ATLANTA--Professional Photographers of America today announced the resignation of long-time Director of Membership, J. Alexander (Al) Hopper, effective December 31, 2008. Hopper says he made the decision to leave PPA after fourteen years in order to pursue personal goals.
"I've been fortunate to work at PPA with superior volunteer leaders and the world's finest association staff. It has been a real privilege, and I will always cherish the friendships I have made," says Hopper. "I now need to pay attention to some personal obligations and take advantage of some new opportunities."
Since joining PPA in 1994, Hopper has become widely known for his positive attitude and high-energy personality. Some PPA members might remember his appearances in Professional Photographer magazine ads dressed as "Crazy Alice." He greeted everyone with a booming welcome and a big smile. Staff and members alike who offered Al a common, "How's it going," would always be answered with an energetic, "It's a great day at PPA!"
However, his contributions have been far more than pleasantries. Under his stewardship, PPA saw a surge in membership growth--from about 10,000 members when he arrived to more than 24,000 members today. In fact, PPA set membership growth records each of the last five years. The head of the Copyright & Government Affairs department as well, Hopper was often part of the team working on Capitol Hill to defend photographers' rights. More recently, he was assigned to spearhead the newly created Vital Signs e-newsletter to help photographers weather today's difficult financial climate.
"Al always has been, and I suspect always will be, one of those larger-than-life people," says PPA Chief Executive Officer David Trust. "He makes things fun -- there's never a dull moment when he is around. More importantly, he is a strong team player with a genuine concern for others. That is what made him so good at working with our members. I donít think anyone who has ever met Al could forget him. He will certainly be missed by everyone here at headquarters and, I suspect, by all who know him."
PPA will begin a national search for a new director of membership immediately. Hopper will play a consulting role once a replacement is hired, helping ensure a seamless transition.