In June of 2006, I was approached by contacts from a competing SEM agency about starting a search engine marketing (SEM) professional trade association. Naturally, I was game, and quickly recruited a handful of Portland’s best SEM professionals to join the SEMpdx board. Fast forward to today, and SEMpdx is a nationally recognized non-profit organization consisting of in-house, agency and freelance SEM professionals. The 10 original board members helped host the NW’s first dedicated SEM conference, SearchFest 2007. With 250 attendees and national speakers, SearchFest was a huge success. We’re now gearing up for SearchFest 2008 this March at the Oregon Zoo. We also launched our SEM blog and SEMpdx forum. SEMpdx has garnered a strong financial position due to our members, sponsors and groundbreaking events (like HotSeat). As President however, I’m most proud of SEMpdx’s commitment to the local community. Each year, SEMpdx adopts a Charity of Choice. For 2007, it was CCI Enterprises and for 2008, it will be Donate Life Northwest. For each charity, we provide pro bono SEM services, promote the non-profit and donate 10% of our retained earnings at the end of the year. We’ll be cutting a check to CCI in January, which will be a cherry on top of what has otherwise been a fantastic year for SEMpdx. Thank you to our SEMpdx sponsors and volunteer board members for their support.