Mark Schuessler, New Federation President…

Despite my recent pot shot at Mark Schuessler’s guest appearance on Relic Roundup Monday, he has kindly given me permission to share his most recent letter to all the FMDAC members….

And lest you think I do not like or respect Mark, do a search of Stout Standards for his name….

What this pastime needs is a thousand more  Mark Schuesslers.


To: FMDAC Membership

With the start of the year 2013 there is a new national president. I have taken over the helm of the organization. For the last 10 years I have been serving as the  legislative officer. I am sure that you saw many emails from me during that time talking about impending legislation or impending detector bans and occasionally asking  you to support some positive bills. I also have been writing on those issues in Western & Eastern Treasures and American Digger agazines. I have now moved up the ladder  to direct the FMDAC for at least the next two years.

There are many issues with the organization that need to be addressed. As many of you may have noticed our website is down right now. Due to a glitch with  a payment/ownership problem it was taken down without our knowledge and took awhile to determine exactly what happened. It is in the process of being rebuilt.  Hopefully it will back up shortly, at least in part. When that happens you will see a couple of new additions. We hope that everyone will look in on it often.  I will be posting regular updates to it.

fmdacOver the many years I feel the organization has strayed from its original intended goals and objectives. Those goals have not changed but they seem to have not had the emphasis that is needed. I will work to bring the group back to those objectives. This will require cooperation from everyone including the membership.  We, as the FMDAC, and the hobby need to be much more proactive. We cannot sit by and wait to be slapped in the face. We must start blocking those slaps before they are  thrown and even throwing a few of our own. Easier said then done but something I am willing to take on. Not sure how that will take place but I do have a few ideas.

The Quest has been a problem for some time. Especially since our previous editor, Wally Swartz, passed away. We are working on this issue.

The annual conventions will undergo some revamping. We cannot continue to conduct them the same as they have been. Due to many circumstances over the course of  the organization existence the attendance has dropped way off. Many different things have been tried and none have seemed to work too well. Part of the blame must go  to the very high cost of travel along with the high value of silver. It becomes very costly to travel to the conventions and the fees, as with all events, have risen  dramatically. Those two issues are out of our control. We are looking at holding our get-together along with another event. The ideas right now are to link up with  some Civil War Relic shows and the GPAA shows. There are many of those held each year in various localities. There is a convention in the planning right now.  This was  due to an offer made to us by a particular city tourism department. We are being assisted by a local club in that area. More info on that as it becomes available. Should  it come to pass it will take place in the fall in order to give sufficient advertising time and time for people to plan to attend.

We need to have sufficient funding in the treasury to assist with legislative and legal situations when they arise. We need to build it up so that we do not need to even think about it if a few hundred dollars are needed here or there for those purposes. The membership dues are enough to keep us afloat but there is not much  left over in recent years. Costs of everything have risen and travel is no cheaper for the FMDAC then it is for everyone else. I will work to build the membership up  by gaining your trust and, as already stated, working to return to the intended goals of the organization. We will be conducting a few fundraisers and we hope  you will all take part. One such fundraiser is a unique idea that I think will get everyone’s attention. I will also add that we are a 501C3 not for profit. That means  that any donations made to us are tax deductible.

Now an organization is only as strong as the membership makes it. It requires many people to help out. Especially with a national group such as this. We are all  volunteers. There are no paid positions here. In fact many of us spend money from our own pockets toward FMDAC expenses. Like everyone else we have families,  jobs and homes to take care of. We have decided to do our part and take a turn to help protect the hobby we love. Some of us have been doing this for a long time. What is needed  are others to come into the fold and give us some fresh ideas and new enthusiasm. There is always something that can be done. There have been many programs that have been  tried throughout the years and have fallen by the wayside simply because of a lack of manpower. At this time we have opening for officer positions in all of the regions.

