Dear Industry Colleagues,

When I first heard the case being made for Washington, D.C., as the host city for ASA’s 2009 national convention, I was highly skeptical. After all, I was never really a huge political guy. Don’t get me wrong, I complain with the best of them about what goes on in Washington. I just didn’t think that our members would be all that thrilled about the location, especially since part of our program includes everyone going to The Hill to meet with their legislators.

I am here to admit that I was wrong - or as a politician would say, what a great idea! I’m glad that I thought of it!

What changed my mind? Well, I had a powerful experience recently. I spent two days in our nation’s capital along with ASA’s executive vice president Mike Adelizzi and Pat O’Connor, who provides ASA government affairs representation in D.C. We were there during a highly historic time. Congress was working to pass the $780 billion stimulus package, some of which will actually help our industry, such as funding for water infrastructure, repeal of the 3% withholding, and an extension of the energy tax credit through 2011. I was amazed that the seven members of Congress we met with were interested in how this sweeping legislation would impact our businesses.

Whatreallyamazed me was while this historic legislation was being debated in all corners of Washington, several of the Congressmen that I met with were agreeing to sponsor later this summernewstimulus legislation that will help the PHCP/PVF industry. The entire nation consumed with the magnitude of this issue, news reporters all over the Capitol, no other votes being taken and there I was, in some small congressional office talking about a new concept to help our members that several Congressmen actually thought was a good idea. And, they pledged to work with ASA in passing it later this summer. It was impressive.

Never have I been more enthusiastic about the impact that ASA can have on the laws that are passed and their effect on our industry’s future. If just one person like me can go and make the impact I did, just think about what 500 or more of our members (and non-members) can do when we go up to The Hill during ASA’s convention in October. A storm of PHCP and PVF wholesalers and manufacturers, pressing the flesh, educating Congress and promoting our industry and the good that we do - it will make a powerful statement.

I am now a believer. And while I personally experienced the power one voice can have, I enthusiastically await experiencing the power of unity, when I and 500 other members of our industry make our presence known in October.

I know how tough it is out there - making the hard decisions to cut your budgets and ride out the storm. But after two days in Washington, I know now that there is actually something that we can do to make things just a little bit easier. We cannot sit by and let things happen to us, we can take action and have it make a difference - we can make things happen. Join us in October and share my experience of the power of one…and more.

Joe Poehling