Well-Known MemberTRF Supporter
- Jul 23, 2011
- Reaction score
- Butte, Montana
When Gary came back onto the board in 2017 we had a conversation with him. We have had similar conversations with Chris Short. The subject of those conversations was conflict of interest.I have met you (at Red Glare last year) and think you are a great person to be around and a wonderful advocate for the industry and the hobby. I, on average, purchase about $15,000-$20,000 a year worth of Aerotech/RCS motors and equipment. I currently own 133 Aerotech cases, including multiples of all 98mm and 75mm cases. I absolutely love your company and have purchased upwards of $100,000 in Aerotech products through the years - probably more. Clearly, I support your business.
I do not doubt for a single second that you have contributed much over the years to Tripoli and our hobby. Having said all that, if you are human, then there is no way to avoid unconscious bias, even with the greatest of intentions. This has nothing to do with you personally. Anyone in your position would have a conflict of interest, by definition. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you do have an influence over your competitors. Even if you never exercise that power consciously, it is there. It is not a point of whether you do or do not try to exert influence - you have it by the nature of your position, regardless of whether you were elected or not. Saying you have "influence over policies that can harm your competitors" isn't not a qualitative statement - it is just a fact. At the end of the day, Tripoli has the power to say which motors are certified and which ones are not, which materially affects motor manufacturers. As a decision maker with voting power, you do have material influence.
In general, here’s how we handle things:
If a board decision affects Gary’s competitors (but not him), he’s left completely out of the discussion and the vote.
If a board decision affects Gary, he might be invited to give input but he has no vote.
If a board vote involves something about motor certification in general, Gary has discussed things with the other manufacturers and presented letters from them to consider their position. That happened the last time we approved the TMT Policies and Procedures manual a few years ago.
The other members of the board are less influenced by Gary than you might imagine. I’ve disagreed strenuously with him in the past and probably will again, but I respect his opinions and I believe that Tripoli is better because of his involvement (even when my position hasn’t prevailed!)
And finally, no manufacturer has any influence over TMT activities or motor certification. Alan runs that pretty much autonomously. I am the only conduit between the board and TMT and I know enough not to inject BoD opinions or biases into the certification process. I mostly make myself available for questions.