AAGL in the 2000’s- Transition and Expansion
In 2000, Dr. Jordan M. Phillips, the Founder of the AAGL and its Chairman of the Board for 26 years since its inception, shared with me that he had decided to retire. Shocked doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. As President of the AAGL that year, I, and everyone who had preceded me, had depended on Dr. Phillips to help with organizational decisions, to run the administrative office, to deal with societal politics and to reach out to the many organizations in other countries who were newly interested in affiliating with the AAGL. Now, what were we going to do?
I immediately called Dr. Jay Cooper in Phoenix, our Vice-President, and my good friend. Other than “what are we going to do now??,” we were speechless.
We identified that Linda Michels, who had worked closely for Dr. Phillips for many years, and Dr. Franklin Loffer, whose medical expertise was well respected among our membership, were experienced in collaborating well together and could make an excellent team. With their combined skill sets, they were able to fill the enormous void left by Dr. Phillips. Linda’s expertise in managing the day-to-day operations of the AAGL and her diplomacy made her an excellent choice to serve as Executive Director. Frank agreed to lend his business acumen and insight on expanding the future of MIGS to the role of Executive Vice President/Medical Director.
Frank started visiting the AAGL office in California, regularly, and with the amazing partnership of Linda Michels, they re-structured the AAGL by purchasing a brand-new office building, enlarging the staff, and working strategically to develop new and exciting programs and benefits for our members. Their dedicated efforts to establish sound business policies, and fiscal practices, resulted in strong financial growth which continues to this day.
It is hard to imagine the AAGL being where it is now without the guidance of Linda Michels and Frank Loffer. They expanded our international relationships, fostered many new programs and helped the AAGL grow from about 2,000 members to the 7,000 we have now.
Of all the ideas, programs, and decisions that passed through the Board as I served as both a Board Member and an Officer, this is what stands out in big letters…THANK YOU, LINDA! THANK YOU, FRANK!