2020 TAS AWARDS
Respectfully submitted by the Awards Committee:
Alan Skinner, Chair
Having missed last year’s annual meeting due to open heart surgery, I was looking forward to this year’s meeting in Houston. That was not to be the case, but the committee received a strong set of nominations for three of our award categories and the Board approved the following TAS members for those awards.
Distinguished Service Award
TAS is awarding two Distinguished Service awards this year. The first goes to a guy who Alan first met as an avocational archaeologist in the early seventies in conjunction with Lake Fork Reservoir. Not happy with being a recognized local East Texas archeological authority and a skilled plumber, he joined our field crew and then worked at Lake Ray Roberts with North Texas State University. Ultimately, he was grandfathered into the Society of Professional Archeologists which is now the Register of Professional Archaeologists. In time he became a US Forest Service archeologist and then the Texas General Land Office archeologist. As a forward thinker, he established the TAS website as it is known today. Based on these experiences the TAS awards the Distinguished Service Award to Bob Skiles for his major contributions to furthering Texas archeology.
Golden Pen Award
The Golden Pen Award is being given to a member of the Hill Country Archeological Association (HCAA) because of the impressive list of publications which he has personally produced, edited, and published. His qualifications are so good and the nominator’s letter so thorough, that the letter was reproduced by the supporting nominees who added their individual street addresses and sent them separately. But no joke, John Benedict of Kerrville has three articles on the HCAA website where he and Sharon are webmasters and he has also published with other HCAA members articles on prehistoric and historic sites in “Ancient Echoes”, the HCAA journal. He is also assisting the Texas Historical Commission by locating “lost cemeteries” in the hill country. Keep up the work John and thank you for being an important part of TAS.
Distinguished Service Award
The second award goes to a TAS member most everyone knows since he spends his days, and nights, sending out emails and no doubt uses other means of social communication which are not known to the chairman. He was a member of what was formerly known as the Tarrant County Archeological Society before he left town for a cushy government job, although he would probably tell you it wasn’t cushy and was decidedly stressful. The TAS is lucky he retired to the DFW area and innocently agreed to be the TAS President in 2020 which he foresaw as a year with the major challenge of balancing the budget along with hosting a TAS fieldschool in Kerrville and an annual meeting in Houston. He struck out in the last two but served to carry TAS through the most tumultuous year in the twenty first century. This year a Distinguished Service award is being presented to James Everett who was helped and supported this year and always by his wonderful wife Susan.
TAS Fellow of the Society
The nominee was editor of the Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society (BTAS) for a couple of years and this was a task since he worked extensively in the far reaches of West Texas and New Mexico. With that in mind, he has been involved with hundreds of archaeological studies in the Mogollon area of New Mexico and Texas and has published dozens of related reports and articles. His writings have been included in the BTAS as well as in regional and national journals. In closing, I want to quote from a short section from a support letter. The nominee is “…unfailingly kind. He is willing to speak with the newest recruit to the Society or to the beginning graduate student. He is also willing to share his work or advise others about relevant archeological work being done in Texas or beyond. When [he] speaks, gives a talk, or publishes, people pay attention because what he says is worth knowing. These are the qualities that I believe a Fellow of the Texas Archeological Society should reflect.” The 2020 Fellow Award is presented to Myles Miller.
2020 TAS PRESIDENT'S AWARDS
James Everett, TAS President
The President’s Extraordinary Service Award is “awarded by the President to
recognize…those who provided special assistance with new initiatives or helped meet unique needs.” This year has certainly been a unique year requiring many new initiatives and approaches, so I am recognizing 5 individuals and an organization with President’s Awards (plus a Special Thank You, below):
HAS, under the leadership of Linda Gorski and Larry Golden, had prepared for an outstanding, exciting 2020 Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, in February, the hotel reneged on the contract they had signed a year earlier. HAS was forced to change the dates for the Annual Meeting, but negotiated significant concessions from the hotel in the process. Then, Covid-19 caused the cancellation of this year’s Annual Meeting. To help offset the projected $18,000 budget deficit that resulted from the cancellation of so many TAS events in 2020, Linda and Larry implemented an eBay auction that generated money to replace over 1/3 of the projected deficit. An anonymous donor matched the first $6,000 raised by the auction, so HAS’s support resulted in well over $12,000 to offset the deficit. This year would have been much more difficult for TAS and for me had it not been for Linda, Larry, and HAS.
Linda Gorski, Larry Golden, and the Houston Archeological Society (HAS)
In early 2019, Bonnie agreed to serve on the Financial Procedures Assessment Team (FPAT) that I put together to closely examine the financial procedures used by TAS and to make recommendations for improvement. She actively participated as we interviewed dozens of individuals (e.g., past Treasurers, Administrative Directors, the TAS 990 accountant) who had knowledge of TAS’s fiscal operations. Bonnie then agreed to serve as the Chair of the ad hoc Business Advisory Committee, where she devoted hundreds of hours to examining 20 years of QuickBooks entries and the long history of TAS investments. She authored a significant Special Report on TAS Investment Accounts with major recommendations for Board action, and then worked closely with Clear Rock Advisors to implement those recommendations. Bonnie also volunteered to fill online orders that TAS members placed for TAS stickers. Bonnie McKee has a wealth of nonprofit experience and knowledge and freely shared her ideas and suggestions for best practices as we revised TAS financial processes and reports in 2020.
Steve served as an extremely valuable member of the FPAT, provided continual input regarding needed fiscal changes in 2019 and 2020, and agreed to serve as the Chair of the Fiscal Overview Committee (FOC). Steve’s investment experience served TAS well when we were forced to move the TAS investment portfolio from Thornhill Securities to Clear Rock Advisors. In addition, his experience in serving on past FOCs and examining TAS financial practices resulted in a number of significant suggestions throughout the year.
As the Internet Committee Chair/Editor, Jamie Ross did an outstanding job of maintaining the TAS internet/website, but she went way beyond those duties in her service for TAS this year. She was the co-Chair of the ad hoc Oral History Committee, hosted monthly Committee meetings, and ensured that preliminary plans to interview TAS Fellows were implemented despite the strange circumstances presented by coronavirus. She also devoted numerous hours to accomplishing the many action items assigned to her by the TAS Board of Directors and by me: e.g., compiling an accurate mailing list for distributing the 2019 and the 2020 BTAS, updating many sections of the website. During the year, she successfully addressed a myriad of unique member needs and problems related to the internet, and designed a “virtual annual meeting” to replace some of the regular features (e.g., the list of membership anniversaries, awards, deaths) that members expect from an in-person annual meeting.
A Special “Thank You”:
Finally, since I will be unable to make a “good-bye” speech at an Annual Meeting this year, I want to give a Special “Thank You” here to Susan Everett for her invaluable, constant support through the decades that we have been together and especially during the past 30 months. I would never have accepted the nomination for the President-Elect position in 2018 had it not been for her agreement and support, and I certainly would have been unable to serve as President without her assistance. She provided sound advice, fantastic computer and technology expertise, served as my Facebook reader, and never complained about the long hours I worked or my constant preoccupation with TAS problems. Susan has been with me every step of the way and she made my Presidency possible.