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Chapters

This page will serve as a "living document" regarding the
evolution of the chapters.  We should all review it periodically and agree upon
direction and changes, which can then be published and reviewed here.  Please send
your comments to
andy.zaayenga@lab-robotics.org

Your comments will be recorded  for discussion with all of the board members, then we
can roll the edits into this document.

The Mission of the Laboratory Robotics Interest Group (LRIG)

Chapter Initiative

To build on the success that has been achieved by the LRIG in the
Mid-Atlantic region, we propose to initiate, enable, and empower Chapters in other areas
of the country. The paradigm will be to essentially use the established model and to fully
empower the Chapters to initiate LRIG activities with the founding group (the LRIG Home)
serving in a variety of facilitative functions.

Overview

The explosion of interest in such areas as high-throughput screening,
combinatorial chemistry, informatics, and associated topics have clearly fueled the
exponential growth in the size, scope, and vigor of the LRIG. The main purpose of the LRIG
meetings are to identify and showcase leading scientists and users in the various fields
associated with laboratory robotics and automation. The prime directive should be to
always have the highest quality presentations and speakers. In order to respond to the
increasing demand from scientists for information in these areas, the sponsorship and
participation of vendors have clearly been instrumental. The value-added partnership of
the vendors has made it possible to obviate the existence of member dues or registration
fees and have led to well-attended vigorous meetings. The LRIG remains committed to
remaining vendor sponsored but not vendor affiliated. The vendors receive targeted
interaction with prospective clients and established users of their equipment. The LRIG
members benefit from vendor exhibitions by keeping abreast of the latest technology. The
Mid-Atlantic LRIG plans to maintain an annual schedule of five meetings, with at least two
with active vendor participation. The Chapters are fully empowered to develop their own
schedule and strategic plan.

The LRIG Web Site and other Informational Issues

The LRIG Home will maintain the web site. The web site acts as a
virtual community for members, some of whom will always be remote. We would like to
encourage transcription and the use of electronic media by the presenters so that the web
can act as a repository for members who cannot attend meetings or want to revisit a topic.
Our aim is to incorporate many virtual features such as the Discussion Mailing List, the
Message Board, transcripts of presentations, and any other Web-based technologies that we
can employ. When possible and appropriate Chapters will nominate an officer with
appropriate expertise to manage the Chapters Web site content.

The LRIG Home will maintain the centralized member database in addition
to the Chapters maintaining their local database. The centralized database offers many
benefits. The last meeting a member attends is recorded so we can age out inactive members
after selected intervals. Meeting notices or updates can be sent out globally, or by
region, state, city, even by interest. The LRIG Home can, upon request from the Chapters,
handle the meeting notices disbursement, both e-mail and paper mail. Security of the
database will be of paramount importance and the LRIG Home secretary will implement SOPs
for secure e-mail with the Chapters. We also post meeting notices to approximately fifteen
newsgroups and one combichem mailing list. LRIG Home brings members in through its
presence on the web and newsgroups. These members will be directed to the appropriate
local Chapter.

The Officers of the Chapters

There will be officers consisting of an Executive Chair, a Secretary, a
Treasurer, and Chairs related to specific disciplines. The Chairs will be drawn from the
community of users rather than vendors. This is in keeping with the spirit of vendor
sponsorship, not affiliation. There are many extremely capable and energetic individuals
in the vendor community. However, there is a very strong signal sent to the members when
the Chairs are made up of peers who are users with no vested interest in specific
platforms or products. Positions such as Secretary and Treasurer may be filled by vendors.

The Chapter Executive Chair is responsible for compliance with LRIG policy
as well as local and Federal regulations. The Chapter Executive Chair must be approved by
the Home but is free to choose the other officers from the local membership by any method.



The Chapter Secretary authors and maintains the chapter’s web site which is
a subdirectory on the main LRIG web site. Another responsibility is updating and
maintaining the chapter’s member database which is a subset of the whole LRIG Access
database. Our plan is to have separate tables in Access for each chapter.  The local
secretary will be responsible for adding/deleting members from the local table.  Web
signups will be forwarded to the local secretary for entering.  Periodically the
local table will be sent to LRIG Home to keep the central database current.  A
welcoming email is sent to new members (see
Helpful
Documents
).  Other duties include facilitating the meetings
by serving as a contact for speakers and exhibitors, arranging for meeting venues (other
officers also help with this), and preparing and mailing meeting announcements.

The Chapter Treasurer is responsible for the accurate financial record
keeping and compliance with non-profit status.



The officers contribute to decision making, planning and execution of Chapter activities.

