Dear Industry Colleagues,

Before I jump into my topic, I want to share with you my experience at NetworkASA 2009 in Washington D.C., our annual industry convention. I just returned from this remarkable event and find that each time I am at an industry gathering, I am impressed with the dedication, generosity and astuteness of the professionals that serve our channel. The programs were well-attended, the speakers stellar, the Capitol Hill visits made a significant impact in forwarding our legislative agenda, business sessions brought partners together, and we had a lot of fun. On behalf of the ASA Board, I want to thank every sponsor, every company who made the commitment to attend and every individual who participated with such a great level of enthusiasm. I also want to thank the ASA staff who did such a great job taking the chance to pull together this new direction for our new convention. It was very much different from those in the past and it really set a good foundation as we move forward. Finally, I want to thank David Kohler for delivering a great keynote address, as well as his overall support of our industry. As I’ve said all year, our association is only as strong as the members who are engaged and involved. From what I witnessed, ASA is strong and that will carry us well into the future. Be sure to read further coverage of NetworkASA 2009 in the pages ofASA News

One of the benefits of attending a meeting like this one is what you can learn - from the speakers, from the workshops, from your peers. The air is filled with the energy that comes from information being distributed and absorbed. It supports ASA’s strategic goal for anEducated Industry: ASA members’ employees will be the best trained, best educated and most professional in the industry.

Action Plan #1: Increase the buy-in among ASA members that education and training is needed and adds value.The combination of hard work and smart work is efficient work. Efficiency directly leads to profitability, something we all strive to achieve every day. The people who are employed in our industry work hard. But, howsmartdo they work? Have the old pros taken the time to keep their skills fresh and sharp?  Have the new employees been crossed-trained so they are ready for advancement? Training is an investment and your employees are your biggest asset.  Their skills need to be cared for and maintained in order to perform at the level you desire. 

Action Plan #2: Increase the number of key audiences viewing ASA training programs as the model for wholesale education.The ASA Education Foundation has taken great steps this year to make creating and implementing a training program as easy as possible. ASA members can receive personal guidance on how to develop a training agenda appropriate for their companies. The Foundation also has developed turn-key training programs based on its most popular Essentials series, where you can bring the training in-house and one fee covers speaker, materials and follow-up. Along with the Residential 3-D Schematic tool, there is the beginning of a commercial schematic with the introduction of the chiller piping in the newest version. And the Foundation has introduced ASAU Online, a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS) that delivers online, interactive training programs available any time from any computer.

With the advent of ASA University, especially ASAU Online, the ASA Education Foundation is positioned to be the go-to training source for all of your industry training needs. ASAU Online provides you with more viable training options. It can be used in a classroom setting or self-study or in groups by job function - and results can be tracked to monitor progress.  Plus, it is in the format in which many of the employees entering the industry today are most comfortable.

Make sure you do not fall behind the industry - give your employees as many competitive advantages as possible, especially being well trained.

- Joe Poehling