Last month, the room at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida, was brimming with more than 100 volunteers representing multibillion-dollar international companies, regional independent companies, and maybe the lifeblood of the industry, multigenerational family businesses.

The visionaries, the leaders and the future of the industry were in the room. Notably, the room was punctuated with laughter throughout the day.

Every year industry leaders come together at this looked-forward-to event to review ASA’s vision and mission, and to outline the strategic priorities of the organization.

It started 15 years ago when 69 people gathered to chart the course of the association, and in my view, the industry. Unfortunately, there probably wasn’t a lot of laughter in that room. Our industry and the world was in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in a generation. Despite that, they envisioned an industry association that couldn’t help but succeed. They believed in a vision that we still stand by today – ASA will be indispensable to achieving prosperity in our industry.

The ASA Executive Committee recently reviewed that vision statement and our mission statement to renew and refresh both in this new post-pandemic era. Unanimously, we determined we wouldn’t touch the vision statement. Those who were in the room in 2008, one of those 69 visionaries, THANK-YOU. You saw an inspiring future for us.

We recast the mission with the goal of a collective, powerful action statement — ASA will be the unified voice that drives the success of the PHCP and PVF supply chain industry.

Porter Pipe & Supply CEO Nick PorterPorter Pipe & Supply CEO Nick Porter makes a point about the importance of ASA’s advocacy pillar during the 2023 ASA Strategic Planning Retreat in Naples, Florida. Photo by Mike Miazga/ASA.

We stood on the strong shoulders of those who came before us, we celebrated our moment today, and we see a captivating future ahead.

Over a few days in Florida, we were challenged to take off the blinders and reimagine our future. Ahead of the meeting, I sent out consultant, author, UnleashWD founder and longtime ASA friend Dirk Beveridge’s report “Reimagining Leadership” to spark us thinking bigger. How will we prepare the association for the next generation and the next? You can access Dirk’s report here:

Packing for the trip to Florida and thinking about this challenge, I realized I was packing into the same suitcase as I had taken on the trip to Asia that I mentioned at NETWORK2022 in Chicago last fall.

I was hit with the thought that the next generation, my daughters, may not live in a world where an interesting trip to visit partners in China is possible. What else about their world will be different? “Reimagining Leadership” shares a quote from NCAA swim coach George Kennedy about his role in preparing his athletes,

“I need to prepare them for their world, not the world I have lived in.”

We closed out the meeting recapping the breakout discussions that contemplated our view of ASA’s role in the world of the next generations.

As the room filled with laughter again, the buzz was palatable. Summing up our mindsets we used words such as optimistic, dynamic, energized, cooperative and fun.

We stood on the strong shoulders of those who came before us, we celebrated our moment today, and we see a captivating future ahead.

This is our moment.