On July 1, 2020, Ms. Jill Miller, a Partner at Bodman PLC (firstname.lastname@example.org 734/930-2499) will assume the lead role of General Counsel for the Retail Solutions Providers Association. I will remain involved for an additional six months to assist Jill in the transition. Jill has been working with RSPA for the past six months and is highly qualified and ready to assume her role. Please extend Jill the same support, friendships, and respect I have enjoyed for over the past thirty-five years.
When in 1984, five dealers of Data Terminal Systems came to my office to form the Data Terminal Systems Dealers Association (“DTSDA”) I had no idea what the future would bring. The DTS Dealers sought to establish an association dedicated to the unique issues they faced in the rapidly expanding digital point-of-sale industry. The Independent Cash Register Dealers Association was in existence, however, it was dedicated to an entire industry and not a specific product group.
DTSDA has had many successes. An industry agreement was created that was affectionally referred to as the Maui One and Two Bedroom clauses. If DTS terminated a dealer, without cause, it was obligated to assume a full year of maintenance and support for which the dealer had previously sold and collected. There was an additional provision that compensated for the dealer’s installed base. Depending upon the size of the dealership, the sum was sufficient to purchase a one or two bedroom condominium in Maui, Hawaii, and hopefully retire. On behalf of Bob Allnock in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, a court approved these provisions and required DTS to assume the service and support obligations without compensation. A significant victory.
DTSDA was an aggressive group. At a dealer meeting in San Diego, California, certain policies and procedures being proposed by DTS were not acceptable. Having the dealer views and positions ignored, the group rose in unison and left the meeting, only to return a day later when DTS agreed to the dealers’ position. By speaking as a unified voice, independent dealers were able to achieve what they could not accomplish alone, a message that should resonate today as you continue to support RSPA.
Recognizing the industry was strongest with a single voice, the Systems Dealers Association and Independent Cash Register Dealers Association merged. Although many obstacles to a successful combination were anticipated, none developed. The organizations came together and grew as ICRDA/SDA. ICRDA had had had numerous successes in the industry, the most notable a victory over NCR regarding parts availability. The name was subsequently changed to RSPA leaving past nomenclature. The final step succeeded in strengthening the industry, improving communication, and becoming one was the expansion of RSPA membership to all participants in the industry including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers. RSPA had become the voice and organization for the entire industry.
That all of these years have passed in what seems to have been a heartbeat is a testament to how much I have enjoyed and loved the privilege of serving the past and present members of the Association. RSPA, with the foundation of SDA and ICRDA, is regarded nationally and internationally as one of the leading associations in the world. The Association owes this universal respect and admiration to each of you and to generations of past members whose leadership, vision, intellect, dedication to addressing challenges confronting the industry and our society.
Throughout my career, I have witnessed the powerful and vital force for change that occurs through the collective efforts of industry members participating in the important work of RSPA. There is no better nor more effective vehicle through which industry participants can accomplish meaningful change and make lasting contributions to our industry and to the end-users we serve. Now, as then, our industry is facing many challenges and your participation and leadership in The RSPA is needed more than ever. Please stay involved and make a difference! As I begin to curtail my practice I thank each and every one of you for the privilege and opportunity to serve. I do believe we have made a difference. Thank you and remain well.
In Episode 20 of “The Trusted Advisor,” we meet Atty. Jill Miller, the RSPA’s new General Counsel. Miller talks one-on-one with the RSPA’s Jim Roddy about her early observations of the RSPA community and the importance of SMBs receiving practical, business-focused legal advice. Watch or listen to Episode 20 now.