Dear Industry Colleagues,

Back in May, I talked about how as the president of our industry’s association, I get to do a lot of cool things.  Now that it’s November, I’m here to admit that I didn’t know the half of it then!  I don’t mean use those giant scissors to cut a ribbon or take a shiny shovel and dig up some dirt for a photo-op. I mean really cool things, like meet awesome industry people across the country I never would have known without this opportunity, participate in a signing ceremony with OSHA in Washington, D.C., and be witness and ambassador to the dedication and generosity of those who make up the membership of our association. 

Network’08 was one of the best ASA conventions I’ve ever attended. The reasons why are the result of your actions. Think about it in a way similar to the age-old question: if a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it, does it make a noise? If a convention has a full agenda of excellent speakers and lively networking opportunities, does it impact an industry if there’s nobody there to gain from it?  While the tree question will be up for debate for all eternity, there’s no doubt to the answer of the second one - no way. It takes people, devoted people, who come out in spite of a down business cycle and an epic economic crisis, to support their industry and their association. I saw hundreds of reasons why in spite of what’s going on all around us economically, I have faith that our industry will not only survive but prosper. Those reasons are the men and women who are dedicated to coming to these events, participating in the seminars and workshops, furiously taking notes and going back to their businesses to make them better with what they learned. ASA couldn’t exist without you. For investing in us with your time and your dollars, you have the thanks of a grateful association.

Another group that went above and beyond are the companies who stepped up to sponsor the events at this convention. Their participation allowed ASA to produce the outstanding seminars, events and networking opportunities at Network’08. These are not easy times for any company, and making this kind of significant commitment demonstrates a confidence in ASA that is deeply gratifying to the entire association, and especially to me as its president. An encore listing of these companies is well-deserved:  Bradford White Corp., InSinkErator, Elkay, American Standard, A.O. Smith, Federated Insurance, Kohler, Weldbend, ASA Education Foundation, PHCC Educational Foundation, Noritz, Anvil International, Legend Valve, NIBCO, and Hercules.  Thank you for all you did in making Network’08 a truly valuable and memorable event; you have the thanks of a grateful association.

I could go on and on about so many of the spectacular moments of Network’08, but I’d just be repeating what’s already in this magazine. Jim Olsztynski gives a great summary of the meeting on pages 40-42 and there’s more coverage in the pages of ASA News. Read all about it, and then plan on attending next year’s convention - NetworkASA 2009 - in Washington, D.C.  There are big plans in the works for the future you won’t want to miss. With just two months to go in my term, I’m still excited to be president of this great association!!

Jeff New