The growing influence of the Vendor Members within ASA is a welcome one among the distributor members. A glance at the list of the 200+ Vendor Members will quickly show that these companies represent the lion's share of products that are sold by ASA's wholesalers. Their involvement in and contributions to the future of the association is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

As of press time, the ASA Board of Directors was expected to meet on September 29th to discuss the increase in the number of Vendor Members on the Board (from three to six), and the election of a Vendor to the Executive Committee, a first for ASA. These changes were proposed on the basis of focus groups held throughout the last 18 months, comprised of members of ASA's Board as well as representatives from our Regional Affiliates and special interest groups.

Earlier this year, the Vendor Member Division sponsored a "Hot Topics" breakfast session designed to encourage open dialog among VMD members. About 30 Vendor Member executives took part in the March 19th program to talk about issues such as show consolidation, auction pricing practices, the need for common industry standards, etc. Additionally, growing trends were identified as areas to watch, including the declining industrial base in the U.S., shrinking margins throughout the channel, threats to manufacturers' brands, and environmental threats like asbestos, mold, and others.