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Nershi to Leave SIOP With Great Memories and Long List of Accomplishments


by Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public Relations

Dave Nershi, who has played a key role in SIOP’s growth the past 11 years, has announced he will retire from his Executive Director position effective May 1, 2017.

During his tenure, SIOP’s membership has grown to more than 8,000 members, conferences have become bigger and better, and services to members have been expanded in a flurry of technological innovations.

“It’s been an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding 11 years. I’ve been fortunate to work with some outstanding individuals. It’s been positive from the start,” Nershi said.

“When I step down in May 2017, I will have served 12 years as Executive Director. I’ll leave with deep gratitude and many friendships. The forecast for SIOP is bright. Thanks to the support of members, staff and volunteer leaders, we have accomplished a long list of goals and critical issues to move SIOP to the next level of success,” he added.

“Dave has been a phenomenally valuable asset to SIOP over the course of his tenure of service to our organization,” said SIOP President Steve Kozlowski.

“He has honed the SIOP Administrative Office and staff to effectively manage a wide range of services provided to our members. He guides the development of consistently amazing Annual Conferences and Leading Edge Consortia and he has provided deep institutional memory and exceptional support to SIOP Presidents and the Executive Board. He will be sorely missed,” Kozlowski said.

When he joined SIOP in March of 2005, Nershi brought with him 24 years experience in association management and a blend of administrative, innovative and communications skills.

He was challenged to use those skills early when then president-elect Leaetta Hough asked Nershi to launch a new major meeting within the next six months. The result was the inaugural Leading Edge Consortium, which has now become a successful annual event.

To former SIOP President Gary Latham Nershi’s ability to pull together the LEC became what successive SIOP presidents quickly learned. “No task too small, no task too big. He became a terrific advisor,” he said.

Tammy Allen, who led SIOP in 2013-14, recalls her first encounter with Nershi at the 2005 conference registration desk. He was stuffing conference bags. “That would be indicative of Dave during his tenure as Executive Director: always pitching in and helping with every aspect of the SIOP operation,” she said.

“Under Dave’s leadership SIOP has grown and prospered. His dedication and innovation have enabled the Society to provide a broader array of services to members. Thanks to Dave, SIOP is known as an outstanding organization, one that other professional societies aspire to model,” she said.

Nershi was particularly effective working with SIOP presidents, said Kurt Kraiger, who held the office in 2009-10. “The Executive Director must work closely with the SIOP president and if you think about the range of personalities of those who have held that position the past 11 years, Dave has shown remarkable ability to mesh with each of us. That says a lot about his managerial skills,” he said.

Nershi said the relationship was successful because presidents and Executive Board members have always been focused on what is best for the organization.

Jose Cortina, SIOP president in 2014-15, was impressed that so much was accomplished for SIOP under Nershi’s leadership. “I decided a couple of years ago that there is not one Dave but several. I don’t know if he cloned himself at some point or if he has several identical twin brothers, but it just isn’t possible for one person to do what Dave has done. Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth. There are multiple Daves. And because we (SIOP) only pay one of them, we are getting quite a bargain,” he said.

Previous to being hired by SIOP, Nershi was Executive Vice President of the National Exchange Club for 10 years and before that was on the executive staff of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Admittedly he did not have an I-O background.  “However, I found I-O psychology to be a fascinating profession and the positive impact it has had on employers and employees was very impressive to me,” he recalled.

Perhaps his greatest impact on SIOP has been the growth of the annual conference, which he called “very exciting.” Conferences now routinely surpass more than 4,000 attendees and are loaded with features that weren’t around in 2005 like the Masters and Junior Faculty consortia, speed mentoring, Friday seminars and Theme Tracks.

Nershi is quick to point out anything that has been accomplished the past 11 years has been the result of staff, volunteers and elected leaders working together.

“I’ve worked with associations for more than 30 years and SIOP has the best volunteers I’ve ever encountered. They are bright, enthusiastic and hard working. Members probably do not realize the time and commitment required to take on some of our positions, like the conference program chair or awards committee chair. They do it because they are dedicated to SIOP and I-O and I cannot say enough good things about them. They (volunteers) are the heart and soul of SIOP,” Nershi said.

The changes have been numerous. “I recall the annual task of printing the member directory. It was outdated as soon as it was printed and costly to mail. We transitioned to an online directory and that was a harbinger of what was done with our other programs.  Major online improvements were seen in conference submissions and reviews. Also, awards and Fellow nominations as well as other member services were moved online. Most of our member programs are now web applications,” he said.

TIP has also moved from a printed and mailed publication to an online version and the Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice journal is now firmly entrenched in SIOP. “These and other changes did not come about easily. It took a tremendous amount of planning and work by dedicated SIOP members,” Nershi said.

He also cited the transformation of conference registration from a process that resembled a Depression-era breadline to a streamlined process using bar codes and scanners that took only seconds.

“The growth of SIOP can be seen in the rebranding effort that exemplifies the value and relevance of our organization as we move into the future. This was accomplished through a well-thought out and rigorous process,” he said.

“With nine administrative office staff, we try to leverage technology to keep up with the needs of our members. We have an outstanding website, which has improved exponentially in the last decade,” he added.

He sees some challenges ahead for SIOP. “As we look forward, SIOP will need to consider its trajectory as an organization. With the growth of our conference, we run the risk of outgrowing many of the facilities we’ve used in the past. How do we accommodate the growth yet keep the warmth and personal interaction that members love about our meetings? As an organization we need to define goals that will help us reach our strategic objectives.”

He mentioned licensure and the potential encroachment of other groups into our domain as issues to be considered.

Kozlowski Announces Steps to Seek Successor to Nershi

Since learning of Dave Nershi’s intentions, SIOP’s senior leadership has established a structure and process to seek a replacement, said President Steve Kozlowski.

An Executive Director Search Steering Committee, consisting of SIOP’s senior leadership, will guide and advise the overall process. Steering Committee members include Kozlowski, Jim Outtz, president elect; Jose Cortina, past president; Scott Tannenbaum, financial officer/secretary, and Fred Oswald, president-elect designate.

In addition a Selection Advisory Committee has been formed to develop and implement the specifics of the search process, including recruitment, applicant assessment procedures, and candidate recommendations to the Steering Committee. Bill Macey, who led the prior ED search, will serve as co-chair with operational responsibility for the committee’s work. Oswald will be the other co-chair and act as a liaison to the Steering Committee.

Other committee members are former SIOP presidents Neal Schmitt, Tammy Allen, Ann Marie Ryan, Nancy Tippins, and Milt Hakel, current president of the SIOP Foundation and also a former president.