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Hello! I'm Tony, or more formally known as Anthony Schmidt, and I'm the founder of APOonline. I initiated in Alpha Phi Omega in the fall of 2006 at the Alpha Zeta Chapter at the University of Kentucky and became a Life Member on October 16, 2009. I have completed the entire APO LEADS program and also served as Chapter President of Alpha Zeta Chapter in 2009-10. On April 23, 2010 the Alpha Zeta Chapter awarded me the Chapter Distinguished Service Key. I'm now living in Seattle, WA serving as a Program Manager at Microsoft on the Dynamics CRM product team.
At the Alpha Zeta Chapter I quickly became the VP of Communications which was in charge of the website (which was 4 years out of date) and the email mailing list. After only one active semester I quickly noticed the weak communication between officers and actives and poor record keeping. As a Computer Engineering and Computer Science double major I put my technical skills to use and began to create the solution to Alpha Zeta's problems. After two years of devotion to this project and continuous feedback from my chapter I created the first version of what is known today as APOonline. Fellow brothers from nearby chapters took interest in the system and from there APOonline was born with it's first external chapter: Alpha Zeta Kappa Chapter, our little brother chapter, at Eastern Kentucky University in spring of 2009. Presenting the system at the Section 67 sectionals got the entire section online and within the following few months and visits to several region conferences APOonline has grown to serve over 100 chapters, sections, and regions!
APOonline is a continuous project that is updated with a long list of new features and options to better customize your APOonline website to fit your own chapter. With the partnership with the National Alpha Phi Omega Organization in November 2013, APOonline hopes to continue providing the best service to all chapters and work more closely with the national office in doing so. Alumni will have many features as well including ways to get back involved with APO and other career resources.
Q & A
Why did you choose APO ?
If I had to attribute one thing to forming my character today it would be the Boy Scouts of America. After earning the rank of Eagle I found myself asking, "Now what?". After learning about Alpha Phi Omega's history I immediately knew that it was the answer.
How long have you been a member of APO ?
I initiated in the fall of 2006 as a brother of Alpha Phi Omega at the Alpha Zeta Chapter at the University of Kentucky.
What about APO got you interested in rushing?
APO's commitment to the principles of scouting was an immediate selling point for me. Any organization that could proudly advertise this was exactly the type of organization I wished to join.
What influence has APO had on your life?
Alpha Phi Omega has taken all of the skills and experiences accumulated from scouting and has transferred them to the real world. For example take my Communications Merit Badge, APO has transferred it into being in charge of an 80 person organization, serving as Chapter President in 2009-10.
What do you like the most about being involved in APO ?
The brotherhood. Any organization can teach you leadership skills or require service hours but only APO can give you the powerful and defining sense of brotherhood that it provides. Where else can you go to a convention, meet someone you've never seen before, and feel like you've known this person for years? No where but Alpha Phi Omega.
Where did you get the idea for APOonline?
APOonline was my answer to several communication problems at my chapter. Our meetings were long and boring and we had little to no method of keeping records. We did excellent service but each year was like starting from zero trying to keep the chapter alive.
Since starting APOonline and using it with your chapter what changes have you seen in your chapter?
APOonline has completely revised the way we run our chapter and has relieved a lot of stress that had been put on our chapter's officers. For the first time we have had meetings under an hour (previously between 2 to 3 hours) and we have records from semesters past so we no longer have to reinvent the wheel each semester. Financial records are in order and audits are a breeze. Hopefully APOonline can be as useful to other chapter's as it has been for Alpha Zeta. After adopting APOonline, we have much more free time to focus our efforts on requirement, retention and brotherhood which has allowed us to initiate and retain record setting numbers for the past two years!
What, if any, plans do you have for future projects?
I am always adding new features to APOonline, some to highlight are: Chapter of Excellence and Pledge Program of Excellence progress, Facebook integration, PayPal donation integration, advanced reporting for use by section and region chairs, and the list goes on and on. As APOonline continues to grow, so does it's understanding of how unique each chapter is. Through this APOonline is able to mold and offer services to all chapters, no matter how unique. Through the partnership with the national office, APOonline hopes to keep introducing new features to make it easier to operate your chapter or bring a petitioning group to chartering.
Got a question? Ask me a question to be added here by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your question to @APOonline or comment on APOonline's Facebook Page.