September 6, 1994, was my first day working at ABMP. I got the job because ABMP was looking for a graphic designer and interviewed my wife, who then told them about me. We were a package deal. I was 27, and our little Casey was just 9 months old. We had moved to Colorado that summer to help take care of my mother-in-law. We quit our jobs and headed west from Washington, D.C. with a six-month old baby with no jobs lined up—just the model every career-planning guide tells you to follow.
I knew next to nothing about the massage field back then. Like RIGHT next to nothing. But I had worked for 4½ years at a membership association since graduating college, and had moved from a membership assistant to become Director of Membership and then Director of Professional Development. I figured I’d work at ABMP for a bit and then head off to graduate school.
At the time, ABMP had fewer than 10 staff, and fewer than 12,000 members. It was the “other” association. We provided liability insurance, a magazine, and three booklets—the Touch Training Directory
, the Successful Business Handbook
, and the ABMP Yellow Pages
. We had a toll-free 800 number, but management didn’t like giving it out. As my friend Bob Benson likes to say, “There wasn’t a lot of ‘there’ there.”
A lot has changed since then. I’m 47 (the math skills are still there); Casey is 6’3” and the eldest of our three sons. I completed graduate school and massage school since then. I know a bit more about the field now.
My wife is still my best friend, and we are growing older happily—although both exhibiting signs from a couple decades as weekend warriors. And a lot has changed at ABMP—for one, I’m the President, not a “manager trainee”; we have 50+ staff; we provide so many resources that I can’t keep track.
However, our basic membership fee is $199, just as it was when I got here.
We still exist to serve professionals who exist to serve people. And we’ll never forget that, as long as I’m around. Which I hope is for another 20.