Brad Cottrell

Chester A. Massey Distinguished Service Award

January 26, 2024

Brad Cottrell had been involved with SANP long before I became a member in 2007. He was leading field events for SANP. While I was not able to attend his field events due to my work schedule, he shared his field events documentation and notes with me when I started leading field events. Brad has been like Ron. Over the years he has stepped up and handled whatever task was assigned to him. Brad has stayed active with the club doing whatever was requested of him. Brad's (and Ron McConathy’s) work and leadership have been especially valuable to SANP since COVID.

What most SANP members do not know is how bad our club was with the organization, with memberships, with dues, with our IRS, and our state charter. While we had a lot of money in the bank our organization part of the club had fallen apart. Most members were unaware because there was no transparency with the Board or Club Members.

Brad stepped up as membership chairman and took over a paper system that was totally inadequate and not current. Our membership was in the low 90s when he took over as membership chairman. Brad started greeting people at club meetings. He started getting the membership roll up to date. That was not an easy task. Brad has tried to encourage the club membership to become more diversified.

Brad knew how the club operated and that change was not something easy to accomplish with SANP as the resistance to change had resulted in the decline of club membership. Brad had an idea. An idea so outrageous for SANP, that I was shocked that he managed to get the Board to agree to the idea. Brad approached the Board members individually and convinced them to support his idea for Wild Apricot. Brad along with Sharon McConathy managed to put together one of the best websites for any photography club. This accomplishment might not seem that great, but it is one of the turning points for SANP. There have been a lot of ideas over the years that never got presented to the Board because members were told to go through the President.

There have been Salon directors who gave up after a year or two of trying to suggest changes to the Salon because they were told the Board said no to ideas that had limited cost.

Brad has served as system administrator for Wild Apricot and while he has handed off those duties, he is still the de facto system administrator. He has spent considerable time making sure that various aspects of Wild Apricot work as they should for SANP. He has set up the online registration for the Salon which has been very beneficial and eliminating waiting to see if a check was really in the mail. He has set up the online payment of dues, so a member no longer must question the status of their membership. Membership has increased to the highest level ever for the club.

Brad has set up a page for the Lightroom workshop, that not only collects the payment when someone registers but it allows those registering to select their lunch option.

Brad has been active in several other aspects of the club, from serving on various committees and being a valuable asset to assisting on those committees to reaching out and encouraging members to become involved with SANP. Brad has assisted with the Salons from preparing scoresheets and assisting with making sure all the details are covered to assisting on the digital and print side of the salons. Brad assisted with making sure the first online Zoom salon worked, and was instrumental in acquiring a grant from Microsoft to replace Zoom with Teams and Microsoft Office 365.

Brad has worked behind the scenes by reaching out and asking members to take on various roles in SANP. Brad doesn't hesitate to ask someone to become involved or be active with the club. He has followed up with new contacts in the club to encourage them to join. This past salon Brad made sure that we had all the details covered. For the last two print salons he has laid out a plan to make the most efficient use of the panels for hanging prints so that all the prints are displayed on the panels. Brad is willing to share his photography knowledge with others, but his organizational skills have been exceptional and what SANP needed. Brad and Sharon Cottrell have cleaned up many of the administrative issues that had lapsed when they took an active role in getting the club's paperwork straightened out. Several club members do not understand why we have an Oak Ridge mailing address when we have always met in Knoxville. What they do not realize is how much work and effort has gone into making the club more organized, more efficient, and more transparent. The Massey Award is an idea that Brad had because he thought the club should start recognizing members who have contributed to advancing the club. Having been aware of the situation of the club in previous years, and the positive changes that have occurred in the last four years, especially during COVID, Brad has contributed far more than most will ever know or grasp. He has helped put SANP on a positive path of growth and transparency. He has stepped up and used his leadership and knowledge to benefit SANP.


Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, located near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. 
Mailing address: SANP, 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Ste 107A/231, Oak Ridge, TN 37830

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