As I take a minute to look back on my 30 plus years as an active member of the PSMA, I am reminded of the many great people I have been lucky enough to spend some time with to share and learn from them. The list is quite extensive mind you as the folks that have been in our ranks have become mentors to me, dear friends and exceptional Business associates who are just unique, genuine human beings. My words cannot express my gratitude for all they have given to this industry, the PSMA, and myself.
There have been and are so many names that come to mind, however the ones that ring largest in my mind are the likes of Joe Macialek, Dick Macialek, Bill Hapchuck, Ralph Macchio, Tom Ferraro, and Vince Phillips. All of these folks have made a difference in our industry and in the lives of everyone who has had the opportunity to get to know them personally and professionally. They are kind compassionate people who have humbly served our industry and association in a very positive manner with immeasurable returns for all of us.
I would like to speak about just one individual in this letter and that is Vince Phillips. Recently Vince has given notice to the PSMA executive board that he will be retiring as our lobbyist as of January 31st, 2021. It is with deep regret that the executive board had to accept Vince’s resignation, however we are heartened to know that Vince, his wife Claudia and their family will be able to spend much more time together, sharing all the blessings that life has to offer.
Now let’s chat a bit about Vince and my relationship with him as it has developed over the years. I believe Vince became a part time lobbyist for the PSMA in 2011 to alert our BOD’S about any good or bad legislation that was in the pipeline in Harrisburg. Over the next year or so Vince’s very perceptive and in-depth accounting of some of the legislation that was either being proposed on activity being voted on in Harrisburg that had implications for the PSMA, it became apparent we needed to hire Vince as an active lobbyist to protect the PSMA’s interests as the relate to legislation in Harrisburg. Then Vince really got busy and became very effective for the PSMA. As a result of Vince’s hard work and influence in Harrisburg the PSMA leadership has testified at numerous hearings, has met with PADEP Secretary McDonnell and several of his predecessors.
The PSMA has been decisive through the introduction of legislation, hosting events in Harrisburg, working closely with other like-minded organizations such as, PSATS, PA Farm Bureau and PASEO association to combine our forces and resources to either promote or attempt to stop legislation, all because of Vincent’s vigilant guidance and oversight of the happenings in Harrisburg.
I have personally taken part in at least six of Vince’s citizen lobbyist events in Harrisburg. This brainchild of Vince’s is amazing to say the least! Usually 3 or 4 of us would meet in the cafeteria in the Capital Building at 8:00am to strategize about the upcoming day. Vince would call for a citizen lobbyist day whenever critical legislation was being proposed by either chamber in Harrisburg which was perceived to be either good for our industry of bad for our industry.
Our meetings with key legislators had already been set up by Vince over the previous week or more to ensure our time in Harrisburg was a effective as possible. Let me tell you in no uncertain words-you better have comfortable walking shoes because the pace was fast and 10k plus steps were done before lunch or so my feet thought so!! Vince would give us citizen lobbyist stickers on our shirts and the other lobbyist we encountered as well as the legislators we met with all thought that was a fantastic idea and an effective tool!
Vince’s presence as we met with each and every legislator or their staffers was powerful and everyone we met had the upmost respect for Vince regardless of their stance on any particular issue.
On behalf of myself and the entire PSMA Board I want to thank Vince for doing such a fantastic job in representing and protecting the interests of the PSMA and our industry at every level. His tireless work ethic, time and energy will be truly missed by all of us whom have had the good fortune to work with him and especially getting to know him.
Vince you will always have a friend in the PSMA especially our Board of Director and myself.