At the 2019 AGM held in Mornington, Phil Johnson #14255 was awarded Dearnley Medal 65, and this was the submission for the award.
Phil joined the Ulysses Club in December 1997 and associated himself with the Coffs Coast Branch where he enjoyed participating in Branch rides and social activities of the Branch. Over a number of years Phil used his office and administration skills to produce the local branch newsletter. Both Phil and his wife Fay enjoyed motorcycle rides and soon became addicted to weekend, branch camp-overs as well as long-haul rides to the annual AGM Events.
This interest encouraged Phil to lead the team as both Director and Treasurer for the Club’s largest ever gathering of members, the 2007 AGM Event in Coffs Harbour. This was at the height of the Club’s membership boom and it attracted more than 6,000 registrants. Phil’s accounting and management skills came to the fore as registration numbers grew and grew during the preceding months, and the Event team had to constantly change and revise the infrastructure requirements. Who could forget the imposing sight of the largest Hoecker the Club has ever hired or all of the traders and infrastructure facilities that were in place at the Coffs Harbour Showground?
During this event, Phil maintained an exceptional level of financial control and set the yardstick in budget requirements for future AGM Events. As well as fiscal control, Phil also managed liaison with the local Council and Local Authorities for all of the legislative and compliance requirements. Whenever AGM Events and Rallies are spoken about, many members comment on how great the 2007 event was and most pleasing to hear, how it inspired them to attend future AGM Events. The 2007 AGM Event also won a New South Wales Tourism Award and was nominated for an Australian Tourism Award. It is recognised that this event put the Ulysses Club on the map as a social club for motorcyclists who hold large events that can deliver huge economic benefits to the areas where they were held. Consequently, local Councils and tourism authorities still vie for the right to hold a Ulysses Club AGM Event in their area.
Soon after the 2007 AGM Event, Phil & Fay moved to Grafton where they established their connections with the Clarence Valley Branch and again, became active members there. Never one to rest on his laurels, in 2010 Phil jumped at the offer to become Event Treasurer for the 2013 Fraser Coast AGM Event which was to be held in Maryborough, Queensland. As people may not know, these commitments cover several years of planning and pre-event meetings as well as weeks of work at the actual event. During the years leading up to 2013, Phil & Fay frequently hitched their caravan to the car and made the 1400km round trip from Grafton to Queensland to assist with event planning.
When the event finally arrived, Phil’s detailed planning and fiscal skills again came to the fore with tight budgeting and exceptional expenditure control. In fact, Phil’s cost estimates were so accurate, that the difference between income to expenditure in a ¾ of a million dollar budget, balanced within $1000.
Another of Phil’s key achievements at this event was his development of a bar management system which set a precedent for future AGM Events. For the first time, members were able to purchase drinks at low prices, while providing a significant income stream back to the event. In turn, this allowed member registration fees to be lowered while local service clubs also benefited via cash donations for their work during the event.
Immediately after the 2013 event had finished, Phil put pen to paper and provided detailed analyses of many of the ideas he had implemented at Maryborough. It was this paper that ultimately led to the redevelopment and simplification of the Club’s AGM Event manual.
Another of Phil’s initiatives was the development of a financial estimating system for AGM Events. This system became the NatCom-approved budgeting model used by prospective branches bidding to host future AGM Events.
Phil no longer rides a motorcycle but is still a proud member of the Ulysses Club. He remains very active in the Ulysses RV Group where he was Treasurer for several years, and he still campaigns strongly as an advocate for the Ulysses Club within this group.
The National Committee congratulates Phil and thanks him for his service