Jeff New

Dear Industry Colleagues,
Happy 2008! I always enjoy the start of a new year because it’s like starting over, but getting to keep all the wisdom that you’ve acquired from the previous year’s experiences – how great is that? The possibilities always seem so endless that I can’t help but be inspired.

This year is particularly exciting for me because I am fulfilling a life-long dream of mine, which was to be the president of ASA. Growing up in this business and becoming involved in ASA for the first time in 1977, the more I experienced, the more I knew that someday I wanted to have the chance to lead this organization. And here I am, starting my term and looking at a year of endless possibilities for ASA and our industry as a whole.

Now, in order to be effective, I realize I need to focus my time and energy on just a few of those endless possibilities. In thinking about what I see as priorities for our industry and what kind of support that I - as a fellow wholesaler - need from my industry association, I am starting off my presidency focusing on two items: continuing with the Professional Peer Networking Councils started by my predecessor, Joel Becker, and invigorating ASA’s Government Affairs program.

To date, we’ve had two Council meetings - a Training Council for HR professionals and the people who are responsible for training at a company; and a Showroom Managers Council. My company was represented at both meetings. Both meetings sold out well before the deadline date (55 at the training Council and 80 at the Showroom Managers Council!) and all the participants have come away excited, thrilled with the contacts they’ve made and enthusiastic about planning the next meeting. Every CEO in this industry knows full well the value of networking, now ASA is bringing this benefit to all levels of your organization. Next up are the Warehouse & Operations Council meeting in Dallas February 26 - 27, 2008, and the second Training Council meeting in Dallas February 28 -29, 2008. I’ve got my people signed up for these, too. These programs can strengthen the future of your company by giving your employees greater contacts and more insight into issues and solutions we all face every day - I urge you to get your people involved, I can promise you won’t be disappointed.

The ASA Government Affairs program is one of our industry’s best-kept secrets. This program works behind the scenes every day, working proactively for you, even if you don’t realize it.

ASA works with Kent & O’Connor - our representatives in Washington, D.C. - on issues that are hot right now, but we also do a lot of work on issues that haven’t yet bubbled to the surface. I like to call it acting before the crisis. We can all rally behind a cause when it is in front of our faces, but my goal for this year is to increase the amount of work ASA’s Government Affairs Program does before the crisis hits. We’ve wrapped-up our 2007 agenda now, but stay tuned for the next couple of months because you’ll hear more from me, and ASA, on our plans for 2008.

I thank you all for the opportunity to be your president in 2008; I thank you for your support and I thank you for your confidence. I especially thank all the volunteers that are committed to improving our industry through their involvement in ASA. I am excited about the upcoming year, and I look forward to 2008 being a great year for us all.

Jeff New
Mid-City Supply Co., Inc.