Society of American Military Engineers
“They become a part of your organization….”
With America’s ongoing concern about national security and cyber security, the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) plays a critical role in helping to identify and resolve security and infrastructure-related challenges. Founded in 1920 and based in Old Town Alexandria, Va., SAME is a collaborative effort of more than 30,000 military and civilian individuals in the public and private sectors in such fields as architecture, engineering, construction, environmental and facility management, cyber security, project planning, contracting, and related disciplines. SAME offers extensive opportunities for networking and professional training and development. With 102 posts and more than 50 student chapters and field chapters around the world, SAME has grown dramatically from an organization formed in the shadow of World War I into the premier engineering association bridging public and private sector professionals to strengthen America’s security. Over nearly a century of service, SAME members have been at the forefront of such engineering accomplishments as the development of nuclear energy, the successes of World War II, the national highway system, space exploration, environmental stewardship, humanitarian response to global disasters, and America’s water, sanitation and public health infrastructure.
When retired Brig. Gen. Joe Schroedel took over as Executive Director in 2014, SAME was facing a crossroads in its long history. SAME’s national presidents since its inception had always been the active-duty Chiefs of Engineers of the Army, Air Force and Navy, and the presidents of each of the posts were active duty officers as well. But in 2011, ethics lawyers at the Department of Defense determined that that system had to change. Meanwhile, SAME had operated largely like a military club, but the organization’s purpose had always been to facilitate relationships between the uniformed services and the private sector – which comprised 78% of the membership. Now, for the first time, SAME had to consider such issues as succession planning, business development, professional development, and the establishment of a charitable foundation to administer over $1 million in annual scholarships that help develop the nation’s future engineers.
Concurrently, SAME’s finance director announced that she would be leaving the organization shortly. “I didn’t want to just pick the first finance director I could find,” says Schroedel. “I wanted someone who could help us operate in a focused way and fix some financial issues near-term but who shared our broader vision as we took the organization in a different direction. So I took a deliberate approach of getting some part-time help until I could determine what we needed.”
The outgoing finance director knew YPTC’s Hatsy Cutshall, who in turn brought in Associate Melissa McGuire. “Melissa immediately understood what I needed,” he says. “She came in and filled the void on our day-to-day operations and helped us put together a work plan and a strategic plan to get us into the 21st Century. She advised me on hiring the right person for the finance director position and helped lay down the pieces to create the foundation. We reset the whole finance department and I couldn’t be in a better position.”
“I think the world of this outfit,” he says. “YPTC not only gave me the time to be patient in finding the right financial manager, but led us at the same time. They’re not only helping us to fix problems but they’re helping our organization move forward with a broader vision.”
Schroedel also underscores YPTC’s integrity and honesty. “It didn’t take me long to see that they’re absolutely beyond reproach. I respect their advice and judgment. They become a part of your organization and they own it. It’s no different than having a loyal full-time employee. You definitely get more than you pay for.”
YPTC continues today with a strong relationship with SAME, serving the needs of the financial director that Schroedel hired. Of note, the SAME financial director doubles as SAME’s CFO and COO and was recently selected as the Nonprofit Association CFO of the Year by Association Trends.