Dear Industry Colleagues,

This issue ofSupply House Timesis a little thicker than usual - there’s an excellent reason why. Included in this issue is a catalog from ASA, in which you will find training and educational programs available from the ASA Education Foundation. Everyone needs to know how to be more profitable these days, don’t you think? And who better to lead the way than the people on the front lines who talk to your customers every day? You can make positive use out of this economic downturn by investing time and relatively few dollars into the professional development of your biggest asset: your employees. Look through this catalog and you will find the best industry-specific training programs available, an excellent investment that will pay dividends for years.

Here is another investment that will pay dividends for years: I am here to attest to the WOW factor that happens when you host a congressional visit at your business. When Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president, first mentioned the idea, I was intrigued but not really sure if it would be worth it. Would my congressman come?  Would there be any return for me? I decided to let someone do it first and see what happened. Joel Becker of Torrington Supply was the brave (and smart) one who stepped up to the plate. His enthusiasm about how the day went and how simple it was to set-up convinced me to give it a try.

We had Congressman Joe Donnelly come for a visit in January. For the relatively little time investment it took to set it up, the payoff has beenhuge. Congressman Donnelly saw my business first-hand and left smarter about our industry than he was when he arrived. And let’s talk about the WOW that came from the Q&A with our employees.  Each member of our team had the chance to speak directly to him, ask questions, share concerns. Their voices were heard. Talk about making someone feel a valued and important member of your team - you can’t get better than that. Those “instant rebates” have nothing on the long-term dividends Mid-City is reaping from this visit. He visited us again in June. I now have a relationship with Congressman Donnelly. We maintain an ongoing dialog about issues that matter to our industry - I have someone in Washington, D.C., who listens to what I have to say! That gives me a huge advantage in strengthening my business today and in the future.

By the time this goes to print, I expect to have had a visit with Congressman Mark Souder. I’ve also extended an invitation to the Governor of Indiana and am awaiting his response. 

Hosting one of these visits is so easy, especially when you use the step-by-step guide ASA has developed to lead you through the process. It was sent to all ASA members in June, and you can go towww.asa.netand download it there. I strongly encourage every ASA member to extend an invitation to their congressional leaders today. August is the ideal time to do it because Congress is in recess and the representatives are back in their districts seeking out opportunities to get face-to-face with their constituents. You can provide them that golden opportunity, and talk to them about your business and our industry. It will pay dividends not just during these dog days of summer, but for years to come. 

Congressional visits is just one reason why I’mstillexcited about being ASA president!

Jeff New