I am honored to be ASA president in 2009. Having grown up in the industry, I am fortunate to be familiar with ASA as long as it has been in existence. My dad, Gary Poehling, was involved for many years with CSA, one of the organizations that became ASA. Being a responsible industry citizen has been instilled in me and I am lucky to have this opportunity to contribute.

In many jobs, there’s a transition period. That’s the time a person takes to ease in by getting to know the people, the position objectives and the future plans. Unfortunately, in our industry there’s no such thing as “easing in” as ASA president. The transition is one of sudden impact - jumping in with everything you have and in turn, being able to makea sudden impact. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The environment we find ourselves in today is certainly very turbulent and extremely daunting. There’s no time for easing in when our members are feeling the effects of the current recession at alarming levels. There may be no better time for a sudden impact than now. We must engage in this new reality with new thinking and develop new ways of doing things. We all must drive costs out of our channel by raising the standards and driving increased performance. Specifically, there are five areas where I feel taking action will make a significant impact on the current strength of the PHCP industry as well as assure its future.  

Education:  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of training for the demands of a powerful industry that has grown more complex, and will continue to do so. 

A unified industry voice:It’s a given that ASA will continue to fight for the best interests of our members, whatever the future brings. We will also keep the spotlight on our industry by being proactive on opportunities that are positive for our members.

Social responsibility:ASA will continue to be a leader in conservation by promoting responsible technology and green products. All of us must do our part in gaining the recognition of our industry’s leadership to promote the most environmentally responsible products and activities.  

Capacity to serve:We will be making a very concerted effort to include all partners in the supply chain. ASA has tremendous value it provides to the many organizations that serve the wholesale channel of distribution. By working together and joining the different strengths of these organizations and ASA, there are no goals that we cannot reach.

Benchmarking:We all perform based upon what and how we are measured. We must drive performance and measure, measure, measure.

Success in these areas has the potential to make a substantial, positive impact on our businesses and on the overall industry. I challenge you to think about your contribution - how will you be involved in what ASA will accomplish this year? It is certain that you and your company will benefit from membership in ASA, but how will you contribute to the association? 

The power of any association comes directly from its members. For ASA to be effective in advancing the interests of our industry, we need YOU. Every one of us can strengthen our association by being engaged and active participants. We are all more powerful and better able to be successful when we collaborate and work together. In the coming months, I look forward to talking about your ideas and the opportunities you have to become engaged with ASA and make your own sudden impact. 

Joe Poehling