AMSA Treasurer Steve Campano has been a member of AMSA since 1978. He discusses with editor-in-chief Andy Hanacek how the organization has changed over the years and how it has stayed consistent.
Andy Hanacek: Tell me a little about what AMSA is.
Steve Campano: Well, I don’t think the mission has changed much. Really, the mission is to spread the knowledge and disseminate scientific information about the field and meat science and technology. I think that has been the common theme since at least my first RMC, which was 1978. The membership has changed in that we have quite a few more student members these days and a lot more professional members. I’m trying to think back to 1978, and there may have been 50 or 75 attendees at that RMC, whereas now we are approaching 1,000. The landscape has changed, but I think the theme is the same.
Hanacek: In terms of AMSA overall, what have you seen change over the years to where it is now? How has it evolved?
Campano: The student population has evolved. Their level of activity has grown tremendously to the point where they have their own student board, and they have their own functions. They really get active. That’s one of the biggest changes that has occurred even in the last 20 years or less. Again, the membership has grown. It still has that family feel and I hope it never goes away no matter how big we get, because to me that’s what sets AMSA apart from other organization. It is like a family. Some of my oldest friends are AMSA members, and some of the folks I met in 1978 I kept in touch with all of these years. It’s that comradery, that networking, that family atmosphere that sets AMSA apart from other societies.
Hanacek: On a program standpoint, as membership has increased the programs have increased. What one or two things have come into play in recent years that you are most proud of as a pretty important member.
Campano: I’m proud for the Association in that they’ve continued to evolve and add member benefits and value to members. One of the benefits and the ways in which the Association has added value to the membership is through programs like Pork 101 for example. I’m sure the number of participants in well into the hundreds for that program. I think it is a great testament to Thomas and Deidrea and what they do for the membership and the Association in general.
Hanacek: For professional members, what’s the biggest benefit to joining AMSA other than the comradery and family atmosphere and the Pork 101. What’s the biggest benefit for professionals to join?
Campano: From a personal standpoint, I think the biggest benefit is just being able to network with the community. It’s a collection of individuals, who share a passion for the field. It’s a diverse field. We have members that are in growth and biology all the way to processed meat product manufacturing and development. It’s a broad and diverse community but everybody gets along. For students in particular, just to meet some of the people who have written the books and written the articles… I know that’s what impressed me when I was a student, and they are just real people. They want to help, and they want the best for everyone. They want the best for you. It is cool. It really is.