To kick off our 25-year celebration, we have a new series celebrating the historic changes that ACE has experienced since its establishment. We interviewed past ACE presidents to ask them what were the highlights in their time as president.

We begin with Nicholas Petryszak, ACE’s President from 1994 -1995.

What I can say about this experience is that it was almost 17 years ago. As such, I remember very little. The following is what I do remember. At that time I was Director of Co-op and Regional Chair for the Peace River Region at UNBC. In this capacity I brought to the ACE Board a distinctive perspective as an ACE member from outside of the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island. The interaction with other Board members made me realize that the Board and the ACE membership overall is made up a diverse set of interests, talents and regions. As a Board member I came to realize that our job was to demonstrate sensitivity and support to the diversity of needs of our members. This I remember then and now

What I also remember is the comradery we enjoyed on the ACE Board at that time. ACE then was still in its formative years. There was policies, procedures and goals which needed to be defined and implemented. This we did as a Board with humour and good will. As part of the process of defining who we were and what we should be doing, I learned an important lesson which I have retained to this day. The lesson was simple-that is one of the purposes of the Board and its president should be to support, facilitate and help provide professional development growth opportunities for its members. These opportunities could include such things as conferences, guest speakers and other venues that provide ways of sharing best practices and professional knowledge.

A final common theme which I remember that we examined and discussed on the Board was co-op jobs for students at a time when the economy was challenged. I am sure this has been, is, and will be a common topic of discussion for all Board members. In this context I learned that one of the roles of the president and the Board was to identify, promote and secure more job opportunities for our co-op students for all the co-op programs that the Board represents. After all, the final goal of co-op and its practitioners is the success of our students.

In summary, what I learned then as president was to respect the diversity of our membership, the need to promote professional development opportunities for our members and to facilitate co-op job creation for our students. These were great lessons to learn and I remember them well. Thanks for the opportunity of serving.

Thank you Nick for all you have done for Co-op!