Dear Industry Colleagues,

Last month I talked about the importance of ASA’s role in bringing the industry together. Whether ASA is acting as a conduit to bring together distributors, manufacturers and manufacturers reps, or being a participant in a partnership, as with buying groups, it’s of vital importance we don’t stop at that first step of coming together. The end of Henry Ford’s famous quote is, “Working together is success.” As president, that’s what I’m committing to this year, working togetherandsuccess.

There’s no time like the present to start, and that’s exactly what happened at the ASA board meeting in February. I’ve never known an ASA board meeting to have a “theme,” but this year it definitely felt like there was a force driving all parts of the meeting, and it was all about working together to create success.

The first accomplishment was a joint meeting of the IPD Executive Council, the Vendor Member Division (VMD) Executive Council and the ASA Executive Committee. It’s hard to imagine, but the leadership of our association and two of its most popular and successful divisions had not sat down together in anyone’s recent memory. How did we miss this? Sure, a representative from each group would give a report to the others, but we all know that’s nowhere near as effective as getting all the players in the room to have an open discussion about direction, priorities and how to create success for each arm of the membership these groups represent.Working together.I can assure you it was a success, and we will continue to bring these groups together regularly in the future to share information and coordinate efforts.

The next day, the entire board of directors - including distributors, manufacturers, manufacturers reps, regional executives and ASA staff - came together to review and analyze ASA’s strategic plan. The board was divided into smaller work groups, ensuring that each community ASA serves had a voice in this process. I was not assigned to a group; instead, I walked around the room and was able to listen in on all the conversations taking place. Truth be told, I think I had the best assignment. What I witnessed was 65 individuals who were passionate, committed and had the best interests of our association and industry as their top priority. I will be so proud to go out as the president this year and share with people around the country that the future of the association is in great hands, led by people with minds that are both sharp and open to the possibilities that lie ahead.

Some of those possibilities we are set to turn into realities this year. One example of this great thinking is the creation of a plumbing division, following the model that has made IPD such a vital partner in the businesses of our members who serve the industrial and mechanical pipe, valves and fittings markets. This division will focus on items and issues that are unique to the standard plumbing market and allow for the development of more specialized programs as driven by the needs of this membership.

Another is the development of a Branch Manager Certification program. There’s a task force already in place, laying the foundation for what is sure to become a standard requirement of all branch managers in our industry.

Yet another is to bring ASA’s industry benchmarking data to the national stage through distribution to news agencies and economic magazines that reach audiences beyond our industry and include the general population. ASA is the unified voice of the PHCP and PVF industry. This initiative will bring additional national recognition to our association and its membership.

This is just a small sample of what came out of that session. I look forward to sharing more with you on this throughout the year. What makes it all possible are unique individuals with a common interest - our industry - working together for success. Let’s keep doing it.

Frank Nisonger
Slakey Brothers