Going along with the issue of helping out I would like to ask that if there are any lawyers out there who would volunteer to answer an occasional question for us, or  to give us a direction in a legal situation. You would be helping the hobby in a big way. Many times I feel a particular situation could be handled more easily if we just  knew the proper direction to take from a legal standpoint. I am not asking for you to represent us for free (Of course we would not refuse that offer) but rather to consult  with us and keep us on legal ground.

The position which I have vacated is also open. I am still looking for someone to take it over. It requires some diligence and internet abilities. It is not hard and I will teach you how. It will require a conscientious person who will keep at it and regularly search for negative legislation and issues. Once found they need to be analyzed  as to their impact. A plan of action determined and then notifications sent out. Most of the time you are doing nothing but searching. But when something comes up it requires  immediate attention and follow up. It is actually a very rewarding position. It’s a good feeling to know that you had a hand, maybe a major hand, in defeating a bad piece of  legislation. If you think you can do this job then please contact me and we can talk.

A major change that took place last year was the realigning of the chapters. Due to not having the people to head up the chapters the number of chapters was dropped to three and the name changed to “regions” as follows;

North: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Canada Director – John Howard

Central: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland Director – Don Hayes

South: California, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida Director – Art Difilpo.

It would be nice in the future to be able to reinstate more regions as it is not easy for the regional directors (formerly chapter presidents) to cover such a large area.  That all depends on the membership and the amount of assistance we are able to achieve.

With the website being down we do not have membership forms available on the internet right now. If you need one then please contact me and we will get one to you.  I apologize for this and hope to have it corrected soon. We should be contacting all member clubs and independent members for renewal purposes each fall and we will  ensure that is carried out. Anytime you contact me by email please put FMDAC as the first word in the subject line. That way it will not get mixed up and deleted with  all the spam.

I will address a plaguing issue here and this the first and last time I will do it. Through the near 30 years since the FMDAC was founded there have been some internal  problems as well as some issue with external happenings. Some minor and some major. Like any organization sometimes the wrong people get into positions and use them for  personal reasons. Other times there have been situations in the hobby where we have or have not offered support. Each time there are sore feelings and even people who have  taken vendettas against us. The hobby is full of rumors and misrepresentations of what happened. Most of it is totally false and some downright delusional! I have heard rumors of some that I have first hand knowledge of and I can tell you that those rumors were totally false. Usually started by those who did not get their way or the  old “someone told me that he was told by someone who heard……” I will not dredge up the past. I am moving forward. You can live in the past if you wish. You can hold a
grudge if you wish.  Just make sure that grudge is properly directed. In most cases it should probably be held against the person that gave you the false information. I  found out in my years of dealing with legislation and detecting bans that you cannot believe all that you hear. Go to the source and get the correct information.  Many  times it changes the whole picture. Now having said that if you heard a rumor and would like to know the facts then I will do my best to give you the facts. If there  is an issue from the past that has you staying away then talk to me and I will try to clear up any  misconceptions.

In closing I ask for your support to help protect this great hobby. Think of the investment you have in equipment. The average detector is $700 to $1000 and most have  more then one. $5 is a pittance compared to having to put them in the attic because you no longer have anyplace to legally use them. Get involved…..The hobby you save will  be your own.

Mark Schuessler, FMDAC National President

Mark, good luck, and I know that if anyone can make the changes needed, it’s you…..



Wanted to thank Eddy Current for the following update. Incidentally I found out that Eddy Current is not his real name. It’s Serge Coil…..

Roman Coins To Go on Display at Bexhill Museum



Humble Nickel From 1913  Likely to Fetch Millions  



Filed under Metal Detecting

18 responses to “Mark Schuessler, New Federation President…

  1. raymond salmons

    I plan on bringing this up at our next club meeting, gonna try to get every one on board! Hopefully the FMDAC will regain its former glory! WE NEED THIS!

