Changing oil, winterizing, cleaning – not the most glamorous of activities, but arguably among the most important for sustaining operations. In a sense, “maintenance” is the origin of this blog – maintenance of communications, that is.
ABC has had an interesting history. In retrospect, it seems that the Virginia Legislature was prescient in passing the initiative that launched ABC in 1997. To some extent, perhaps they were, but the road to “today” has been winding and, at times, opportunistic. For example, ABC has been variously involved in restoration, molecular genetics, clam breeding, breeding disease resistance, non-native species, polyploidy, and remote setting. Some of these things were on the path to where we are today and some were merely dead ends. Ultimately, ABC has provided something of value to the emerging and growing industry and our aspirations – ABC’s and industry’s – have become common. As Anu is always pointing out to me, ABC and the oyster industry are both, absolutely concerned with the bottom line. We grew together to this state.
Given our common goals, it seems surprising to me that we are only now coming to mutual understanding and collaborative outlook on our activities. Frankly, this is probably my fault. I thought that our annual Stakeholders meeting, our distribution of brood stock to hatcheries, and an occasional public talk was sufficient communication. In the early days, it probably was, but not today. Not when so many businesses have so much of their bottom line tied up in what we are producing. For example, the Stakeholder’s meeting provided a forum for exposition by ABC to industry but not a forum for the obverse – industry to ABC.
Recently, an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC)* for ABC was established to enable two way conversation. The IAC will probably become one of the seminal developments in ABC’s history, I can tell already. Not only does it provide a colloquium for exchange of important issues from industry to ABC and vice versa, it provides a new avenue of transparency between us.
And that brings us to maintenance. The Stakeholders meeting was once a year; IAC is three to four times a year. But between those months is silence, there is scant opportunity for communicating. Industry has businesses to run; ABC had crosses to spawn and experiments to deploy. The Director’s Blog, then, is an attempt to shorten the intervals between communications. Although it is largely one-way (although there will be opportunity to comment in the blog), the Director’s Blog means to promote transparency, the antidote to misconception and misinterpretation. Frequently, but irregularly, this blog will contain information on happenings at ABC, on field observations from our research farms, occasion outbursts of data that may be of interest to our constituents, and, maybe, even updates on the Director’s occasional forays to distant places to promote tetraploid technology. The content kind of depends on how well the maintenance is working.