A Message from the President

Mimi Lafrenz Jett

ETP Harrison
1466 NW Front Avenue, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97209-2820, USA

Greetings TUG Members,

The 18th Annual Meeting and Conference held this summer in San Francisco proved to be an exciting week of TeXnology and transition. The passing of responsibilities from the outgoing board and officers to the new was effected with tremendous professionalism and grace, under the leadership of Michel Goossens, our diplomatic past-President. It is with sincere appreciation for countless volunteer hours and selfless determination that we, the entire member-body, thank President Goossens; Vice-President Yannis Haralambous; Secretary Sebastian Rahtz; Treasurer Mimi Burbank; and board members Robin Fairbairns, George Greenwade, Alan Hoenig, and Jon Radel for their service to TUG and the TeX community. Only through the efforts of these individuals, and many other enthusiastic volunteers have we made progress and evolved into the forward thinking TUG of the next century.

An obvious indication of our progress is the restructuring of the office and support team. In an effort to reduce costs and improve service to our members, TUG no longer employs a staff of personnel, but instead employs the services of three contractors --- with specific responsibilities and duties --- eliminating the overhead expenses traditionally associated with a staff. Thanks to the efforts of Art Ogawa and his incredible wife, Marian Goldeen, with the cooperation of our outgoing Executive Director Patricia Monohon, the business of the TUG office was attended to; analyzed; and organized into the three key-result areas we now utilize as our structural base: membership support and office administration; bookkeeping; and email. With great good luck, all three positions have been filled by professionals with character and experience. Lena Mohajerin, Administrative Assistant, is an entrepreneur in the field of training seminars for international trade, when she is not busy answering membership queries or filling orders for the ever-popular TeX Live 2 CD (which, of course, is a benefit of membership). Lena keeps regular hours in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays, with supplemental work from her home office. (Watch our WWW site for scheduled telephone times and other important news from Lena.) Cindy Hansen of ABC Solutions now handles our bookkeeping, as she does for a handful of companies in the Portland area, including ETP Harrison. Justin Winkler (aka Wink) is a TeX programmer with valuable knowledge and experience in a variety of computer operating systems and languages; he reads and forwards all email to the proper support team and works closely with Art Ogawa and Karl Berry to continually improve our database and responsiveness. Lena, Cindy, and Wink are available to support our members at the addresses listed inside the front cover. Please do not hesitate to contact the office with any issues or suggestions you have. If you do not get the help you need, or feel we could have done better, please contact me directly at president@mail.tug.org. I will personally respond to any mail at that address, and I appreciate your feedback.

The best laid plans of mice and men, often go asunder

Relocating the physical office has also been an evolutionary process. Amid the upheaval of a change in situations, Art and Marian moved swiftly to keep us operational by moving the essential office tools to their office in Three Rivers, California. Without such heroic actions and open communication of the board and conference committee, I am afraid the meeting in San Francisco may not have been such a success, not to mention the development of our current plan of action. During the week of the conference, dozens of volunteers helped pack and move the remaining contents of our San Francisco office out of the Flood building and into temporary storage. It was quickly apparent that the term `virtual office' is an oxymoron --- there are no bookshelves in a virtual office to stack TUGboats on, no desk for the computer, no cabinets for our decades' accumulation of files. So now, what to do? We had over 60 boxes of important stuff, no staff, and an uncertain direction. Once the election results were finalized, it made sense to reconstitute the office in Portland, Oregon, where two of the five members of the newly formed Business Committee live. Of course, the fact that we were offered space for an office, free of charge, was a major determining factor. We are now housed in the spare room of ETP Harrison, our small publishing service business working in TeX. As long as ETP Harrison holds the lease on this building, the TUG office is guaranteed a rent-free location.

The savings we are experiencing in overhead have allowed us to purchase a new computer for membership support, including email, web server, and database management. A special thanks to Karl Berry for his constant support of our electronic communications and another enthusiastic round of applause for our friends at DANTE for their contribution of a Sparc-10 for our CTAN server.

During the chaos of two moves, new people and the annual meeting, communications and support have been less than adequate. We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this has caused our members, and promise improvement in the near term. Your requests and applications are being processed now, and you should have answers by the time this issue hits your mailbox. The financial condition is also being sorted out, and the treasurer's report is expected to be ready for the next issue. Thank you for your patience during our difficult times. The future is bright, and has finally arrived!

It is with continuing awe of the unexpected, that I sign the President's Message for this edition of our journal TUGboat. Although I have hoped to serve in this capacity for sometime, it did not seem like a realizable goal until this year. And my Mother used to tell me: ``Be careful what you wish for, you may get it!''

Here's wishing happiness and hope for all of us.

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