Dear Industry Colleagues,

After this year, Johnny Cash has nothing on me. (Sing along with me…)  I’ve been to D.C., Long Beach, Maumee Bay and L.A…Knoxville, Nashville, St. Pete and Palm Coast…Atlanta, Belterra, Chicago and back again…I’ve been everywhere.   In many of these places, I’ve had the opportunity to address our members from all around the country.  The message I delivered is that ASA is rockin’ and rollin’, movin’ and groovin’ - a theme the Man in Black would appreciate for sure.

I clearly understood that my role in all of these meetings was to bring the message of ASA’s progress and success to the masses.  As time (and cities) passed, something interesting started to happen - I became the one who received a message. The rockin’ and rollin’, movin’ and groovin’ is not just happening at ASA, it’s taking place all over the country throughout all our regional affiliates and related associations. At some point during the year, the teacher became the student and I was WOWED by some things I learned:

  • In spite of how the economy is affecting many of our members, most I saw were positive and optimistic about their businesses and the future. Members are investing in their businesses through new growth opportunities in green building and the booming PVF market, training their employees and reinforcing the principles of profitability to weather the storm. 

  • The manufacturers reps in AIM/R are an impressive group of professionals. I was made to feel very welcome at their meeting and in their business sessions. It gave me real insight into how they run their businesses. I learned that while they certainly play hard (they are a fun crowd!) they work just as hard - every session was full and energized.

  • Our industry is full of great people. This certainly wasn’t a new lesson. It was one of those that is the equivalent of refresher training for your veteran salesmen.  Everywhere I went, not only did I see friends, but I made new ones. And every new person I met reinforced the fact that our association is made up of the best of the best in this industry. 

  • I’m really disappointed my travels are almost over. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t miss being warmly welcomed and treated like a VIP wherever he went? Sure, I’ll miss that aspect of my travels on behalf of ASA, but more than that I am going to miss learning about what’s going on with our members around the country. I find building relationships with my peers and the manufacturers who serve this industry is the best way to discover new ways to strengthen my own business. This quote by Vance Coffman, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin, summarizes my philosophy on this topic: “Learning is not something one dispenses with during the first third of his life. It is a lifelong endeavor, assuming, of course, one wants to stay competitive in his work.” From what I’ve seen around the country, it summarizes the philosophy of a lot of ASA members - manufacturers and distributors, large and small, independent and national. It’s one of the reasons ASA is so rockin’ and rollin’, movin’ and groovin’.

    September 1, 2008 marked the 245th day of my presidency. This seems the perfect opportunity to say how honored I’ve been to represent this organization. All along I thought it was my way of giving back and here I discovered this experience gave more to me than I could ever imagine. And, yes, I am still excited to be your president!

  • Jeff New