TheFutureofUs fmt

november 2013


I am very honored and excited to be the 81st AAMVA Chair of the Board! We had a fantastic and record-setting AIC in Scottsdale, Ariz. in August, and I am looking forward to hosting another first class AIC in Dover, Del. in 2014. In this edition of MOVE, we see many topics addressed that not too long ago were deemed by most to be futuristic. Articles discuss topics such as emerging vehicle technologies—specifically autonomous vehicles—as well as the concepts and reality of electronic identification. This got me thinking about my upcoming year as chair and what my focus should be. I firmly believe our industry has a solid grasp on existing technologies and we do a good job with our forward thinking in this area. We consider technology one of our main resources, and rightly so, as it is an integral part of all of our businesses.

However, what we as motor vehicle and law enforcement agencies are in desperate need of is a new philosophy focused on our own people and our organizations' human capital. Our human capital is the most critical asset we have, and yet it is one that we spend little time and energy cultivating. During my year as chair, I would like us to focus on "the future of us." What I mean by this is that we all are dealing with the changing demographics in our work environments, with baby boomers retiring at a greater rate than we can replace them and causing a major brain drain. Also, our bench strength is normally only one deep in many critical program areas, causing major risks to our operations.

We should and must make succession planning and leadership development a priority. As a professor at Wilmington University, I have the pleasure of teaching leadership development to master's students, and I see the need for both the soft and technical leadership skills often present at all demographic levels. I also believe that we already have some of the most talented individuals in our organizations, and we just need to nurture them and mold them into our future leaders and entice them to remain in our industry.

This is why I have requested that AAMVA senior leadership aggressively pursue the feasibility of creating a Leadership Academy. This academy would be offered to our members and provide our up-and-coming leaders who do not normally attend conferences or workshops an opportunity for exposure to their jurisdictional counterparts and federal partners, as well as our valued industry partners. While I do not know exactly what the program will look like, I hope you all agree with me that it is and should be a primary focus as we move into the future. 


Jennifer Cohan

AAMVA Chair of the Board