At work, we often like to start our meetings with an icebreaker where we do a round of “gratitudes” to get in the right frame of mind.  

A popular topic has been, “What are some ‘gratitudes’ we have around COVID-19?”  COVID-19 is a terrible pandemic and we all cannot wait until it is over. At the same time, the pandemic has brought changes into our lives this year that, in some cases, we can be grateful for.  

I would have to say one of my “gratitudes” about COVID-19 is that we have shifted NETWORK2020 into a virtual event that will reach more industry people than ever before and really enable ASA members, more than ever, to “get in the game!”

Based on the current limitations related to the state of Illinois’ reopening plan and concerns about business travel, the ASA Executive Committee approved ASA staff’s recommendation to move to a two-day virtual format for this year’s NETWORK event. 

The new, virtual format is exciting in that it has a mixture of five hours of live virtual presentations over two days, five on-demand educational sessions that are available to all registrants, plus face-to-face virtual wholesaler-distributor and vendor conference appointments (just like at the in-person NETWORK events).  

And we are super-excited about the ASA virtual trade show, which will be a first-of-its-kind event in the PHCP-PVF industry (Read Mike Miazga’s column on the virtual trade show on Page 55). We also are exploring adding a virtual cocktail hour component — stay tuned for more details on that front.

But the one thing that I most want to highlight is that the registration fees for members are very reasonable. For member companies, the cost to attend NETWORK2020 Virtual is only $99, and that gives every member of your company access to the program. We have made it easy for member companies to have more of their talent roster get in the game!  (The cost for non-members is $499 per company.) 

Also, your registration fee will be considered a donation to your choice of either the Building One Future Fund that supports our D.NEXT and PROJECT TALENT initiatives, or to the ASA Education Foundation’s Karl E. Neupert Endowment Fund. This year’s NETWORK is truly an investment in your company’s future and the future of our industry.

Just like the in-person version, NETWORK2020 Virtual is about bringing together thought-leaders and educational sessions that can have an immediate impact on your company and your team’s ability to succeed. We will start with an opening session where I welcome attendees and share the progress on our ASA initiatives to secure our industry’s future — including virtual visits. 

We will go live to the new ASA innovation lab at Research Park at the University of Illinois where ASA Vice President of Technology Beth Ladd will give us a virtual tour and discuss how she is prioritizing projects that will most benefit ASA members (see Page 18 for a story on the lab and the D.NEXT initiative).  Next, we will go live to Boston to visit with Mike Walsh, president of marketing firm Harger Howe, who will debut PROJECT TALENT and all the resources that members will have for recruiting our future workforce. 

Then, we will have the headline event where keynote speaker David Kohler, president and CEO of Kohler Co., will address the ASA community about what future trends will impact our industry. Closing Day 1, before we break into virtual regional cocktail sessions, we will have a live educational session by Ron Karr, whose Velocity Mindset presentation will dive into different critical facets of a business, including the use of modern sales techniques.

On Day 2, we will honor several industry award-winners and introduce ASA’s leadership for 2021, followed by Dr. Chris Kuehl, who will deliver his always anticipated industry forecast for 2021. Alexandra Levit also will be live and will show attendees how to “future-proof” their businesses and careers. Day 2 will conclude with two exciting virtual networking components with the wholesaler-distributor and vendor conference appointments and the much-anticipated virtual trade show that is sure to be the talk of the industry. 

By serving the entire PHCP-PVF industry, ASA is our members’ best source for education, networking, business intelligence and advocacy support. 
If you are serious about staying in the PHCP-PVF industry, I strongly advise you to “get in the game” by taking advantage of all that ASA has to offer. 
Make sure your company is signed up for NETWORK2020 Virtual, and then encourage all of your employees to log-in Oct. 7-8 and check out what will be a collection of highly beneficial and engaging offerings.

See you virtually Oct. 7-8!