Judging from attendee's responses, the new format used in this year's ASA Convention program was a big success. The theme of the program, "Supply Chain Summit," brought industry figures from distribution and manufacturing together to explore the latest trends and pressures in the supply chain.

Adam Fein, Ph.D., President of Pembroke Consulting, served as the day's moderator, and really "worked the crowd" to get audience members to participate in the discussions. Leading off the program, Ed Scott, Jr., industry icon, offered a thumbnail sketch of the industry's short-term economic future. Further setting the stage, Laurie Breininger, Vice President and General Manager, Bath & Kitchen Americas, American Standard Cos., and Robert Machaby, Senior Vice President of Vendor Development at Hughes Supply, offered their specific views on where our channel is heading. Their presentations were followed by panels of distributors and manufacturers (see related photos).

The day's agenda was capped by a keynote address by David Foot, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto. Foot managed to prove his theory that demographics are responsible for 2/3 of just about everything, by tying in U.S. and worldwide demographic statistics with current and future trends. "He made an otherwise dull subject very fascinating and extremely relevant to my business," remarked one participant.

ASA is currently soliciting input from all of its members for the content of its 2003 convention, which will be held September 29th through October 1st at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The ISH North America show will be held October 1-3, also at the Mandalay Bay, in the brand-new convention facility currently under construction.

Please send your comments or ideas for the 2003 convention to IngeC@asa.net.


One big change that went over well with just about everyone was the day-long agenda and the room set-up. By involving everyone, including distributors, manufacturers and independent reps, in the discussions, and by setting the room with round-tables, a lot of give-and-take that ordinarily does not take place in a classroom setting was encouraged.

"We'll definitely look to repeat the format next year," said Inge Calderon, ASA's Executive Vice President. "The subject matter will be updated, and we may even look at incorporating other partners in the supply chain in our discussions, but we'll definitely take the lead from the widespread acceptance of this year's program."