On June 3, Steven C. Echard, IOM, CAE, relocated to Atlanta to begin his new role as executive vice president of the ACR, his third term with the organization over his distinguished career in association management.
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Since 2014, Mr. Echard has served as chief executive officer of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in the Washington, D.C., area. He helped AASLD increase membership engagement and global outreach, refine its strategic plan, and modernize and expand its programs, including the launch of the AASLD Foundation.
From 2005–2014, he served as executive director of the Rheumatology Research Foundation, which grew during his tenure from four to 21 full-time employees and increased its annual budget from $3.5 million to $15 million. The foundation raised more than $100 million for arthritis research and rheumatology career awards while he served as its professional leader.
Mr. Echard began his career with the ACR in 1992 as an intern. He served in several roles at the ACR, including positions in the education, research and training departments, and six years as the director of government affairs. In 1999, he served as the staff liaison for the ACR Strategic Planning Committee, which resulted in his final position as director of governance before he left the ACR in 2002.
Mr. Echard has also served as the executive director of three other healthcare organizations: the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI), the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) and the Society for Biomaterials (SFB).
Mr. Echard is a current board member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a two-time recipient of its Power of A Gold Award. He is past chair of the Certified Association Executive (CAE) Commission, the independent body responsible for the certification of association executives who have demonstrated the wide range of knowledge and expertise necessary to lead an association.
Drawing inspiration from the ASAE’s public policy campaign, The Power of A (associations), he cites the important role professional associations play in society, including enhancing members’ professional skills, improving systems and structures, contributing to the economy through innovation and professional development, promoting volunteerism among its members, and creating professional standards for quality and safety.
Mr. Echard is a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. He and his wife, Tami, an instructional designer/ educator with the Georgia Department of Education, have three children: Drew, Kylie and Taylor. He spoke with The Rheumatologist about his vision and goals for the ACR and ARP, as well as professional associations in general, as he begins his new role.