Formation of the LRIG Chapter Boards

The LRIG Home, by virtue of its financial responsibility, will approve
the nomination of the Founding Officer of the Chapter. The Founding Officer is completely
empowered to recruit other officers in whatever manner he/she may deem appropriate. The
Founding Officer, or an officer designated by the Founding Officer and approved by the
LRIG Home, will be responsible for reporting financial interactions that take place in the
name of the LRIG. In the event that the Founding Officer or his/her responsible designee
does not responsibly manage the duties which directly bear on the LRIG’s
accountability to the IRS, the LRIG Home reserves the right to terminate the participation
of said person in the affairs of the LRIG.

Board Elections

The LRIG Executive Board consists of the Executive Chair, Vice Chair,
Treasurer, Secretary, and a representative from each regional chapter.

The representatives to the LRIG executive board from the regional chapters
are by default the regional Chair. If the regional Chair does not wish to serve
on the executive board, then a representative is elected by a simple majority
vote of the regional board.

The Executive Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary of the LRIG
Executive Board are elected by a simple majority vote of the existing members of
the executive board.

The regional chapters follow a similar process. In a typical new chapter
formation, a working committee is formed by volunteers which in turn elects a
regional board by a simple majority vote. The working committee may at the same
time elect these board members to the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer,
Secretary and to other positions deemed necessary such as Program Chair,
Publicity Chair, and so on. Alternatively the newly formed board may elect these
positions by a simple majority vote. The LRIG executive board reserves the right
to final approval of the regional Chair.

In an existing regional chapter the positions are elected by a simple
majority vote.

New regional board members are added by a simple majority vote by the
existing board.

Mechanics and Logistics of New Member Sign-up

New members should be encouraged to sign up through the Web site if
possible. E-mail addresses are very important since they make it possible for us to grow
while keeping paper and postage costs low. Business cards are collected as a matter of
routine at all LRIG meetings in addition to more conventional sign-in sheets. Chapters may
be set up with business card scanners to facilitate creation of the database. Information
about attendees will be passed along to the LRIG Home after recording any local data the
Satellite Chapter wants to keep. The Chapters may send their meeting notices and other
mailing disbursements to LRIG Home, which can then handle the e-mailing and paper mailing.

Mailing List Policy

The LRIG mailing list is not made available to anyone. This strict
policy will continue in the LRIG Chapters. This being said, the LRIG Home has in the past
made attendee lists available to sponsoring vendors who participated as exhibitors at LRIG
meetings. For vendors who sponsor the LRIG through a table rental at an LRIG meeting or
other means, the attendee list may be provided. The membership must be reminded that these
sponsors are subsidizing their potential dues, registration, and food at meetings. The
LRIG Home and Chapters will make clear statements to the membership that their names may
be provided to the vendors present at the meetings they attend, but that otherwise the
LRIG will tenaciously safeguard the mailing list.

Financial Interactions Between The LRIG Home and the Chapters

Each chapter will be responsible for filing a tax return with the IRS.
The Chapters may receive
discounts in mailings and conference centers as a result of their non-profit status. The
Chapters are fully empowered to solicit financial sponsorship from vendors, but all
records of such transactions and expenditures thereof will be made available to the LRIG
Home for the purposes of auditing. Loans may be provided to Chapters from the LRIG
Home or from other chapters.

Summary

The LRIG has evolved from a small group of users involved in automation
and robotics in the mid 1980s to be a growing, vibrant phenomenon which continues to meet
unmet informational needs of the user community through its meetings and its Web site. The
LRIG does not intend to compete with groups such as the ALA, ACS, SBS, or IEEE who all
hold large national meetings, nor do we intend to create a large complex bureaucracy. To
the contrary, the intention is simply to transfer the same successful formula that has
worked so well in New Jersey to other geographical regions. In the end, whether this
venture succeeds depends on the activation energy supplied by local officers who will
identify first-rate speakers and deal with the logistics of planning LRIG meetings. It is
the fervent hope of the LRIG Home that the simplified scheme outlined above will minimize
duplication of effort and maximize synergies between all Chapters. We further hope that
the LRIG’s unique approach will take root and thrive in Boston, San Francisco, San
Diego, Research Triangle Park, Europe, and wherever there are scientists involved in
laboratory automation and robotics.

Open Issues

What About the Money?

how do we handle money for chapters – centrally vs. regional, and implications of
non-profit recordkeeping for both, we all need to discuss this one further.

Helpful Documents – for the chapter secretaries

Logo files – picture files of the LRIG logo in various formats

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