Dear Industry Colleagues,

Last month I talked about how my favorite part of this job was bringing the WOW Factor of ASA to people all around the country. What’s been so great about being ASA president this year is that the association is continually giving me more and more of these WOW Factors that I can talk about. When the association announced a couple of years ago “it’s a new day at ASA,” I didn’t imagine anything like I’ve experienced in the past year. ASA is driving programs, promoting our industry and meeting our needs in ways that really drive home the value of being a member of this great organization. When I got a sneak peek at the agenda for this year’s ASA convention, the first thought I had was “WOW.” It’s impressive when even the president of the association can still be WOWed.

First of all, I’m a big fan of the theme:Network ’08: Sustainability. Responsibility. Profitability.In this era of generic, motivational, something-for-everyone meeting themes, it’s refreshing to know exactly what I’m getting for my money. It’s specific, it’s topical and it speaks to the issue that is most important to anyone running a business - profitability.

Now I know it’s one thing to say the meeting will address profitability, but it’s a whole other thing to actuallydeliveron it. That brings me to my next point - this meeting will deliver! The seminars and workshops scheduled provide a plethora of ways to improve, analyze and create new opportunities on the path to profitability. There is a lot of WOW in this agenda.

Finally, the seminar topics speak directly to some of the most pressing trends we’re seeing in the industry right now: sustainable products and social and environmental responsibility - the whole “going green” thing. Having participated in ASA’s Legislative Fly-In to Washington, D.C., I heard first-hand about how these issues are finding their way into just about every single piece of legislation and regulatory proposal directly and indirectly impacting our industry. The presentations scheduled speak to these issues not in the overall, “big picture” sense of sustainability and responsibility, but address their specific effect on running our businesses. This isexactlythe type of action a trade association needs to take - to help its members understand what’s going on in the industry and how to make it work for them. ASA has got it all going on in this area and it is just one of the many reasons I amstillso excited to be president!

If it has been a while since you’ve attended an ASA convention, I think this year is the year you should reconsider that decision. If you come every year (thank you) I urge you to consider bringing some of the rising stars in your organization to this year’s event. As always, the opportunities for networking and learning from peers are second-to-none. The same can be said about this year’s seminars and workshops.

I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta. Until next month, keep discovering what makes you say WOW about ASA.