ASSEC Executive Committee
Meeting called to order. Several members present via phone.
Mirinae Development is working to finalize their funding for the Space Camp Korea program. The current option expires April 30 and the group is requesting an extension to June 30. If the Korean group is able to secure funding and execute their licensing option, the center will be paid $1.3 million in licensing and equipment fees. Based on the information presented both committees approved the extension.
Hanger 11 Exhibition in Tel Aviv wishes to enter into an agreement to display 34 items from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center from a period of July 1 until September 15. Hanger 11 would be responsible for display, shipping and insurance for the items as well as any reimbursable fees to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Hanger 11 would also be responsible for obtaining NASA approval for four times that possible fall under ITAR regulations. In return the center will receive an exhibit fee of $200,000 with $100,000 payable within 10 days of contract execution. The balance of the payment would be on May 15th when the exhibit items ship. The center will also provide six staff members to support the setup of the exhibit. Hanger 11 is responsible for providing per diem, airfare and hotel for staff. Based on the information provided both committees approved the contract. If you can read Hebrew you can read more about Hangar 11 at http://www.hangar11.co.il/
The center wishes to execute a contract for the traveling exhibit “Da Vinci: The Genius” that would be on display at the U.S. Space and rocket Center from November 2013 – February 2014. The total cost of the exhibit is $240,000 and the center would also have to pay an estimated $7000 – $8000 for shipping from Santa Ana, California. Based on the information provided both committees approved the contract but asked for additional information to be provided at the next monthly meeting of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Business and Executive Committee scheduled for April 17. Additional information about the exhibit can be found at http://www.davincithegenius.com/traveling-exhibition.php
Due to a loss of quorum the last item on the agenda (Foam Application P.O. for roof repair) was tabled until the next meeting.
For the past few years the U.S. Space and Rocket Center has been limping along financially. While their financial woes aren’t completely gone, the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Business and Executive committees have worked a 6th amendment to their long standing credit line with First Commercial Bank. In this latest amendment the center and bank have agreed to a drop in the revolving credit line from $4.5 million to $3.5 million in April of 2013. In April of 2014 the line will drop again to $3 million. In addition the revised balance stepdown, the center has renegotiated the rate for the the credit line from Libor+4.759% to Libor+2.590%. In previous agreements the center had a much more aggressive quarterly stepdown schedule. Between the reduction in rate and less aggressive stepdown schedule the center should have additional wiggle room to tackle improvements to the facility and staffing in the winter months.
Resolution for Credit Line Amendment ASSEC_CreditLine 27MAR2013 Resolution
Members of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Business and Executive committees passed authorization today that will allow the center to offer early retirement packages to eligible employees. The center had drafted the plan last year when the State of Alabama was considering the effort as a way to save money. While the state effort fell through, the center decided to push forward with the plan. In all there are 16 center employees who meet the requirements for the program and center executives estimate 6 employees will take the offer. Those who accept will given $15,000 and per center policy their vacation leave will paid out while their sick leave paid out to their retirement plan. Eligible employees will have to notify the center by June 31 and be separated from the center by December 31st.
March 27 Update – > ASSEC Early Retirement 25MAR2013 Resolution
**Update – Another emergency joint session of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Business and Executive Committees has been scheduled to take place on 02/06/2013 @ 3:00 PM. More than likely the details of the settlement with AXE Body Spray will be discussed.
Last week members of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission’s Business and Executive committees met in a rare emergency session. The subject revolved around AXE Body Spray’s upcoming Super Bowl promotion that involves an international sweepstakes. The prize is a trip to Florida to train like an astronaut at the AXE’s Apollo Space Academy where one lucky winner will take a trip to space. So what is the problem? AXE used the terms Space Academy and their promotion smells a lot of like the experiences that someone would undertake at Space Camp/Space Academy. The center contacted AXE about ten days ago with a cease and desist letter. AXE later contacted the center and admitted they infringed on the trademark and indicated that they want to make things right with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
At the meeting Dr. Deborah Barnhart explained what the center had requested which included a payment of $500,000, a disclaimer in related advertising that basically says that Space Camp isn’t involved with the promotion and for AXE to send two teachers to Educator Space Camp from each of the 60 countries that AXE is advertising the contest in. As the center’s attorney started to discuss the AXE counteroffer he was quickly stopped by one board member who basically said the center had lowballed the value of the brand. Other board members chimed in that if AXE could afford a Super Bowl ad, AXE could afford to pay more for infringing on the center’s brand. As the attorney started to list through their possible options a motion was made (seconded and approved) to enter into an executive session. The Huntsville Times reporter Lee Roop (@LeeRoop) and I were asked to leave the boardroom. 30 minutes later we were called back into the room and a quick update was given. The committees had decided that at this current time no legal action was needed. In what appeared as a scripted action, another board member made a motion that stated the current AXE offer was “unacceptable” and the CEO and Chairman should continue to work the best possible deal for the center. That motion was seconded and approved.
Because of the use of the executive session privilege we never actually heard the complete counteroffer information other than the $350,000.
You can read my live blog of the meeting HERE
Read Lee Roop’s article from after the meeting HERE
This is a live blog today from the joint meeting Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Business and Executive Committees. Refresh for updated content.
The item listed on the agenda is
2. (A) Discussion on AXE/Unilever infringement on trademarks and legal communications on both sides.
AXE Body Spray (a division of Unilever) is currently running a promotion that uses several licensed trademarks owned by the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission including Space Academy. The promotion advertises that 12 winners will receive astronaut training near Orlando. The promotion does not involve any of the camp or Space Camp properties.
Meeting called to order at 4:12. Welcome provided by Joe Collazo.
Dr. Deborah Barnhart is discussing the situation regarding the contest which will bring winners to Florida for training. AXE acknowledges that they have used the trademarks and they wish to settle the issue. Dr. Barnhart states that they company has been very responsive. The center is asking for a cash payment for the use of the trademarks, a disclaimer in all advertising that states that Space Camp/Space Academy is not involved in the promotion and point people to Space Camp website, send two teachers to Educator Space Camp from each country where the advertisement is running.
The center also would like to continue work with AXE to promote the theme they have left the door open to discuss other opportunities.
The center’s attorney is reporting that ten days ago the center sent a cease and desist letter to AXE for all advertising involving the trademarks in question. AXE replied that they wished to work out an arrangement. The center’s attorney started to describe the current offer but was stopped after announcing that AXE was offering $350,000. Board member Dabsey Maxwell made her point that she thinks the $500,000 amount that the center originally proposed is lower than what the brand is worth. She along with several members stated that they believe the trademark is worth more and doesn’t believe that the center should budge from the amount requested.
It was at this time several committee members stated that they felt they needed to move to an executive session because they were starting to get advice from the center’s attorney. A motion was made and passed to go into an executive session. The session is expected to last 30 minutes. The executive session started at 4:26p.m.
The executive session of the committees ended around 5:00pm. The chair stated that at this time the center does not see a need to proceed with legal actions against AXE/Unilever however a motion was presented and passed that the current offer is unacceptable, and a recommendation was made that the CEO and Chairman work to negotiate the the best possible deal to represent the center’s brands.