Dear Industry Colleagues,

Responsibility is one of the most basic tenets that ground us. We learn it as young children, we practice applying it as we age and we share our expectations of it with others when opportunities arise. Owning and running a business carries with it enormous responsibility - to your family, your employees, your customers, your suppliers, your community, your industry and your country. Today, the bar is set high on businesses to fulfill not only those I’ve already mentioned, but a new collection of social responsibilities as well.

The “Green Movement” has a very strong influence on our discussions of our strategic plan. Expectations from end-users are high - from beginning to end in the supply chain, they are looking for companies who care about the environment and make, sell or install products that align with those expectations. Companies are seeking out ways to conserve resources in hopes to save costs. Social responsibility is one of ASA’s main goals:ASA will be recognized as an industry leader in conservation, responsible technology, and green consciousness.

Now what, exactly, does that mean? And how can ASA, as a national trade association, promote and put into effect these responsibilities as it serves its membership? We take our strengths and apply them to move forward with strategies that support this goal. 

ACTION PLAN #1: Align with like-minded groups to support the development of more efficient water and sewage infrastructure.

Almost immediately following this directive, ASA sealed a partnership with the EPA through its WaterSense program, which outlines ways to protect our nation’s water supply by promoting the market for water-efficient products and services. It’s a natural fit for ASA. Reflecting ASA’s efforts, many of our VMD members are partnering with the EPA to offer these products to the marketplace. ASA is proud of the innovation and efficiency that the members of the PHCP industry bring in conserving this precious resource for generations to come.

ACTION PLAN #2: Advocate on national, state and local levels for infrastructure development.

We regularly sit in the offices of legislators and talk about the importance of including water infrastructure programs in the stimulus packages that come before Congress. We have been successful in that the first stimulus package passed included not only funding for water infrastructure, but also a repeal of the 3% withholding, and an extension of the energy tax credit through 2011. We continue to lobby Congress and work with important coalitions to promote this ongoing need and educate Congress on our industry’s vital role in the nation’s economy. 

ACTION PLAN #3: Increase recognition of our industry as promoting the most environmentally-responsible products and activities in the green world.

During one of our visits to D.C., we proposed a concept that quickly grew wings and became the Water Accountability Tax Efficiency Reinvestment Act of 2009 (W.A.T.E.R.), which would provide consumers with a 30% tax credit on EPA WaterSense-approved plumbing fixtures. It was introduced in the House in April and a companion bill quickly followed in the Senate. To date, the bill has 14 co-sponsors in the House and eight in the Senate. ASA created and chairs a coalition of 13 associations and manufacturers, which is working to get the bill passed by the end of 2009. Most recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a similar bill, which we are supporting as well, that increases the tax credit to 50% of a $1,500 expenditure, and makes the credit annual through 2014. The leadership role ASA took with these is a significant stepping-stone to raising our level of recognition with key legislative and regulatory agencies, which we will cultivate into greater recognition by the public at large.

These measurable actions we’ve taken this year will have a positive impact on our industry, our environment and our society for years to come. I am proud to be part of an organization that recognizes the responsibility we have to do the right thing, and the positive results that come from it.

- Joe Poehling