PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter
PMWT: Were you involved in the founding of the West Coast BC chapter of PMI? How did that come about?
Max: Actually, I was the founding chapter president of the West Coast BC Chapter of PMI that was launched in 1979. Following a very brief period of true independence, the name was changed to PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter. An excerpt from our first published Annual Report for the year 1983-84 reads as follows:
"History of West Coast BC Chapter
It was at the October 1978 PMI Seminar-Symposium in Anaheim, California that a group of delegates from British Columbia first met to discuss the formation of a local chapter. Following this meeting R. Max Wideman obtained a list of PMI members in British Columbia and adjoining regions of the U.S. Additional names were canvassed from business associates and, in February and March 1979, a letter went out to 150 persons to solicit their interest in forming a British Columbia Chapter. There was a strong response to the mailing. On 29 May 1979, a first meeting was held with those persons who had offered to serve on a steering committee.
The steering committee met twice more through the summer. Its efforts culminated in a successful inaugural meeting on 12 September 1979 with 52 persons attending the meeting in the University of British Columbia Graduate Student Centre. The meeting approved the intention to form a Chapter and accepted the constitution and bylaws. A Board of Directors was elected from those who served on the steering committee. Max Wideman was selected to be president.
A formal application for a charter was submitted to the PMI Board of Directors on 28 September 1979. At the Board's meeting of 18 October 1979, in Atlanta, the charter was granted. The Chapter was given the name "West Coast B.C." to distinguish it from U.S. West Coast Groups."
The chapter has had an interesting, if checkered, history. For a short while, it was even independent of PMI. This was due to various differences of opinion and how the relationship was handled resulting in a strong feeling that there should be a national Canadian project management organization. However, subsequent Chapter Boards became uncomfortable with not being an accepted part of PMI and buckled down under PMI's control requirements.
Many strong leaders have been a part of the development of the chapter in its 28 years of existence, too many to mention by name for fear of missing those whom I might have overlooked. Suffice it to say that in helping to formulate the basis of the Chapter, it was always my intention to "move on" as soon as possible to give others a chance to continue paving the way to the future.
In doing so, the most satisfying experience for me has been to see how people have come forward and blossomed in their careers as a result of taking on the responsibilities of president and Board membership. I believe that this is because of the opportunity to fly ideas, having to convince peers of those ideas, and experiencing the stress of facing public audiences - all without fear of "messing up" and risking the wrath of an employer.
By the way, that excerpt I quoted above was not written by me!