people wanted to see happen nearly 30 years ago. We wanted an organization that would bind public safety cyclists together and provide training resources/standards for ALL, not just a scant few who could afford the price of training “mercenaries”.
In some ways, it’s still unbelievable that the organization has become exactly what we wanted, and in other ways, it’s not surprising at all. If the original members can lay claim to anything, it is passion and wanting what we wanted for the right reasons. In lieu of personal glory, we wanted public safety cyclists’ numbers to grow, but most importantly we wanted them to be safe. By creating and setting the standard and spreading it around, we could ensure that someone from Small Town USA or Rwanda would have access to training that could prevent injury or save lives, including their own.
When I really think about it, it’s not surprising that IPMBA has become a success. Everyone who’s had a hand in running the organization since the last founder stepped down has worked tirelessly at making IPMBA great. The current board, as well as all those preceding, have always had the best interest of public safety cyclists and IPMBA at the forefront of their minds and actions. In my estimation, the boards that followed the original are more important than the first one. Starting something from nothing is easy; do one thing and you have an improvement. Making something better that was already pretty good is more of a challenge. Sometimes a huge challenge.
Knowing what to change and what to leave alone is a balancing act that requires day-to-day management and direction. The IPMBA Board is not an every-day-of-the-week job, and consequently needs the oversight of a director, an Executive Director. That is the job title Maureen Becker holds and has earned over and over. Without Maureen, IPMBA would be a very powerful vehicle with no steering input. As my grandpa used to say, “For every one mile of road, there’s two miles of ditch”. His point was that it is much easier to get down in the ditch on either side than stay on the road if you don’t pay attention to details. Without Maureen, we’d certainly be in the ditch. The next time you make contact with the IPMBA home office, keep in mind how much she does and how well she does it. A thank you might be nice, too; as we all know what it’s like to do a job that people sometimes don’t appreciate.
There was a time when I spoke for the founding members of this organization, and while I’m no longer empowered to do so, I will. We are proud of you, IPMBA: the Executive Director, the Board, Committees, Instructors and Members. YOU are what make IPMBA great. If you have yet to step forward and help move us along, think about it; if not you; then who?
Allan Howard, PCI #001
Dayton (OH) Police Department (Retired)