A year of growth, change and appreciation for TPA

Well, as they say: All good things must come to an end.
My tenure as Texas Press Association board president wraps up this month, and therefore this is my final column for the Texas Press Messenger.
It has been a whirlwind year and a memorable one, and I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity and privilege to serve such a worthwhile organization.
I have always marveled at all the great things TPA does and the servant’s heart possessed by each of its dedicated staff members. Working more closely with this staff — and having the opportunity to attend regional press association gatherings — has left me wondering why all Texas newspaper leaders are not more involved in such an outfit.
Those who aren’t are missing out on so much.
For me, this past year has been about deepening the many incredible friendships I otherwise would not enjoy were it not for TPA. And I have made many new friends, thanks to my regional press association visits.
I am extremely grateful for this because I have learned so much from those who have freely shared their ideas and initiatives. I have never attended a TPA-related gathering in which an idea or two failed to pay for the trip. And I remain convinced that knowledge and great ideas know no circulation size or publishing cycle.
And that truly is the beauty of TPA.
It has been a year of change, to say the least. This time last year, Mike Hodges & Co. were just starting their search for a new headquarters. And in just a few short months, they found themselves settled in a new home. In our continued efforts to be more inclusive, TPA adopted participating membership changes and welcomed aboard new member publications as a result.
TPA made the tough but budget-wise decision to consolidate the association’s two meetings, and as a result this month will mark our final summer leadership retreat. To be sure, TPA and its members will plan for an even better winter conference and trade show, which will offer attendees even more bang for their buck.
We said goodbye to some beloved members of our TPA family who passed away. And under the leadership of Legislative Advisory Committee Chairman Bill Patterson and staff member Donnis Baggett, we continued our fight to protect public notices, to preserve government transparency and to lobby against a very dangerous newsprint tariff that would harm not only newspapers, but the public’s ability to hold their government accountable.
Along the way, my role was made so easy, thanks to the help and guidance from Mike and his dedicated staff and the encouragement of all my TPA colleagues. A hearty congratulations to Laurie Brown of The Canadian Record, who will be assuming the TPA presidency. Laurie has a true passion for newspapers and is going to do a fantastic job. I stand ready and willing to do whatever I can to help her year in office be successful.
I feel so fortunate to have been a part of such a busy year and such an amazing group. Thanks to everyone for supporting me, for tolerating me and for encouraging me. 
TPA is better because of all the hard work by all of you. And Texas newspapers are better because of TPA.
Every good wish.