Dear Industry Colleagues,

I would like to begin by saluting my fun-loving, hardworking good friend Inge Calderon as she moves on from ASA. ASA - and our industry - owe much to her for her contribution to the success of ASA. After 24 years of service, 12 of those as Executive VP of ASA and two years as the Executive Director of the ASA Education Foundation, she has earned her spot among those who have forever impacted this industry. We will miss Inge and we know she will have a wonderful, enriching time in this new phase of her life.

In last month’s letter, I spoke about positive leadership and its role in meeting the challenges of the economic environment that faces us all. This month I would like to follow up with thoughts on how to win in that environment. There is an old adage that is very true in today’s market and that adage is “Information is power.” Someone once said, “Information capture, or knowledge management, is fast becoming the true competitive advantage of any company. People are certainly valuable resources and the information they hold is useful, but far more so if shared with others.” I bring this up now because we should be looking forward to one of the greatest benefits of ASA that is coming in October:NetworkASA 2009. This year’s convention will mark the 40th anniversary of ASA as a progressive force in our industry. Events at this year’s annual convention will provide a wealth of information from industry leaders such as David Kohler, and Jerry M. Howard, President and CEO of NAHB, and national commentators like George Will. These headline speakers, channel partners, and peer interactions are powerful tools of information that we all will be able to bring back to our own businesses.

This year’s convention will be placing emphasis on the competitive advantages that we will use to meet the demands of today’s economic atmosphere. Survival tactics, future trends, roundtable discussions and the IPD Educational Forum will cover topics that can make an immediate impact on our businesses.

The location for NetworkASA 2009 is in the most powerful and exciting city in the United States. No, it isn’t La Crosse, Wisconsin; it is Washington D.C., the historical and cultural center of our nation. We will be present at a White House Briefing, as well as participate in Capitol Hill Legislative visits. We will be participating in important information exchanges with industrial and government leaders that affect our futures at a national level.

NetworkASA 2009 is the event to power you up for success in 2010. Take some time to readASA Newsand plan on joining me in Washington D.C., this October where I will see you one evening on the monument tour. It is going to be a great time.

Joe Poehling