It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve this incredible association and to have the opportunity to work for and with exemplary professionals like you and the NASBLA staff. Over these last three decades, I have seen unbelievable changes in this organization and its impact on recreational boating safety nationwide. Together, we have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of individuals and families whom we will never meet.
Early in my career, I was blessed to stumble in to NASBLA which has been based in Lexington since the mid-1970s and I had no idea what lay ahead. Since then, I have made hundreds of life-long friends which I will cherish for the rest of my life. You and your predecessors have opened your hearts and homes to me, helped me understand my role in NASBLA and my place in this world and I will be forever in your debt.
Although many challenges and much important work remains ahead, I believe the best days of this association are yet to come. As we have expanded our partnerships with the U.S. Coast Guard amid sustained boating safety and maritime security needs, there are huge opportunities on the horizon that will further transform NASBLA and our member agencies. I encourage you to remain resolute, vigilant, and actively engaged with each other and our association leadership to best position NASBLA to take advantage of these opportunities.
I will remain in my position through the end of the year although I will be exhausting some accumulated leave during the interim. Together with the Executive Board, I have been planning for my succession for the last several years and will leave in place the most consummate and committed staff professionals with which I have ever worked. I can assure you they will not miss a beat upon my retirement, and I encourage you to continue to actively engage with our Chief Operating Officer Hannah Helsby and all our staff as we transition to new leadership.
I hope to remain involved in the work of recreational boating safety in the next chapter of my life and I wish each of you individually and collectively all the best moving forward. As my dear friend and former Oklahoma BLA Mark Brown is fond of saying, this is not farewell, just a chance to say I look forward to seeing you all somewhere downstream.
John M. Johnson, CAE
Chief Executive Officer