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2006 IRTA Awards Banquet Presentation

(The following commentary was provided by Krista Vardabash,
Executive Director of the International Reciprocal Trade Association.)

Speaker Recognition - Learning from each other is a fundamental benefit of IRTA membership. The “IRTA U” theme, the speakers, and their presentation topics for this year’s Barter Congress were selected with this in mind.

We would like to recognize and thank four invited speakers who presented...Mr. Thomas Greco who opened our event on Friday morning, Loren Murfield of Murfield International, Sean Maxwell of Max Your Biz, and James Marshall from Sandler Sales Institute.

Peers who participated in our panel discussions and presentations to bring us insights and information on valuable topics were Richard Logie, Lois Dale, Dave Wallach, Bob Meyer, Harold Rice, Sirri Simsek, Paul Suplizio, Steve Webster, Don Mardak, and Ron Whitney.

The Barter Ambassador Award is given to those members who have made an extra effort to introduce new members to IRTA. They are Reiner Husemann, Harold Rice and Lois Dale.

The Certified Trade Broker Program has been a cornerstone of IRTA training and education. The four CTB candidates this year are: Joe Lopez from Private Currency Exchange in Hawaii, Natalie Ladd from The TradeExchange in Maine, Jonathan Sanborn from Florida Barter in Orlando, and Myles Webster from Alliance Barter in New York.

IRTA thanks Steve Webster (Alliance Barter) and Steve Acerra (Florida Barter) for their dedication, and time spent at this convention training and testing for the CTB program.

Individual Event Sponsors were Bob Bagga (BizExchange) for sponsoring the Friday Night Dinner, Don Mardak (IMS) for sponsoring the IRTA “U” Library/Internet Café, and Richard Logie (GETS) for sponsoring the Thursday Movie Matinee and our Keynote Speaker on Friday.

IRTA’s Highest Sponsorship our Platinum Sponsor for the second consecutive year is Sirri Simsek from Turk Barter. Our Bronze Sponsor was Casey and Kerry DesHotels from Instatrade.

The Paul St. Martin Distinguished Service Award - Many of us remember Paul St. Martin as a person who stood as a shining example of selfless contribution of his time and talents to benefit the industry. It is this quality that embodies the Distinguished Service Award.

Even though Paul left us in 2002, we still remember him for the many times when he went above and beyond the call of duty in service to IRTA. Therefore this award has been appropriately named “The Paul St. Martin Distinguished Service Award.”

Tonight we will honor three special people who exemplify this type of commitment and service to IRTA:

Therecia Venema from TradeXchange NL in the Netherlands. She came to the IRTA Europe Chapter like a breath of fresh air and with incredible energy. Unintimidated by her newness, she signed on to be the chapter secretary, worked to make UC a valued currency with her peers in Europe.

And as if that were not enough, Therecia stepped-up to host the 2006 European Meeting in May of this year. For those of you who have hosted these events, you know that this is a labor of love and time. Therecia functioned as an interpreter, too!

Ron Whitney from Barter Network in Chadds Ford (PA). One of my first conversations with Ron was after the IRTA 2005 conference. He wasn’t a member of IRTA and hadn’t attended, but he heard that we had an official from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) as a presenter to our group.

Since then, Ron has been our liaison with the IRS Partnership Outreach. This past year, IRTA was extended an invitation to a reception in Washington (DC) to meet. Ron traveled on his own time to the event with an appeal about B Notice filing. Because of his attendance, he was encouraged to apply to serve on an advisory panel called IRPAC.

Gary Fisher, from Capital Barter Bank in England, could not be here since his son is battling cancer. Despite this very trying year, Gary brought to IRTA an idea and a plan. The idea was to combat the unauthorized use of the IRTA logo.

His idea was to create a Certifiable Logo Program that would verify the IRTA logo on a member’s web site. Gary and his programmer built a program that works in conjunction with IRTA’s member database; it launched in April of this year.

The program recognizes members in good standing, so when the IRTA logo is displayed on their web site a certificate of good standing also appears. It can be found on many of our members’ sites and has received wonderful feed-back.

The IRTA Outstanding Achievement Award honors individuals in the barter industry who have demonstrated an outstanding, positive impact on the barter industry through achievement in management techniques, education, client services, and marketing/sales.

Please help us recognize one individual whose leadership, creativity and courage to take risks, helped to move our industry forward...Dr. Lee Oi Kum from BarterXchange in Singapore.

Dr. Lee came to IRTA with incredible energy, plus passion to learn and to teach. I met her for the first time at the 2005 NATE meeting in Atlanta (GA).

Since that time, Dr. Lee has expressed relentless energy to further the barter industry in Singapore and now in China. In addition to leading an effort to create an IRTA Asia chapter, BarterXchange Singapore will be present at the Global Entropolis in Singapore next month. Why is this significant?

Well, the Global Entropolis Singapore is not your average event. It is billed as the international marketplace for the exchange of funds, enterprise, innovation and technology, where over 10,000 of the best and most enterprising from the international business community converge. Chief executives, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs work synergistically together over three days exploring ideas, innovations, and networks for enterprises to thrive, expand and grow.

In 2004, its second year, this forum boasted over $500 million in funds for projects and investments. As you might guess, not just anyone is invited. However, BarterXchange was selected to participate in 2005 at the Global Entropolis, and they have been invited back this year because of their display of professionalism, innovation and forward-thinking.

I am also pleased to share that this year, BarterXchange has asked that IRTA be there with them to help present the barter concept as a global financial solution for businesses. So IRTA will have two representatives at this event, thanks to BarterXchange Singapore.

Therefore, this award is given to BarterXchange for their achievement in positioning and marketing the barter exchange solution to such an enormous and positive way through Asia, and for providing IRTA with a platform to educate businesses on what to look for when considering this valuable solution.