President’s Letter — Why WPSA?
01 July 2019
Dear WPSA Members,
I’m humbled to be your President. As you know, your WPSA Board of Governors (BOG) and Officer slate are volunteers. Why do we do it? We do it because we believe in West Point — because we care about our school, what we learned, and what it has done for us. We do it because we believe in Duty, Honor, Country.
We, as an AOG Distinguished Society, have done a lot of things really well. We throw a grand Founders’ Day Dinner; donate generously to our Alma Mater; organize one of the best Governor’s send-offs in the Country; and take every opportunity to Beat Navy at hosting great events!
We are keeping the same theme as last year’s: Honoring our Heritage, Preparing for the Future. My main priorities for the 2019-2020 year are:
- Honor West Point and the US Army
- Execute an outstanding Army GSU Football tailgate
- Career development for all ATL grads
- Growing WPSA’s corp of volunteers and board members.
However, the Future is only ONE day away and we as a Board believe we must do certain things to keep our Society strong. Helping our younger grads achieve the same or better level of success our older grads have is key to WPSA’s future.
Our surveys indicate two areas where we are falling short: professional networking and engaging younger grads. We are taking action on these fronts: we have younger grads from the 2000’s joining our Board, we have partnered with the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta to join their professional networking events and we have also appointed a Careers and Networking Chair to help with employment and entrepreneurial ventures.
If you find yourself not wanting to get involved, please tell me why and the WPSA BOG and I will do what we can to fix it. We want you to gain something from YOUR Society — whether it’s fellowship, remembering the good ‘ole times, growing your business or finding a job.
We’d love to hear your feedback and, even more, would appreciate your time in keeping the Atlanta Long Gray Line strong!
Samir Patel ‘08
WPSA 2019-2020 President
1.0 Officers + Board of Governors
Your 2019-2020 Board of Governors are a fantastic group of volunteers dedicated to keeping the Long Gray Line strong in Atlanta. Many of them donate precious time and energy on a weekly basis to help out Atlanta area grads. You’ll notice that younger grads are now joining our Board. We feel this is essential to ensure WPSA remains in touch. To get in contact with any of our Board of Governors, who serve for 3 year terms, please email Samir Patel ‘08 at or Jan Heath at .
2.0 The Future – – Career and Networking for all grads
Jim Eberle ‘71 leads this effort and has done a remarkable job helping grads find not only employment but also with their entrepreneurial ventures. Jim’s distinguished career spans a diverse set of operational and leadership roles resulting in successful acquisitions of his companies. During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Jim has assisted over 44 individuals:
● 34 USMA grads
● 3 – couples – working with both husbands and wives
● 1 – Cadet USMA 2019 – non-commissioned – medical
● 2 – Navy officers / 4 – other veterans referred by network people
● 2 – civilians referred by network people
Partnership with Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta.
We partnered with the HBS Club of Atlanta to piggy-back off their outstanding professional education and networking events.
They also host a mini-employment fair a couple times a year. There is a cost to join but at a reduced rate as USMA/WPSA is now
considered an affiliated university.
To join, first create a Login and then Request Membership (the regular rate is $149 (regular HBS Alumni pay $99).
3.0 Founder’s Day set new records
Our 2019 Founders Day Dinner (FDD) produced the highest attendance within the last eight years. Thanks to Kerry McNair ‘84, we were able to have the USMA Superintendent, LTG Darryl Williams ‘83, speak at our Dinner. We did conduct a survey of the event and the results are below.
The venue at Capital City Club has been most gracious with us: they waive fees, allow free valet parking and are a joy to work with. If we were to replicate FDD at another fine venue in Atlanta, you can guarantee that tickets would be 125-$150 per person which means we are saving attendees at least $40-$65 per person based on current ticket prices.
Our Silent Auction did very well too! This year we co-located it on the main floor as Benny Havens hour and it resulted in more guests being able to view the items on display. We also managed to sell dozens of bottles of our wine label – the Long Gray Vine (flavors in Pinot or Italian White).
4.0 Army vs Georgia State Football game – 19 Oct 2019
We are super excited about Army coming to Atlanta in October. At time of this writing, we already have 800 paid RSVPs for the tailgate and over 1100 game tickets purchased. We made a decision to subsidize ticket prices so more can attend; this means that we need to find Sponsors willing to support the tailgate financially. If you or someone you know can sponsor the Tailgate, please email Samir Patel ‘08 or call 404-723-8410.
5.0 Membership is growing
130 dues paying members. 135 Lifetime Members.
● Please consider marking your calendars every January to pay WPSA dues. Dues are important because it helps provide resources to plan the events we organize every year. It also covers our part-time salaried Executive Director who keeps our organization moving forward each month.
● Please note, Dues Membership is based on calendar year while WPSA operates on a July to June fiscal year. Please contact Jan Heath if you have questions about Dues.
● 2019 Current Dues:
○ Active Duty: $20
○ Graduate: $35
○ Lifetime (one time fee): $450
○ Surviving Spouse of a Grad: Free Lifetime Membership
6.0 Other Important Events — Mark your Calendars!
Northside ATL (Vinings, Sandy Springs) – 3rd Thurs of each month organized by Alex Mikstas ‘09
Southside ATL (Peachtree City) – Last Friday of each month organized by Jack Smith ‘81
Governors Send Off – 20 June 2019 organized by Bill Basnett ‘86 and Ken Konstanzer ‘89
Top Golf Challenge – 22 August 2019 organized by Dave Houston ‘86 and Jim Duncan ‘95
LEADS (Leadership, Ethics, Diversity) Conference – 18 Oct 2019 organized by Eddie Williams ‘81
Fall Family Picnic – 09 Nov 2019 hosted by Mike/ Bette-Rose Bowers ‘63 and Dave Jacoppo ‘86
Service Academy Ball – 22 Dec 2019 hosted by the GA Air Force Parents Club.
7.0 Future of WPSA — Need Volunteers!
We have the amazing Jan Heath who serves as our Executive Director who helps manage the chaos. However, WPSA is only as strong as it’s volunteers and we are looking for more individuals willing to contribute their time and energy. Please contact Samir Patel ‘08 at 404-723-8410 or at if you are interested in joining the Board or can volunteer some time on a
project by project basis.
8.0 John R Petty Foundation — Our Charitable Arm supporting Veteran Causes
WPSA’s affiliated charity – the John R Petty Foundation supports various veteran related initiatives. We routinely sponsor a table (approx $2,500) at well regarded charities such as the Veteran’s Empowerment Organization (which takes care of homeless veterans) and the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund (providing college
scholarships to children of fallen service-members). The Foundation provided approximately $4,200 in total contributions in 2018-2019.
There are multiple ways to support the mission of JRPF:
1) Buy our very own high quality wine! “ The Long Gray Vine” (both in Pinot Noir and Italian White varieties).
Email Dale Hajost ‘82 at . $40 per bottle.
2) Sign up for Amazon.com’s SMILE program (a portion of your Amazon purchase will go back to JRPF).Click Here to automatically enroll by logging into your Amazon.com account.
3) Donate directly: Click Here
If you would like the Foundation to make a donation to a military or veteran centric cause, please contact Dale Hajost ‘82 at . There is a form to fill out and the Board will vote on approval to disburse funds.