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NFATCA Report: Changes at the Top in ATF
By John Brown

Stability and continuity seem to walk hand in hand and the longer something stays in place the easier it is to develop a deeper more meaningful relationship. We tend to take things for granted and assume that all is well with many of the things we value such as relationships and the like. So goes the story with ATF and how we work with the Bureau on a daily basis. Getting an agenda together and making progress with that agenda is tough when the players change. One agenda for one director may not be agreeable or suitable for another. This is no different than corporate America or the political environment that we all live with every day. The simple matter is that all things change whether we like it or not. We want everyone to understand that the entire infrastructure that the NFATCA has worked so hard to come to know at the executive levels of ATF is ever changing. Nearly all of the personnel that we have worked with for the last several years have now changed. Although a scary sense among all of us that have worked so diligently to develop these relationships, we all know that change is a certain thing and one must be willing and able to adapt as necessary. With all the changes occurring within ATF, we as an organization must shift our attention to a new group of executives, all of which come to us with outstanding reputations. With a new group we will work diligently to keep hold of our agenda this year and convince this new team that our interests are common and our needs as an organization continue to evolve.

At the top of the team at ATF we have been working with the Deputy Director Kenneth Melson for well over two years, supporting his nomination and dealing directly with him on many NFATCA issues. Director Melson has welcomed us with open arms and has followed many issues with the industry closely. We especially want to acknowledge his extraordinary listening skills. In the many meetings that we have enjoyed with the Director it is apparent that his ability to listen, analyze, and make suggestions are among the best we ever experienced. Director Melson exemplifies the old adage, “You have two ears and one mouth. Always use them in that ratio!” We have found ourselves fortunate to have Director Melson leading the charge at ATF.

As has always been the case, we find Assistant Director Billy Hoover right along side Director Melson in working with the industry. Mr. Hoover has always been right on the front lines with the NFATCA and has been a trooper in his work with the industry. His support is as solid as a rock in our industry in his leadership position. Mr. Hoover continues to work with the NFATCA in a variety of roles assisting us at every angle.

The newest player on the block, taking the position as Assistant Director is Arthur Herbert. Arthur has taken the position once occupied by Carson Carroll, whom many of you will remember revived the amnesty issues. Having an extensive background at ATF including working as the Director of Industry Operations for the Washington field office, Mr. Herbert will be one of the key players that the NFATCA will be working with in 2010.

Another key player that has replaced Audrey Stucko in the Deputy Assistant Director’s position is Teresa Ficaretta. Teresa has been working from the Chief Counsels office with the NFATCA for many years now on so many issues that they are too extensive to list. Teresa has worked closely with the NSSF, F.A.I.R., and the NFATCA for many years. She was instrumental in working the resolution of the FNC sear issue, one of the many successes of the NFATCA. We look forward to working even closer with Mrs. Ficaretta on the many items on our agenda this year.

Following Teresa is one final change being made at the NFA Branch in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Ernie Lintner has moved on to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as the Area Supervisor. Ernie hopefully will stay in the field just long enough to return to the Washington area and rejoin the executive staff sometime in the future. Replacing the NFA Branch Chief is Ed Saavedra who comes to Martinsburg from Utah as an Area Supervisor. Please join the NFATCA in welcoming Ed to his new position as NFA Branch Chief. We will most likely meet Ed in the fall at the Knob Creek shoot where we will have the pleasure of formally introducing him to the industry.

As can be seen, the entire infrastructure that we work with at ATF is under major reconstruction this year. This will require a tremendous amount of time, energy and work for the NFATCA to stay on top of our efforts to keep the teamwork alive between our organization and every level at ATF. To keep the energy alive we need your support. If you have the opportunity to work with any Board member, take advantage of a learning experience that will enlighten you in all aspects of the NFA world. I keep coming back to the expression that we have used for many years, “United we stand, divided we fall,” which should remind all of our readers why the NFATCA adopted the motto “Power Through Experience.” To explore opportunities for you personally within our organization please join us at www.nfatca.org.

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