The ARRL’s new Chief Executive Officer Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, got down to work on his first day in office by promising to make the League’s foundational business processes “rock solid” and bringing them up to state of the art, which members have a right to expect. Gallagher, who arrived at Headquarters on February 29 as CEO-Elect, has now assumed the top leadership post long held by David Sumner, K1ZZ, who officially retired on April 18. In late January, all 15 ARRL Directors voted to elect Gallagher as CEO and Secretary, positions that Sumner now has relinquished, and Gallagher said he plans to build upon Sumner’s legacy. During weeks of walking the halls and speaking with what he described as “the 95 outstanding employees we have here at Headquarters,” Gallagher said he’s seen a lot that’s positive but acknowledged that some issues need attention.
“My colleagues require the tools to do their jobs efficiently and effectively,” he said. “When they don’t have them it makes it harder for them to serve our members. We want to keep traffic moving. That will require investment and hard work, but we’re going to do it.”
Gallagher said some resources would be redeployed into areas that need more support, to improve or enhance the League’s service.
The new CEO pointed to the recent example of more than 1000 issues of QST that were lost in transit to members’ mailboxes due to a train derailment. “Within 24 hours, we knew exactly which copies had been destroyed, and the Circulation Department sent out replacement copies via First-Class Mail,” he said. That’s the kind of world-class service we want to perpetuate.”
QST readers soon will see Gallagher’s personal stamp on the monthly editorial, which he’s renamed “Second Century.” While it will be essentially the same format as Sumner’s “It Seems to Us” editorial, “the latter belongs to Dave,” Gallagher said. “I don’t think I could ever replace his erudition and his scholarship, or match his plain speaking; and I’m not going to try.”
Gallagher also has promised a spirit of openness and inclusiveness to bring the enrichment of Amateur Radio to a wider community. “Greater transparency is my guiding principle, as well as of ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, and the goals included in the Strategic Plan approved by the ARRL Board of Directors ,” he added. Gallagher invited members to bring their suggestions and concerns directly to him.
Gallagher’s assumption of the CEO post coincides with World Amateur Radio Day. He said he hopes to get on the air from W1AW to speak with other organizations and individuals who are celebrating the occasion, which marks the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) in 1925.
On April 19, Gallagher will head out of town on his first road trip on behalf of the League. He’ll be attendingthe National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, heading up the ARRL’s contingent with ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, and other volunteers to promote Amateur Radio. “I will be meeting with a number of broadcast professionals who are also ham radio operators, and I will be discussing topics like interference to signals in the AM broadcast band where ARRL’s lab has clear subject matter expertise,” he said, citing one common issue shared by hams and broadcasters. “We’ll also be looking to build a stronger alliance between Amateur Radio and the broadcasting industry.” He noted that ARRL also hopes to build on its excellent relationship with the IEEE community, which includes numerous radio amateurs.
Gallagher said that while he celebrates the past, he’s also keeping his eyes on the road ahead. “I respect tradition. I’m a traditionalist, and I’m a historian by training, and I recognize that celebrating the past is the duty of a grateful steward,” he said. “But embracing the future is vitally important to bring the art and science and enjoyment of Amateur Radio to an even wider community.”