2015 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

Our president, John Lee called the annual meeting to order at the Brae Burn Country Club and offered the benediction after which we enjoyed another delicious lunch. Next, our treasurer, Tom Gossett reviewed the organization’s finances and reported that Houston Grampian Association continues to be financially very sound.

John Lee assessed our current membership position and indicated that we are retaining members, but not growing. John also presented the report of the Education and Events Committees. Former Events and Education chairman Carol Decker has retired and will be greatly missed. It was reported that the 2014 Queen’s tea was a great success with 84 attendees, and the event will be repeated again this year. Another succesful event from 2014 was our OTC Breakfast, which generated approximately $3000 in revenue.

John also reported on the recent activities of the Houston Sister Cities organization. There is to be a fundamental change from the Protocol Office this year, and as more details become known, our role in future Sister Cities activities be evaluated.

Mary Metz reported for the Nominating Committee with recommendations. Presented for three year terms were Tom Gossett, Quin McWhirter and Joanne Zumbrun. They were elected by voice vote. Directors with two remaining years are Ross Davidson, John Lee and Kornell Rost. Those with one year remaining are Stuart Gibson, John Fowler and Kevin Howard. John Lee has agreed to continue to serve as President for as long as he remains in the United States.

Following the business meeting, with thanks to the Brae Burn Country Club for their consistently excellent hospitality, the meeting was adjourned.

 

2014 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The 2014 Annual General Meeting was held at the Brae Burn Country Club and, as usual, the luncheon was excellent and our business was conducted nicely by our president, John Lee. Reports were given by each committee chair, beginning with the financial report by Tom Gossett. He reported that our finances are still in excellent shape, including a nice reserve for future exchange visits. John Lee gave the membership report and was happy to inform us that the membership has not decreased in the last year, but that we still face the ongoing challenging of increasing our membership. Ross Davidson presented the business committee report and said that the success of last year's primary fundraiser, the OTC breakfast was excellent and that he will soon announce the speaker for this year's breakfast. Next, Carol Decker gave two committee reports - Education and Events. She gave us the tentative dates of our student nurse exchange visits and the banquet which will be held in September at the conclusion of the visit of the Robert Gordon university students from Aberdeen to Houston.

A special celebration is being planned also in September to commemorate the 40th anniversary of our organization, and we will host visitors from Grampian/Houston who will come from Aberdeen to participate in this momentous event.

John Lee reported on the activities of the Sister Cities of Houston, which includes 17 organizations, most of whom do not have English as a primary language. John has attended the monthly meetings and indicated it has been a difficult task to moderate those meetings because of the language and cultural differences. Upon the conclusion of lunch, our Chairman Mary Metz, presented nominations for board members, after which an election was held to configure the board for the coming year.

The election resulted in one new board member, Kornel Rost, Vice President of Scottish Development International, who was elected for a 3 year term. The remaining board members are already serving and, along with Kornel, are as follows: John Lee and Ross Davidson re-elected for 3 year terms; Carol Decker, Stuart Gibson, John Fowler and Kevin Howard with 2 years remaining; Tom Gossett, Joanne Zumbrun and Quin McWhirter with 1 year remaining. Following the election, the board retreated for a short meeting and re-elected John Lee as president.

 

 

Officers and Directors

Chairman &
Board Member

Mary Metz M.B.E.

Mary Metz

President &
Board Member
John Lee John Lee
Vice President, Board Member
& Webmaster
Quin McWhirter

Quin McWhirter

Past President &
Board Member
Ross Davidson

Ross Davidson

Past President &
Board Member

John Fowler

John Fowler
Secretary &
Board Member
Joanne Zumbrun Joanne Zumbrun
Board Member Carol Decker Carol Decker
Board Member Stuart Gibson Stuart Gibson
Board Member

Kevin Howard M.B.E.

Kevin Howard
Treasurer &
Board Member
Tom Gossett Tom Gossett
Board Member Kornel Rost Kornel Rost

With thanks to the Brae Burn Country Club staff for the great food and service and to the HGA members in attendance for participating in this years AGM, the meeting was adjourned.

 

2013 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

 

With threatening weather around us, a small but hearty group met for lunch at the Brae Burn Country Club to discuss the business of the previous year and to elect directors and a president for 2013,
and to discuss the events of the year to come. A lovely luncheon was prepared by the Brae Burn CC staff and enjoyed by our attendees prior to beginning the business at hand. Leading our organization are our President, John Lee and our Chairman, Mary Metz and they are shown to the left. To the right, Mary is shown visiting with Carol Decker and Marti McWhirter.

