201-261-0786 jaginfo@jagonline.org P.O. Box 164, Metuchen, NJ 08840

President’s Message Feb. 2021

To Conference or Not To Conference? We Have The Answer


It’s no surprise that JAG did not hold an in-person conference during the midst of the pandemic in 2020. Not only was it not safe for our staff, members, vendors and guests – the State of New Jersey had declared a state of emergency. We weren’t alone. The NATOA national conference, New Jersey League of Municipalities and even the ACM went virtual.
Now it’s the year 2021 and it was the hope of the organization that we could hold an in-person event again. Unfortunately, there was no magic at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The pandemic is still an issue throughout the country. We might be on the right path with people practicing social distancing and the vaccines being introduced, but now is still not the time to hold a big event like our conference in a closed, indoor space. Again, we are not alone. Both the ACM and NATOA are doing virtual events for their upcoming conferences. NAB has moved their event to the end of 2021 and NJLOM is hopeful for a late November conference again in Atlantic City.


Let me jump back to the title of this article, “To Conference or Not To Conference? We Have The Answer”. Good news, JAG does have the answer! We are going to do a virtual event this year. The goal is to provide a wide variety of informational & education sessions, vendor presentations and networking. The details are to be worked out and I need your input and help.


To help shape this event and make it successful for JAG Members, vendors, sponsors and the JAG Organization we need to create a conference committee made up of people who will be invested in this event. That is why I am reaching out to our membership to get people involved. Let me start with this, here is my email address: bduthaler@jagonline.org . Please send me an email ASAP letting me know you are interested. I will reach out to you and get you involved with the committee. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th @ 2pm. We will be meeting virtually.
Here are some things that we are currently thinking about:

1) Conference Date: May or June?
2) How many days?
3) What days of the week and time?
4) What sessions would our members like?
5) What vendors would you like us to get involved?
6) How can we incorporate the JAG Awards?

The only way we can answer these questions and provide the best possible conference, is to get the membership involved. We need members to be invested in the conference. On the plus side, this is a virtual event. We are not asking you to do heavy lifting, travel long miles or even stay overnight at a hotel. We are asking for your number one quality – your thoughts! Your input is vital to make this event successful. Let me restate my contact information, here is my email address: bduthaler@jagonline.org Please send me an email ASAP letting me know you are interested. I will reach out to you and get you involved with the committee. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th @ 2pm. We will be meeting virtually.

Finally, as I mentioned each month in my article, JAG as an organization is a very social group. Face to face interaction at this point continues to not be possible but there are work arounds. I encourage you to take part in these events, webinars, monthly virtual meetings, impromptu online gatherings and perhaps an online happy hour! Stay Home, Stay Safe and make the most of this time with your family and loved ones.

Bob Duthaler

President, Jersey Access Group