One of the big surprises that occurred at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas was the rumor that Doug Hucker was leaving the American Gem Trade Association as its president and chief executive officer. I use the word surprising because Hucker, over the past decade, has been at the helm of what can only be described as a fractious, difficult to manage association, and he has managed it very successfully. Later, the rumor proved true.
I admit to being a friend and fan of Doug's. We've known each other almost 20 years, starting at Krementz and Co. where we were responsible for two separate divisions of what was then the General Motors of the jewelry industry. He came to Krementz after a stint running his own gemstone business. At Krementz, he managed the Jones and Woodland division, which later became Richard Krementz Gemstones after the bulk of the remaining Krementz organization was sold to Colibri.
The dissolution of the Krementz companies over almost an eight-year period was difficult for everyone involved. Doug moved on to a new opportunity when it became apparent that his role in the Krementz Gemstone business was no longer possible. He went to work with Mark Moeller in Minneapolis to set up and run an antique jewelry Internet business. This was at the beginning of Internet retailing. His tour of duty lasted a couple of years.
At this point Hucker was chosen to head AGTA. That was approximately 10 years ago. During that time, he distinguished himself and AGTA by leading and expanding the AGTA Show in Tucson, Ariz., and initiating and developing, with the JCK Shows, a plan to establish a major section of The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas for AGTA members.
Throughout this period, AGTA's image and fortunes improved considerably under Hucker's leadership. It therefore came as a surprise to learn, in the parlance of the public relations world, that he had decided to move on after 10 years with AGTA. Spending time in the corporate world gives one a sense of PR-speak, and in my view there is more to this story than what has been said publicly.
All I can say is that Hucker is an individual of considerable knowledge and skill. He is one of the preeminent speakers and trainers in this business. A former instructor at the Gemological Institute of America and a natural showman, he establishes solid rapport with an audience, and they quickly sense that here is someone who knows his subject and provides the listener with useful actionable information.
With his solid record of success, some industry organization will be fortunate indeed to acquire his services.