Following lunch, John Lee discussed our successes and failures for 2012 and affirmed that our financial status was strong but that our efforts to grow membership still need attention and creativity. He indicated our continued success in the strength of our OTC breakfast, which has been a partnership with BABC and which has benefited their scholarship group BAFTX. Susan Howard, BAFTX President was present. He also mentioned the very strong turnout of our 2012 Queen's Tea, held at the Hotel ZaZa and which represented the largest attendance since we began the event several years ago. He acknowledged our continued success in our signature Student Nurse Exchange program, conducted in partnership with Houston Baptist University, our sister organization Grampian/Houston, and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

John gave the treasurer's report in the absence of Treasurer John Fowler and then asked committee chairs to report on activities during the year. Reports for our business committee by Ross Davidson, membership committee by John Lee, events committee and student nursing exchange by Carol Decker and the website report by Quin McWhirter were given.

Following committee reports, our membership elected directors for the coming year and then reconvened in the adjacent room to elect John Lee as our President again, and John was thanked and applauded by the group for the great leadership he brought to us in 2012. The meeting was adjourned with continued optimism regarding our challenges and the accomplishments and challenges we look forward to in 2013.

In the photos below, shown are the members attending at their tables, and in the second photo are John Lee and past president Dwight Beach.



 

2012 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

In a delightful setting at the home of our president, Ross Davidson and his wife Anne, we held the Annual General Meeting to review the past year,
to elect directors and officers and to look ahead to the challenges of the year to come. Anne Davidson prepared a most marvelous gourmet dinner for us which we enjoyed immensely prior to beginning the business at hand. She and Ross are shown to the right, at the beginning of our gathering. To the left is a photo of our outgoing president, Ross Davidson with our newly-elected president, John Lee, who will lead us into what promises to be a great year.

To begin our business meeting, Ross summarized our accomplishments for the past year, which included our highly successful OTC Breakfast, our Queen's Birthday Tea and our St. Andrew's Day quiz. Our principal and signature benevolent program was our student nurse exchange between Houston Baptist University and Robert Gordon University, underwritten by genrous contributions from The Wood Group and by our income from the OTC breakfast. Ross also summarized our gift to Sister Cities Houston toward the design and construction of a promenade which will lead up to the new Houston Dynamos Stadium. The OTC had been our principal fundraising event and was conducted in partnership with BABC and half of our profit from that event was given to BABC's partner BAFTX, which provided generous scholarships for two students in the UK. Susan Howard, president of BAFTX was present and offered thanks for our participation with them in the facilitation of their scholarships.

Ross acknowledged that HGA successfully executed a number of events during the year and further strengthened our relationship with BABC. He indicated that we had improved our financial profile nicely and heightened our profile in the community, further adding strength to our Sister Cities participation via the promenade project, and thanked our board for having conducted business in a professional manner. Looking ahead, Ross noted that we continue to face challenges in membership and participation and in how to remain relevant as an organization as the needs and makeup of our community continue to evolve.

Ross called on committee chairs to report on activities during the year and the first from John Fowler, our Treasurer, indicated a strong degree of financial health due to our successful OTC event, and John's recommendation that we exercise better stewardship of our resources by identifying more places and ways to share them in the community. A great deal of discussion followed regarding ways that we can make that happen. An election was then held for board members, and Joann zumbrun and Quin McWhirter were re-elected for three year terms, along with Tom Gossett, who had served as a board member and treasurer for us a few years ago. were elected to replace the outgoing directors, and the directors then moved to an adjacent room and elected John Lee to serve as our President. The meeting was adjourned with a high level of optimism regarding our challenges and the thing we believe we can accomplish this year.



 

2011 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

 

Following our new tradation begun last year, we gathered at the Braeburn Country Club for our Annual General Meeting and, despite a bit of rainy weather, had an enthusiastic group of Grampians to meet, socialize, conduct the business of the organization and to elect new board members and officers.
With long-time members, including three founding members of the Houston Grampian Association, we also had newer members and a visitor from the English Speaking Union join us. Following the election of board members, a photo was taken and they are shown to the the left and are from left to right: Moira Holden, John Lee, Carol Decker, Ross Davidson, Rebecca Roberts, Mary Metz, Quin McWhirter and Joanne Zumbrun.

Our format was a bit different this year as we conducted the majority of the business meeting prior to lunch, which was tastefully prepared by the chef. Following lunch, we enjoyed the vocal talent of Elizabeth Sjoberg in her acapello presentation of a variety of English, Sottish and Irish songs, some written by the great poets.

