By Randall Flick, MD, MPH, FAAP
As I write this message we are in the doldrums of winter. The holidays are over and for those of us in the North; the coldest weeks of winter are still ahead. All is not lost as we have the Winter Meeting in Phoenix to look forward to.
The meeting program all set and looks fantastic but I will let Peggy McNaull and her team provide the details. Peggy, Melissa Brooks, Tarun Bhalla, Rita Agarwal, Titilopema Aina, Robert Bryskin and Eliot Grigg have done a great job with program and the entertainment. Stewart, Kim and the Ruggles staff have done an equally wonderful job ensuring that the meeting goes off without a hitch.
This is a great opportunity for me, as president, to take a moment to highlight the partnership that has existed between the Society and Ruggles for nearly 25 years.
Ruggles Service Corporation was born in 1974 when John Hinckley, a banker, took a risk and changed careers to assume management of the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists (VSA) and soon after, both the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) and the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA) also partnered with Ruggles. Within 10 years, two of the Hinckley children, Heather and Stewart, joined the rapidly growing organization to work with their dad.
Fast forward to 1993, at the SCA’s Annual Meeting in Montreal, SPA President-elect Dr. William Greeley asked Stewart Hinckley, then Director of Meetings and Conventions, if Ruggles would consider organizing and managing a new joint meeting of the SPA and the AAP Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. That 1995 meeting in Phoenix was the first Winter Meeting and had approximately 200 registrants. Two years later the SPA, which was being managed by the ASA, partnered with Ruggles for full association management. This meeting now attracts more than 1,000 registrants.
Today, Ruggles is owned by Stewart Hinckley, has a staff of 25 and manages 15 medical societies including the SPA, CCAS and SPPM. More than half of the Ruggles staff members are involved with the SPA operations in some way. Ms. Kim Battle is the Association Manager and team leader. Her team members include Matt Carpenter and Teri Allanson (meeting planning), Dana Gibson (exhibits), Ray Hall (graphic design), Chris Catlett (database), Greg Leasure and Julie Hitt (membership), Daniel Gainyard (technology), Wes Smith and Matt Martin (web development), Ken Tweedy and Kimberly Robertson (finance), Bob Specht and Liz McNamara (administration), and Stewart Hinckley (executive director).
People often ask Stewart about the name “Ruggles”. It actually comes from Ruggles Road, which is where the Hinckley’s lived in Richmond, VA. John also believed strongly that the word “service” should be in the company’s name. “We don’t make widgets and we don’t have inventory. Service is all that we do,” said John.
The Society owes a great deal to John, Stewart, Heather, Kim and the entire Ruggles team. Please take a moment to thank them in Phoenix.