In the movie “The Replacements,” Gene Hackman, who played legendary coach Jimmy McGinty, told his replacement quarterback Shane Falco (played by Keanu Reeves) that during key moments in the game “winners always want the ball.”

As the industry’s only national trade association, the American Supply Association is uniquely positioned to be the voice of the industry. With that comes the responsibility to want the ball when it comes to advocating positions that will benefit our members and the industry as a whole.  

Yes, that means we are working hard to protect the interests of not just our members, but those companies not supporting ASA through membership dues and support.

Just like last year when we fought hard to ensure that our entire industry was declared essential, we not only helped member companies but the entire PHCP-PVF channel as well. That’s the great value of an industry trade association.

Today, there never has been a more important time to have a strong and seasoned advocacy team than now.  Last year’s election resulted in virtually every issue impacting our industry being placed on the table, requiring us to engage on issues ranging from fighting increased tax burdens, more restrictive labor laws, and increasingly more restrictive federal regulations and burdens on your business.

And our fight hasn’t been restricted to just an out-of-control federal government, but increasingly state and local batles have challenged us like never before. In California, we are having to fight back a second effort to meet unprecedented lead levels in our plumbing products while the state water agencies continue to enjoy decades of exemptions from meeting those same lead levels.

Thanks to our members in California and our leadership investing to retain a leading California lobby firm to help us in winning this state battle, we were successful in putting off the implementation for two years — a major win for our industry.

Even issues such as the push for decarbonization, which would restrict consumer choice of purchasing gas appliances such as water heaters, has spread beyond California, requiring ASA to work to protect all our industry’s products and the choice for consumers to purchase the products that best meet their needs.

Fighting battles on the regulatory and legislative fronts are not the only advocacy areas where ASA is fighting to win. We have become an effective voice in the product codes and standards arena where product standards are debated and agreed to at code meetings every three years.

ASA is fighting to protect your future.

Recently, our leadership has resulted in unprecedented success for members — prevailing on 80% of the 99 issues we took a position on.  If we were a baseball player, we would be the most prolific hitter in the history of the game. While we have a great winning percentage, our work isn’t done. Right now, we are fighting a battle to keep the use of press connect fittings while some within our channel are working to eliminate these products.  

It’s easy to see all the benefits ASA offers in the educational, business intelligence, data and economic forecasting we provide our members, but our advocacy team provides an equally important value to our members and industry in ways that we don’t always think about as distributors. It’s hard to quantify that value in a ROI number.

11But imagine how we would all been negatively impacted if ASA was not leading. How many games would have been lost if we did not invest in this highly important area that impacts all of our businesses?

Last month, I talked about the value of membership and urged all companies that are not currently members of ASA to join us.  

Joining us to support our advocacy efforts is the most important reason to be a member. We are here fighting to protect your future.