For the past 10 years, ASA volunteer leaders and staff have focused on leading its members successfully into the future. 

Leading by advocating for better legislation, regulation and codes. Leading by providing our members with dependable business intelligence to support tough business decisions. Leading with resources to recruit, develop and retain a talented labor force.  And leading by connecting with industry customers.  Everything we do centers around our mission — to help our members be more successful.

With this in mind, we have been keenly focused on building the value of membership so ASA can better serve our members.  Over the past few years, we’ve built up strong reserves as a result of increased engagement and minimized expenses. I am excited that the ASA Board of Directors has approved investing an additional $141,000 in new programs and services for 2018 to help with our mission. 

Many business decisions are made based on metrics, stats and intelligence of both past performance and anticipated future environment. Currently, ASA members have access to a library of reports full of operations metrics, sales trends data, commodity and materials pricing and availability, and economic forecasting. But to fully meet the needs of the membership to benchmark their companies against various industry averages and, most importantly, against the competition, more data and more support is needed. ASA is taking a more aggressive approach to providing critical data to our membership by adding a full-time staff person in that area in 2018. 

Finding and hiring good people always is a concern, but with the alarming rate at which this industry will lose employees over the next 10 to 20 years, this has become a top concern for ASA members. How will members connect with potential employees in all roles and how will they identify and develop the future leaders of the company? Connecting with job seekers that have the capabilities and the ability to be highly productive team members is difficult to do. ASA has formed a partnership with leading universities with strong industrial distribution programs to help market the industry as a reliable, sustainable and profitable industry for lifelong careers. ASA members will have the opportunity to connect with these students and future employees during our NETWORK event each year.

It can be overwhelming to keep up with technology trends and know how to effectively use technology to improve profitability and relationships with customers. And with the overabundance of information and resources out there today about e-commerce, maximizing company websites and overall marketing strategy, it can be difficult to understand, synthetize and implement.

This is made even more difficult by the speed by which technology is changing. ASA has taken the lead in helping our members understand the advances in technology and how to utilize them with their companies by partnering with B2X Partners to provide complimentary annual membership to the DigitalBranch Incubator.

As your president this year, I am proud to be part of this association and I am proud to say we are not sitting on our duffs enjoying past success, but instead we are adding strength and adding value for you without adding any additional costs. 

Your job is to be sure you are using these new resources to help your company. Thank-you ASA!