  2. Thanks Ray for taking the time to comment. Know Mark will appreciate it….

  3. Ha ha ha Serge Coil… yeah right 😉 not!

    Thanks for the FMDAC update, Dick. I have just printed out the whole page to read it in peace while having me a fine glass of vino… cheers!

    –Eddy C.

  4. I am a member of other advocacy groups. The dues are usually around $50-75/year. I happily budget for this because they get things done. They represent my interests in legislation with skill and the results they get improve the quality of my life (e.g. mountain biking.) I can tell you that I would easily pay $50 for permission to hunt some of the public places currently off limits to my hobby. The main reason is that these would be “standing permissions” … not one-time rushed hunts at old houses.

    Here’s a pasted version of the Facebook post I made on Dick’s page when Dick pushed back about my dues comment..

    …. I disagree with that assumption [that detectorists would not pay $50 per year], as long as the group gets things done. It comes down to perceived value. If they only exist to have an annual get together and show off finds, then no. If they unify communications and give motivated detectorists the tools they need to counter threats to the hobby *coherently* then it is a bargain. The arguments for detecting bans and lack of hunting permits are similar nationwide. There are only regional differences. The organization must work on those common elements [in a scalable way] first then provide the PR and legal help needed which are specialized for a locality. In Florida, you’d have different issues than in Chicago (see Metal Detecting – Diggin History with TreasureFiend’s most recent video.)

    The organization must stop just trying to be louder and work on being smarter. [And being smarter means doing proper outreach, employing legal counsel and researchers, and paying the expenses for those willing to navigate the political quagmires and committees where these rules are made.] I hear so many uncompromising positions among detectorists. “We have a right…” “How dare those ‘archies’ block us from hunting” …etc. etc… as if that is going to make a difference against the articulate opposition being delivered by academia. The real difference can be made only through strategy and compromise. We need a few more feathers and wedges and a few less sledgehammers in this fight.

    • Scott, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts….interesting concept for sure. I have my doubts about the money, but let’s see what others have to say…..

  5. Mike Smith

    I would have no problem if the FMDAC membership fee went higher.
    Of course, that is if the FMDAC Leadership did the job they volunteered to do instead of just wanting a title and a vacation (convention) each year. That means putting out “true” newsletters, not just a one or two page statement, every quarter, posting on other forums and identify themselves as FMDAC Officers, maintaining and updating their website, responding to questions truthfully and in a reasonable time (within a week or two at the latest) and acting quickly, as a team, to the problems around the country.
    Hopefully all of this will take place with Mark in charge but at this time, at least for me, it is a wait and see attitude.
    One day I would like to again participate in the FMDAC and the intended goals!

    • Well said Mike….thanks.

    • It’s 2013, not 1970 or even 1990. Paper newsletters and fragile websites are a thing of the past. if the FMDAC website is a PITA, it should be modernized to a standard, reliable solution (Like Dick did when he moved to WordPress.) Blogging tools are in their 10th generation and they have replaced newsletters completely. You can subscribe to them via email if you prefer to get it that way, but paper is gone.

      • You don’t like my code on my website? Well, damn. No one else does either. Scott I am always embarrassed about how little I know about the various website programs and options, but it’s still mine, and it probably go away when search engines can’t decipher it or recognize it anymore.

      • pocketspill

        I actually was complimenting your choice.

    • What job are they meant to do? If it’s advocacy, then the focus of the organization should be on awareness and research of issues affecting our hobby – national and local. Membership should be able to notify them of a local issue coming up and the organization have a response which includes a “kit” that can be used with statements, letter templates and other guidance. The issue should be given an identifier and the organization should track it – just like other organizations do!.

      Having a pre-made set of responses in polished language could really equip a humble local detectorist (or group) to do a better job when they’re given the floor at these meetings. Templates for letters to legislators could give us equal footing to the articulate notes being sent by academia on the other side. Not everyone knows how to do grassroots advocacy. People shouldn’t re-invent the wheel at each place our hobby is threatened. The FMDAC could provide the “proven” tactics and tools that can be slightly modified and used locally.

