Dear Industry Colleagues,
I am looking forward to the year ahead. Like so many things in life, my year of
serving as ASA’s president always seemed so far away. Now it’s here.
Fortunately, I am ready for it. I plan on building upon the strong foundation
set by those who served before me, plus working on some new goals I believe are
important to the success of ASA’s members and the future of our
Without a doubt, it has been a challenging couple of years for our industry,
our companies and our association. There hasn’t been a lot of good news to
share, but I’m here to bring you some. The economyisgoing to recover. Our
businesseswillthrive again. My question is - will we be ready for it?
ASA’s Strategic Plan will continue to be our guide in 2010. There are a few
areas that I see as crucial to develop this year in order to help our members
prepare to compete during the economic recovery.
First and foremost is government affairs. Regulations and programs being
enacted by the government are driving up business costs and are making
companies unable to compete with foreign products. We need to work to promote
business-friendly legislation and defeat unfavorable regulations and programs
NOW, before we experience their effects and wish we had. ASA members need to
not only take action ourselves, but take it even further by informing and
educating our employees, families and friends about the issues that affect our
businesses and how their vote can make a difference to all of us.
While the economy is still in flux, now is the time for wholesalers and
manufacturers to come together to work more collectively and profitably to
survive. We all know pricing isn’t the answer. I will work to develop
opportunities where we can bring together manufacturers, their professional
representatives and wholesaler distributors to discuss issues that drive cost
and hurt profitability on both sides. Loyalty to domestic manufacturers is
something I believe in and would like to promote throughout the channel.
In the not-too-distant future, business will be at a level again that will
require all of us to hire additional employees. A challenge that we’ve had at
Slakey Brothers, and I know others have experienced as well, is finding people
who know about our business and understand what we do - we are “The Invisible
Industry.” I would like to see our industry be one that job-hunters seek out
and realize is not just a job, but a desirable and worthwhile profession. Now
that we have increased our activity in government affairs and other areas that
impact the public, we need to capitalize on it to increase the visibility of
our industry and the vital role our businesses play in local, state, regional
and national economies.
One way of increasing visibility is ensuring the quality of the employees we do
have. The ASA Education Foundation provides the tools we need to be successful;
it’s up to us to use them. In a multi-product business like ours, employees
need to know about many different items and understand how to help customers.
Most don’t know much about distribution or the plumbing and PVF industry when
they come in. Those we are lucky enough to find that do may need other
education, like customer service or management training. It’s up to each ASA
member to educate their employees.
ASA 2009 was about providing tools and resources our members needed immediately
in order to survive and compete in an economically depressed market. Now that
those programs are in place and are making a difference, it’s time to become
proactive for what’s to come. ASA 2010 will be about preparing today for
tomorrow. And so it begins… Your association is ready - get involved and make
sure you are, too.