Rebecca Roberts worked hard in coordinating the event and along with Moira Holden, who decorated tables and who did all of the photography for us, made it a very special event. Rebecca and Mary Metz both spoke at the beginning of the meeting and are shown together on the right at the podium.

As the meeting opened, Rebecca introduced our Chairman, Mary Metz who in turn introduced our President, Ross Davidson. He graciously thanked the board and membership for good work during the previous year. Reports were then presented by each of the HGA committee chairs regarding the activities for which they are responsible and then we enjoyed lunch. Next, board members were elected to replace the outgoing directors, and Ross Davidson was re-elected by the new board to serve again as our President.

Our choices from the menu this year were Snapper Piccata and steak salad, a difficult choice for sure but a winner either way. Thanks to Moira's good photography, below are our members and guests enjoying fellowship during the luncheon and looking forward to the great entertainment by Elizabeth Sjoberg which concluded the day's activities. Elizabeth is shown in the center photo below during her presentation.




 

2010 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

On a bright, sunny day, with a stunning, panoramic view from the glass wall bordering our meeting room at the Braeburn Country Club, we held our Annual General Meeting at mid-day again this year. We were privileged to have five original,
founding members of the Houston Grampian Association present to participate in the meeting and they are shown here on the left, Mickey Carmichael, Ida Lou Nicholas, Helen Schmolke, Aurise Bain and Jack Hume.

The meeting was upbeat, due to the very successful year we've had and the anticipated even more successful year ahead. We were also treated to a very special vocal presentation of British, Scottish and Irish songs by Elizabeth Sjoberg at the end of the meeting, done acapello and beautifully sung.

With a perfect blend of long-time members and new members, the gathering was informative and entertaining, we again had representation from the English Speaking Union with us. They have attended and participated in many of our recent events and we are honored at their interest and participation. The webmaster is especially grateful to Moira Holden who not only worked in organizing the meeting, but also took all of the photos for this year's event, and she is shown to the right with our guest vocal soloist, Elizabeth Sjoberg.

Our meeting this year was also organized in large part, by Rebecca Roberts, shown to the right, who opened the meeting and who coordinated the introduction of our procedures. Prior to lunch, she introduced our Chairman, Mary Metz, who offered welcoming remarks to the group and then turned the meeting over to our president, Aurise Bain and we proceeded to conduct the annual business reports and elections, with each committee chair discussing the activities of their responsibility. Following the committee reports, board members were elected to replace the outgoing directors. Elected for the first time to the board, was Carol Decker from Scottish Development, and re-elected to the board were John Fowler and Rebecca Roberts. Immediately after the election, the 2010 board members retreated to elect a new president for this year, and as a result, our new president is Ross Davidson. He is shown to the left with outgoing president, Aurise Bain. Both have worked tirelessly in the past years to lead the organization and to make sure that our key activities and events have been successful. Ross has chaired our OTC breakfast for the last two years and under his leadership, it has grown increasingly profitable and has attracted excellent speakers. We look forward to his leadership of the entire organization with great hope for an enriched schedule of successful activities.

Everyone agreed that the meal prepared and served to us by the Braeburn Country Club, was excellent, and was a highlight of our gathering. Shown below are some of the happy folks who were on hand to enjoy fellowship, a great meal and a well-conducted business meeting, and topped off with most enjoyable entertainment.




 

2009 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

In a real change of pace, the 2009 Annual General Meeting of The Houston Grampian Association was held at the Sam Houston Steamboat House and it was a delightful change, as our members met for luncheon to elect board members for the coming year, hear reports of our activities of 2008 including a very encouraging financial report. As an extra treat, the owner of the Sam Houston Steamboat House, Charlie Fogarty told us about the incredible life of Sam Houston and of Texas history before and during his entry into the independent country of Texas. We learned of his time as a legislator and Governor of the State of Tennessee prior to becoming the President of Texas and then, when it became a state, the first Governor of Texas. Charlie is shown in the photo to the right and was an excellent host. To the left is a magnificent painting of Sam Houston that was painted for and used in the 1936 San Jacinto Centennial Celebration and Parade.

Our members began arriving and touring the historic Steam Boat House with all of the paintings and photos on display of so much of Texas history. Some of the early arrivals are shown here in the photo to the left and they had a chance to see quite a bit of the displayed documents and photos before the meeting began. We also had some time to greet our new members who were in attendance and to enjoy a bit of fellowship for which we are so well known. It was also our pleasure to welcome two officers of the English Speaking Union as visitors to our meeting and they shared with us about their activities which were of interest to our members as well. Some of them had joined us last year for our first annual high tea in honor of Her Majesty's birthday and indicated they will plan to be with us again this year for that event.

