It’s not every day that you get to sit down for a discussion with a pioneer. David Weber, COO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), has been hard at work advocating for seniors – and helping them save money. AMAC was created to protect mature American interests, and to offer an alternative perspective on how to best solve the problems seniors face today. When David took the reins of the organization and promised to make the Association of Mature American Citizens as prominent as the AARP, some were doubtful. Now, at 500,000 active members and growing strong, David is getting the last laugh.
The Association of Mature American Citizens, Inc. (AMAC) was founded to be a conservative alternative to AARP. Traditional American values of Faith, Family, and Freedom are the very heart of our organization. AMAC was founded with the belief that other senior organizations are not only out of touch with their membership base, but are actually acting against the will of their members for their own political gain. This is particularly true on issues such as ObamaCare and Social Security reform. AMAC is also fighting hard against out-of-control government spending. It has recently been said that AMAC is the most important new conservative organization in America, and that’s quite a compliment. We certainly are one of the fastest-growing organizations in America.
In addition to conservative political advocacy in Washington, we also provide our members with access to exclusive and substantial discounts on a wide variety of products and services. In the very beginning, we literally went door-to-door asking our local businesses to give our members discounts. The problem was, we didn’t have enough members to substantiate the discounts. Now that we’ve reached a half million members, we’re finding it much easier to negotiate on behalf of our members. We’re proud to offer a competitive Auto and Home Insurance Program, an exclusive Roadside Assistance Program with substantially discounted rates, access to discounts on hotels, motels, rental cars, and many other benefits. I’m currently working on incorporating an additional 500,000 local merchants and over 500 major national retail stores into our member benefits package.
I essentially spent the first four years of AMAC’s existence working pro-bono just to help the organization get off the ground. I took a year off in 2011 to focus on my family business, but rejoined AMAC full time in April 2012 as Chief Operating Officer and have barely looked back. When you find what’s right for you, you just know it.
What is your focus right now for AMAC?
My primary focus is to grow our young organization, and most importantly to me, to do so in an ethical manner that doesn’t compromise our core beliefs. I have challenged our entire staff – from the people who open the mail all the way up to the people who help run our organization – to believe in themselves, to believe in AMAC, and to achieve beyond their dreams because they can. We fight an uphill battle, but we never forget that we’re fighting for our members and for the good of our country. AMAC is blessed to have an incredible team that has risen to the challenge. September was a record-breaking month in both new and renewal memberships. We shattered those records in October.
How do you solve challenges that arise?
Anybody who’s started their own business knows that adversity is just a part of the job description. Those who even consider that giving up is an option will often fail at any major undertaking, and those who run from adversity are doomed to failure before they even begin. Sure we’ve made mistakes and have learned some things the hard way, but we move forward because we are fighters. From the very beginning five years ago, there were many doubters who told us that we’d never succeed. People even laughed at the thought of us taking on the American icon that is AARP. Five years and a half-million active members later and not only are we still here, but we’re here to stay.
I liken our mission to one of my favorite past-time activities – climbing the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. I always keep an eye on the big picture, but rather than focus on the monumental challenge of reaching the summit, I focus on taking one step at a time and enjoying the journey – including the heartbreaks and struggles – because overcoming those struggles makes the accomplishments so worth fighting for. When you’re dealing something that is so good – whether it be a dream, a friendship, a relationship, or even a job – you don’t ever give up on it. Ever. You take one step at time and before you know it you look back and discover that you’ve climbed another mountain. There are mere jobs, and there are life missions. AMAC is our life’s work. We won’t lay down just because we’re confronted with a few obstacles.
What were your most important managerial decisions — the ones that changed your business?
There have been a number of key managerial decisions that have made our path easier. Just recently, we opened a second call center in Florida to back up our New York headquarters. This proved to be a smart decision when Hurricane Sandy shut us down for a couple of days in New York.
One of the most important decisions I’ve made was during my very first few days acting as Chief Operating Officer. Our website was the target of a massive DDOS attack that rendered it completely inoperable. Each time we upped our defenses, the attacks increased in strength. It was a deliberate, malicious attempt to bring our site down.
I let the world know exactly what was happening, including the FBI and all of our members, and the support was overwhelming. In fact, the damage that the attackers intended to inflict on us backfired when we received more referrals from people who were angry that we had been attacked. As our hosting company struggled for a week to get us back online, my good friend and favorite political columnist, Jedediah Bila, called me with information that changed our fortune. She told me to call Rivalhost, promising they could get us back online within a day. I made the call and after an encouraging discussion quickly made the decision to move all of our hosting to Rivalhost. Jedediah was right. The DDOS attacks still continue to this day, but our website has been up and running since we made the change.
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