Welcome, Emerging Leaders!

We are thrilled to have you here, ready to embark on a transformative journey of leadership and growth. Congratulations on taking this bold step towards unleashing your potential and making a positive impact on the world around you.

As emerging leaders, you possess the drive, ambition and fresh perspectives that are essential for shaping the future. This is an exciting time filled with endless possibilities, and we are honored to be part of your development and support you in your quest to become exceptional leaders.

If you’re guessing this was the opening to my speech at ASA’s Emerging Leaders EMERGE conference in Savannah, Georgia last month, unfortunately, you’re wrong.

While it says all the right things, it is 100% AI generated. I typed “welcome message to emerging leaders” into ChatGPT and voila. ChatGPT, released this past November, is an artificial intelligence chatbot. If you are curious what the GPT stands for, generative pretrained transformer, a type of large language model.

This is a nice message, but it’s missing the core of who we are and what we do and why anyone, whether a young person just embarking on their career journey or someone looking for one more place to make an impact, would find themselves at a company connected to the plumbing-PVF supply chain industry.

But, it is also just one way that a young person can make an impact on our industry in bringing forward technologies, ideas and innovations that will continue to make our companies strong.

EMERGE2023 night-out closing event at the Savannah Bananas baseball gamePlenty of networking opportunities were available at EMERGE2023, including the night-out closing event at the Savannah Bananas baseball game. This year’s EMERGE set a new attendance record. EMERGE2024 heads to Boston next May. Photo by Mike Miazga/ASA.


When we work together to lift each other up, the potential in our companies and our industry is to the moon and beyond.

The Emerging Leaders EMERGE conference in Savannah opened to record-setting attendance (seems to be a theme at ASA events this year!) and nearly half the attendees were experiencing EMERGE for the first time.

The three jam-packed days mixed education, sharing best practices (the popular best practices roundtables generated a ton of discussion points that attendees will be receiving via email shortly), and networking. To say the night-out closing event at the Savannah Bananas baseball game was a smash hit would be an understatement.

What I did share with everyone in Savannah was how I believe we can keep moving forward my challenge to our industry — get involved, bring someone with you.

I recently saw a documentary about Richard Branson, especially highlighting his space flight projects and a particularly motivating quote of his:

“The brave do not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”

The thing that stuck with me the most, however, was something he did on the day of his first rocket launch. You probably know that three of the richest men in the world — Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — are in a race to make the best rocket and launch themselves into space.

Richard Branson wound up with the best prototype first and invited his two nemesis to the launch. Musk showed up to wish him luck. Bezos didn’t even respond. What does it take to be Musk? To cheer on each other’s accomplishments and recognize that greatness lifts us all. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but how can we be the Elon Musk friend?

As leaders, when we invite a young person with us to a meeting, we’re engaging them in an invaluable way. As young people, when we raise our hands to join someone we admire on a project or to attend an event, we show up in an invaluable way.

When we work together to lift each other up, the potential in our companies and our industry is to the moon and beyond.

I personally can’t wait to see where it takes us because this is our moment.