of the FIRST YEAR of 


February 1994 to February 1995

Howard Ford, President


In June of 2001, while writing this bit of history, I reflect on the fact that many times I have been reminded of how glad I am that I exerted the effort that helped start CVWA. It is a thrill for me to see how it has grown and to think how it has been beneficial to many people. It is a stable organization and I expect it will continue to help many others in the future. Almost eight years ago we "birthed this baby" something that will continue even after I are gone and it will still have some of the same life that we "breathed" into it many years before. Each year a new president and board of directors adds some new concepts and new vitality to the Association. At this point it knows no end and knows very few limits.

Being your first president and continuing to be an active part of the organization has been a delight to me. The continuing and enlarging the Web Site has also been a contribution that has the potential to live on and serve the members.  I am thankful for the many friends I have in CVWA. You have, in numerous, ways expressed appreciation for my contribution in starting the organization and for being it's first president. I thank you for the respect you have shown me. 


TWO MONTHS OLD: The previous page discusses the first meeting of the Association so we will take up here in the second month and tell you about some of the activities during the first year. There were a number of "Firsts" that year.

First roster:  The first roster for the organization was produced by the president on April 4th 1994 only to discover it was incorrect. CVWA was two months old and the following people appeared on that roster as members at that time, however, there was a mix up in who had paid and who had not paid so not all of these were paid up members at that time but they are listed anyway because that is the way it happened. (This is history). I think they all become "paid up" members. Here are the ones that appeared on that list. 

John Adam, Oscoe DeMagri, John Fisher, Charles Golden, Del Hrabe, Howard Johnson, Brady Andresen, Randy Farwell, Howard Ford, Richard Harmon, Don Johnson, James Jordan, Milton Kretsch, Robert Meinecke, Dennis O'Dowd, Norman Peterson, Joe Shivokevich, Roger Steere, Duane Nightingale, Bradford Ormsby, Ed Ransom, Dan Smith, John Tarpley, Stan Wolpert

Here are the names of the additional people who joined (probably in April,) 
Jim Andrade, Ken Atterholt, Jennie Atwood (our first female,) Gene Strojek

First communication system:  In the April, 1994 meeting we formed a telephone chain for communication purposes and the callers were: Don Johnson in the Simi Valley, Dick Harmon in Thousand Oaks and John Tarpley in Newbury Park. Norm Peterson was soon added to this list. The president served as the starting point of the chain. We immediately started plans for a newsletter which was sent out only as we had adequate amount of information. It took a couple of years before it was sent monthly. Mail and telephone were our main modes of communication. We had no internet web site or email list but there were telephones and postal delivery---w a y  b a c k  t h e n. 

 First advertisement:   The president was providing the Southern California Woodworker, The Star, Ventura Times and Ventura County Cablevision with monthly information about the Organization's meetings.

 First list of merchants who give discounts:   The President arranged for discounts at some of the local Lumber and Tool Supply stores and provided that list to the members. 

First membership cards: That first year the members received a laminated Conejo Valley Woodworkers' Association card. I remember them well. I used a hot iron and cooked the laminate until it became one piece. Does anyone still have theirs?

First Programs and Shop Visits:   The Vice President immediately went to work and had good programs lined up for each meetings. He organized the Saturday shop visits and we were invited to many shops.  

First membership survey: The membership application contained the first survey form for our members. Following are the kinds of items along with some of the results of the survey.

Experience level rated from 1 to 10. At some point during that first year a tally was made on these experience ratings and here are the results.
#1=0 people  #2=2 people; #3=1; #4=2; #5=7; #6=4; #7=4; #8=1; #9=1; #10=1

Willingness to make presentations. Six people were willing to make presentations

When to have the meetings. Thursday night received slightly more votes than Saturday so Thursday nights were it.

Type of programs desired. The types of interest were about the same then as they are now.

First party: Dan Smith and his wife hosted our first Christmas party. We greatly enjoyed a Christmas party at their home in Simi Valley. The party included plenty of food and fellowship as well as a visit to his fine shop and a router demonstration of by Don Johnson.

Portfolio: Roger Steer developed a picture portfolio of the work done by CVWA members. That "scrapbook" is still available in the library.

   By the end of the first fiscal year of CVWA, we had 46 members. We had outgrown the loft at Grandpa's Woodshop and had to move down stairs an get up close and person with Jim's shop machines. Jim Jordan (Grandpa) made a significant contribution to the organization by  providing a free meeting place for us. Howard Johnson and Joe Shivokevich were appoint as a committee of two to search for a new and larger place to meet.

The first year was a very busy one for the president. A lot of things, that are now done by various board members and committees, were done by the president. I enjoyed it and felt sorry to see the end of the year arrive. That sorry, about the end of my presidency, was only exceeded by my thrill to turn it over to Duane Nightingale.

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