The Sam Houston Steam Boat House has been rated as one of Tom Horan's top ten steakhouses in Texas and we began ordering from their great luncheon menu and in addition to the great hospitality and program, were treated to a wonderful lunch. After ordering and while we waited for our food to be brought to us, we began the business meeting with remarks by our Chairman, Mary Metz and our President, Aurise Bain who presided. Reports were given by each of our committee chair persons and we quickly got a sense of a very healthy and growing organization. Some of the new members present were Larry Russell and his daughter, Laura Russell and they are shown in the photo to the right with Aurise and Stewart Bain.

Our meeting was held in the Log Cabin Room of the Steamboat House and the walls are constructed from a recycled 200 year old log cabin from Pennsylvania. It is one of the most popular dining facilities for groups of 12 or more in the Houston area. The committee reports mentioned above included discussions of our Student Nursing Exchange program and a proposed Police Officer Exchange program now being negotiated with the City of Houston Police Department and the Grampian Police of Aberdeen, Scotland. Also discussed were reports on our finances, our interaction with Houston's Sister Cities programs of which we are an integral part, a cultural report, a membership report and our upcoming OTC Breakfast meeting. Finally, a report was given on our website, which has become a popular place to visit by prospective HGA members and by our own membership. The photo to the left shows long time members, including Past President Dwight Beach and his wife, Carol.

Moving on with the business of the day, we elected three board members for three year terms and they are Moira Holden, Carol Mills and Louise Sprot and each of them is pictured on our administrative page of the website. Following the election of new board members, the board met briefly to elect officers and with the recommendation of the nominating committee, headed by Ross Davidson, the 2008 officers were asked to serve for another year, those being Aurise Bain, president, Quin McWhirter, vice-president and John Fowler, treasurer. A secretary will be elected at a future board meeting. At the conclusion of the business meeting and lunch, the meeting was adjourned and we stayed and visited for awhile longer. We look forward to another very successful year in 2009. Shown in the phot to the right are (left to right) our new board member, Louise Sprot, outgoing board member Marianne Duffin, board member Rebecca Roberts, Chairman Mary Metz and board member John Lee.

Among the many beautiful paintings that we saw were those below of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Also shown are many of the flags that have been a part of Texas history.

 

 

2007 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

The 2007 Annual General Meeting of The Houston Grampian Association was held at the Braeburn Country Club on Saturday, March 10 to discuss the business of the previous year, plans for the coming year and to elect new directors and officers for the organization. Since the passing of our "Perpetual Chairman", C. Jim Stewart, we have not had a chairman and this year, a highlight of the evening was the election of our new Chairman, Mary Metz, MBE and our new President, Bob Gilbert, founding member of the Houston Grampian Association. Mary has long been our "go to" person, with the knowledge of protocol and procedures for us to follow in our relationship with our Sister City members from Aberdeen, with the office of the Mayor of Houston and the British Consulate, as well as appropriate matters of organization and communication.

Our outgoing President, James Prappas was unable to attend the meeting this year, as he was on a great Spring Break vacation trip with his children. In his place, our Treasurer/Vice President, Tom Gossett called the meeting to order and asked Bob Gilbert to do the blessing. We enjoyed a delicious dinner with lots of visiting. At the conclusion of the meal, Bob Gilbert proposed a Loyal Toast to the President of the United States and past President, Dwight Beach proposed a toast to Her Majesty, the Queen.

The business meeting then began with reports given by committee chair persons, including reports on the upcoming OTC breakfast in April, the budget, Sister Cities, Visiting Nurses, Website and then a report from the nominating committee by Mary Metz to offer nominations for open Board positions. Following her report, it was moved that nominations cease and that the slate proposed by the nominating committee be elected by acclamation. The motion passed.

New directors who were elected to serve three year terms are Aurise Bain, Simon Frame and Bob Gilbert. To fill open two year terms, Mary Metz and John Fowler were elected. The board members then retreated to elect a new president for the coming year and returned to announce that Bob Gilbert has been elected to that position and that Mary Metz was elected to be our first Chairman since the death of Jim Stewart. Quin McWhirter was elected Vice President and John Fowler was elected Treasurer, after Tom Gossett served us so ably in that position for the last ten years.

Our entertainment for the evening was provided by Gilbert Sedeño, who served as our disc jockey and provided background music during dinner and music for dancing following the business meeting. Due to the fact that our meeting was held during the time of Spring Break and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the crowd was a bit smaller than usual, but of extremely high quality and those who were present enjoyed the time together visiting and dancing.