Presidents Communication – Issue 1

Now that the dust has settled from the recent AGM, it is time I introduce myself to you the members. My name is Duncan Cabassi, I live in Brisbane, and I am the new President of the NMRA AR. Previous to this I have been the Division 1 Superintendent taking over from Martyn Jenkins in August 2018.  

Firstly let me thank those of you who voted at the recent NMRA AR election for president. Whilst our voting numbers were lower than where the executive committee and I would like to see, they were almost double the previous election voting so there are positives to take out of that.  

For all members and those that did not vote I would like to think that over the next two years we can grow your interest in the inner working of the NMRA AR so that you become more interested in having a say. Your way of having a say is by voting at ballots and by answering and responding to surveys that will be issued in the coming months. To help with this process it is my intent in conjunction with the NMRA AR committee (ARC) to make life easier for voting and answering surveys by making the supplied information technologically click and flick and more user friendly.   

As your new President it is my intention to be communicative with all the membership by using all the available technology at my disposal: email, Facebook, YouTube, our very own NMRA AR website, and face to face. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to have a chat. 

I would like to thank Graham Young, the outgoing president of the NMRA AR. Graham has been in the role for 4 years and has led the organisation through many achievements. I think perhaps the biggest being leading the organisation through an era that has had a Pandemic the likes of which none of us have experienced in our lifetime. This cannot be underestimated as a task in itself, and I think Graham deserves much accolade for getting us through this period unscathed.  Thank you, Graham. 

Our treasurer of the last two years, Geoff Chatwin, has stepped down from the treasury role. Thank you, Geoff, for your guidance throughout this period. You were a valued member of the team as all are and you will be missed. 

I would also like to thank Les Fowler who has stepped down from his division 7 superintendents role. Les has done this role for a significantly long time and having been a division super myself I personally know how much effort and how taxing the role can be.   Les will not be lost to the division responsibilities though as he is taking on a division treasurers’ role.  

As the NMRA has a policy of a maximum of a four-year terms for positions unless there are exceptional circumstances and the result of the AGM, there has been a shuffling of positions and a couple of new faces are welcomed to the committee. I would like to welcome both John Arrowsmith, Division 7 and Phillip Sharp, Division 5 to the NMRA AR committee. It will be great to have new eyes and fresh Insight into our committee workings. I look forward to the contributions that John and Phillip will make.  

The New committee is outlined below: 

NMRA Key Positions  Responsible Person
President Duncan Cabassi 
Vice President Doug Wallace 
Secretary Trevor Phillips 
Treasurer Al Harris 
Division 1: QLD / Northern Rivers TBA 
Division 2: ACT Stephen Obrien 
Division 3: VIC Peter Kendall 
Division 4: WA Frank Godde MMR 
Division 5: New Zealand Kel Sherson 
Division 6: SA David Orr 
Division 7: Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle John Arrowsmith 
Division: Northern NSW Ian West 
Division 10: Tasmania Pat Britton 
Ordinary Member David North 
Ordinary Member Phillip Sharp 
Ordinary Member TBA 
Web Administrator Brad Anderson 
Public officer Doug Wallace 
Membership officerAl Harris
AP Regional Manager David O’Hearn 

Over the next few weeks, I will be transitioning into the Presidents role and our reshuffled committee will regroup and then get on with the business of managing the AR proceedings. I would like you all to understand that as far as I’m concerned, we are all custodians of the NMRA brand. The committee itself is here to function as the decision-making arm of the AR. Whilst at times I’m sure not all decisions will be palatable by some, they will be made in the best interest of the NMRA Brand and the best interest of the membership.  

This is not an association that is run by any one individual, it requires input from many parts of the association.  The Division Superintendents are significantly important, and they have volunteered their time and energy to coordinate events, gatherings, and many additional activities for their division members to enjoy membership and the hobby. For them to be effective in their roles they will need your help from time to time. I encourage all members out there to actively support your division superintendent by asking them if they need assistance to do things, and then perform any delegated tasks to the best of your ability. 

From my perspective I will consult with the ARC committee and encourage the ARC committee to support new technology and give our division access to the tools they need to deliver additional value add to being a member of this association.  

We will develop, communicate, and deliver a strategy for the longer-term future of the AR association. This process has commenced however we have a long way to go. New items such as using virtual meetings, the new website that is currently under construction are a result of strategy developed and agreed some time back. This is now coming to fruition.  

Going forward to help us develop our strategy, we will issue surveys to get the necessary feedback from you the membership. This will be disseminated and used to help us shape the strategy.   

Our strategy will be developed around the key drivers of the NMRA: 

  • Fellowship 
  • Education 
  • AP Recognitions  
  • Access to standards 
  • Access to innovative model railway / railroads 
  • Clinics 
  • NMRA X 
  • Special Events
  • Mainline Magazine

It would be remiss of me not to mention and thank some supporting positions that sometimes go unsung within the organisation. These positions are 

AP Regional Manager:

I would like to thank and congratulate Gerry Hopkins for his many years of service in this role. Gerry resigned from the position during 2021, and David O’Hearn has taken on the position. David is doing a great job and has hit the ground running. 

WEB Administrator:

Gerry Hopkins & Lachlan McGuire have contributed significantly in the background to the current Website upkeep and now Brad Anderson is looking after it and running the build of the new Website soon to be released. Thank you to all for your commitment on this. 

Web Hosting:

A special thanks also goes out to Wayne Eagle for his ongoing contribution of managing all of the background IT issues we have. In particular with the current transition of the management committee emails etc.

Mainline Editor:

I would like to thank Merv Bagnall our very own AR magazine “MAINLINE” editor. Merv is doing an outstanding job of producing a quality magazine for us all to read every 2 months. Keep up the great work Merv.

At Large World Wide Director:

I would like to congratulate our very own Martyn Jenkins for becoming the at large world wide director in 2021. Martyn has been doing this role for 8 months now and in my opinion has done a fantastic job. The role is up for re-election and Martyn has my vote.

Last but not least, there will be many exciting things that will happen with the NMRA AR going forward. I’m excited about this association and the future. I acknowledge there will be challenges that lay ahead however I also believe we have the team to move forward and grow the association and add value to your membership. As members I encourage each one of you, in fact, you are empowered to promote the NMRA and the hobby. Together we will all grow the greatest hobby in the world.  

Thank You for your time. 

Duncan Cabassi

NMRA AR President