A Message From Chairman Zander Guy

Editor’s Note: Last month would have been the NABCA 83rd Annual Conference, which was canceled by the COVID-19 crisis. As such, we’re bringing you the comments from NABCA leadership that would have spoke at the conference.

Let me first recognize and thank my fellow Board Members. Since I started working with NABCA over 9 years ago, it was readily apparent that the respect for one another and the extreme professionalism in which business is conducted on the Board is second to none. It’s even more gratifying that we have made friendships that will last our lifetimes. It’s difficult to express in words just how much I appreciate the support and I know that you’ll be there for me as we continue to move the association forward.

I’d like to especially recognize Chairman Noble. It’s not only been a great privilege to work with Dan this past year, but he has been an excellent mentor to me. More importantly, Dan is a truly wonderful friend and colleague and I’ll be counting on him to help me get through my term.

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These are challenging and uncertain times. Our professional and personal lives have been totally overturned. However, I believe strongly that we will get through this and that we will appreciate our families, friends and communities more than perhaps we did before the pandemic. Let’s be strong and keep moving forward as best we can.  

I’m sure you agree with me when I say it’s a sorry frog that does not croak for its own pond. So, I’m proud to tell you that my home state of North Carolina does some things better than most.

Our world-famous barbeque comes to mind, of course. And we offer fabulous vacation and retirement spots from our scenic mountains to the Atlantic coastline that I call home.  We are growing by leaps and bounds in our state thanks to our robust medical, pharma, tech and banking sectors – not to mention our universities and the catalyst they are for the future.

When it comes to running an ABC System, I can tell you that I could not be prouder of our North Carolina team’s performance. We are a leader in generating revenue for our state and for counties and cities from the mountains to the coast. At the same time, we also are a leader in our public health and education initiatives.

I believe we manage to do both these things well, primarily because we are part of a larger team.

I have always admitted that I’m a “C” student. However, that does not mean I can’t recognize a good idea when I see it.

I believe in teamwork, and I am of the opinion we can all learn something from one another. Recognizing good ideas and learning best practices from one another is not only good business but it makes us all better.

That is why I selected the theme “Sharing Solutions” for my year as NABCA Chairman.

For many years now we have sought to highlight innovative practices, especially at our Administrators Conference and more recently during our Annual Conference.

Additionally, this past year, NABCA budgeted expenses for states to visit other jurisdictions and even private enterprises to stay on top of technological opportunities and witness best practices in action.

This is what Sharing Solutions looks like. And the momentum is going to continue under my watch.

This past year under Dan’s leadership, we’ve been reminded that our responsibilities go well beyond just putting money into our state coffers. We need to excel at sales and distribution yes, but we also need to excel at licensing, enforcement and public health measures.

Balancing these priorities is not necessarily easy. Looking for expert help in all these areas of responsibility requires a very nimble and flexible work force. And it requires learning from one another.

So, here’s what we’re going to do this year.

We are going to highlight innovative ideas and best practices at all our conferences.

We’re going to increase our presence at, either digitally or in person, logistics trade shows, public health conferences, law enforcement meetings and other important and meaningful events.

We’re going to meet with our partners in industry and collaborate on better business practices.

Additionally, I have asked my fellow Board Members to include in this year’s budget the funding to better communicate new ideas throughout the year.

How many of us get caught in our daily routines and do our jobs the same way day after day? It’s likely somebody somewhere has made improvements on these tasks and has not shared it because they don’t realize that it could prove helpful to another.

I would like to implement technology and practices that will allow our control state officials to more easily reach their peers and connect with the entire membership in real time. After all, many of us have been working digitally for several weeks and it is not a huge leap for us to expand that universe.

We started this past year a newsletter titled “NABCA Notes”. I believe we can expand this concept to include interviews with control state officials who have either implemented a new policy or practice or discovered some new technology that has proven to be helpful in their operations.

We should try to increase these opportunities for “Sharing Solutions”.

At the end of the day, we know our own individual needs better than others. Some practices that work very well in New Hampshire will not necessarily fit into Utah’s mission. Wyoming is a huge state with little population while Montgomery County, MD, has a much smaller footprint and a big population. What all this means is one size does not fit everyone. I believe the control model is the best model for accomplishing the multiple tasks that our organizations and agencies are responsible for. However, I also believe we can be more efficient and effective if we:

  • Communicate more frequently
  • Work together
  • And Share our best ideas

Thanks for this wonderful opportunity I look forward to working with everyone in “Sharing Solutions.”

Sincerely,
Zander Guy
Chairman, North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission

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