      • Like the pre-made responses idea, especially given many of the terrible letters I’ve seen written in the past. Scott, please do contact Mark, and offer some assistance. I feel certain he would appreciate it a great deal.

  6. Mike Smith

    I agree that the FMDAC should have “letters” ready to go that groups and individuals can use because I too have seen some horribly/trash letters/emails sent to officals. As a former FMDAC officer, I made up letters/emails for my Chapter members to use to respond to their local, county or State officals but they were tailor made for each situation. Using the correct language/wording can and does make a difference whereas the wrong word or attitude can turn the officals against our problem.

    But I disagree that printed newsletters are a thing of the past. Not all people use the internet (over forty percent of our metal detecting community) and a large portion of those that do have internet/email only check their email once a week or maybe once a month. While email/website is a good tool to get the message out quickly you still need something to hand out at meetings and trade shows that your group attends/holds to entice new members.

    • Good insights. If a print newsletter is an option, there could be a premium to cover the costs of converting from digital. Not much but just enough to make it feasible. I think an online library we’re referring to on the letters is important. I imagine a Google Drive folder organized by States, with some folders private and some public.

      I work with large franchises that have thousands of locations in my work. They all share a brand, so there is a common “extranet” where all of the “official” branded material is stored. Regional leaders also have “derived” material made for various urban areas, climates, etc. All of this is online in folders. Compliance with the brand’s guidelines is compulsory – so a Rotor Rooter has the same look and feel in Madison or Memphis. Improvements / revisions are stored in the central location so there are not tons of versions of each document floating around (like you get with email) … it works beautifully for franchises and would work well for national advocacy groups too.

  7. I see multiple organizations and splintered efforts. Merge all of the detecting rights groups into a single one and then work to build its reputation and public perception. Whenever FMDAC is seen by someone, I want them to think CREDIBILITY. Whenever a ring is returned or a good deed is done, the FMDAC should issue the press release, and feature the finder as reward for letting FMDAC share in the spotlight. Outreach to historical and archaeological groups should be a priority.

    Individual detectorists should feel they are benefiting from the group’s existence – that it is opening doors – helping them get permission and making everyone a bit better at public relations. They should feel that they are PART OF SOMETHING. Consistent branding should be present on all outreach. No rogue efforts.

    I just paid my IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) annual dues – $30/year. And through the year they will be very visible in trailbuilding and advocacy for mountain bikers. The name has credibility with State and Local officials, and other organizations such as hunter and equestrian groups. They struck a deal with Subaru and many manufacturers. I proudly display a sticker on my car. All of the collective energy of this sport is focused on this one organization.

    • Scott I agree about the “one” organization idea, but wonder if ego’s and the ole “I can do it better” can be overcome? As soon as the FMDAC started chapters, it started having problems.

  8. Mark Schuessler

    Thank you for your comments and suggestions. They are all very pertinent. Many of them are items that I have on my “to do” list. In my letter I mentioned being proactive. Part of that is to enact some of the items that Scott mentioned. It does however require an effort from more then just myself. It will require many people to lend a hand.

    The credibility issue is important. This can only be gained through time. By a constant barrage of letters and emails (well written) from both members and especially from the officers, toward any issue or deformation of the hobby. Extending this to a public education campaign. This may even have to include some form of presence on cable TV. Presenting the real hobby to the public. Of course as we all know that may not get much playtime if the true hobby is presented. A lot of digging junk does not make for good ratings. I will say that I am already in the initial stage of setting that in motion on a local level.

    I would like to be able to supply a folder of info, a guide, to each area that has problems. Could even add some electronic media. Send the legislators a short video message. Briefly explaining the hobby while demonstrating it and explaining our ethics code. This could go a long way in taking some of the mystery out of the hobby and putting a “face” on it..

    I am open to all offers of help.

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