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Time for a Change

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  • Board of Governors
Don Desfosse
This post was recognized by Don Desfosse!

Gunnar Lindahl was awarded 100 points.

Dear All,

As my second 2-year term serving as VATSIM’s President ends, I am writing to inform you that I will not be seeking a third term as VATSIM’s President.  After four years of serving in in this role, I have decided to allow another member of the Board of Governors to take the reins and keep VATSIM moving forward.

I joined this great community 15 years ago and it has been a massive part of my life ever since. I was honoured to be able to serve on the Board of Governors since 2014 and have enjoyed being a small part of bringing positive changes to VATSIM. Thousands of our volunteer members, driven by the same desire to make VATSIM a better place have brought us long needed changes such as Audio for VATSIM, the New Member Orientation course and knowledge check, a modern Code of Conduct, backend technology changes, and many other positive improvements to VATSIM.

I want to thank all our volunteer members who dedicate their time developing, controlling, training, supervising, flying, or otherwise supporting VATSIM. We are still within one of the most challenging transition periods we have seen in VATSIM’s history with a 40% increase in membership over the last few years to the pandemic as well as release of a new simulation platform that brought flight simulation to a whole new market.  You have risen to the challenge even when faced with the enormous real-world pressures that our current reality has put on our daily lives.

As I step back from the role of VATSIM’s President, I have two reflections from my time in the position. Firstly, VATSIM is unique as it is a community that is large enough to be seen by many as a place that should be hugely efficient in delivering new features. The reality is that we are a volunteer organization which will always be driven by the productive output of our volunteers.  We must drive better development by engaging with our members to contribute instead of being a closed shop.

In the past few years, we have made great strides here by encouraging our volunteer developers by opening our traditionally closed development process and actively inviting people to help improve VATSIM. We have further to go, and I urge us all to continue to embrace the idea of member-driven input whist appreciating that because we are so big, we must set a clear direction of how we as members can contribute.

Secondly, we must all remember that we are on the same team and truly have the same end goal. We all want VATSIM to succeed and be the best online aviation community in the world.  We may have differed and passionate opinions on how we get to that goal, but it is through open and honest communication that we reach this goal. Too many times, we have had disputes via email or discord text which have driven wedges into our communities, causing irreparable harm or destroying our communities, when a voice conversation where everyone can be heard has resolved the dispute. I have personally spent many hours resolving such disputes.

The amount of time we spend on these disputes could be better used to bring positive changes to the community. So, I challenge all of us to channel our passions and instead of doing nothing, build constructive relationships, especially when disagreements arise!

I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for VATSIM and excited to see Tim move into the role of President. He has served in his various positions on the Board of Governors fabulously and is a huge advocate for building on the success of this great community.

Finally, I would like to again thank everyone who has supported VATSIM and myself over the years, especially my colleagues on the BoG and Founders who have been a source of guidance and support during my tenure as VATSIM’s President.

My greatest thanks of all are to the behind-the-scenes volunteers performing the thankless jobs which keep VATSIM running; our division staff and their local volunteers, as well as our membership managers, supervisors, and technical teams who respond around the clock to technical hiccoughs and relentlessly pursue improvements to our infrastructure. We truly could not do it without all of you.

I look forward to seeing you on the network.



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