Dear Industry Colleagues,

It has been an amazing year to have served as your president. From the maneuvering we’ve all experienced due to the economy, to today’s politics, it has been a unique year to have focused on our industry.

So much that has been achieved was driven by the ASA Strategic Plan. The foresight of the volunteers to develop a plan that is working and making our industry so much better is commendable, and they should be credited with putting in place the focus for our industry. 

ASA’s efforts in education have been driven by the Education Foundation Board and their energized staff. They developed several noteworthy new products: the 3D Residential Schematic, theEssentials of Profitable Warehouse Operations©, ASA University and ASAU Online. If you are not familiar with these, take a look And what is in future development is awesome. You can look forward to an exciting couple of years in the educational arena. Education is ASA’s strongest area and I recommend you make a point of utilizing these programs.

As distributors, we are in a relationship business, so networking is very important. ASA’s Vendor Member Division (VMD) has done an outstanding job with their guidance on how as supply chain partners we can be more effective together. We also made great strides in our buying group relationships by establishing working partnerships with A-D, Embassy and WIT.

ASA’s efforts in benchmarking came into their own this year, with the response to the Monthly Sales Market Analysis Report surpassing my expectations. This report sets a solid footprint for a powerful tool for ASA members. Along with our annual reports - the industry standard OPR and the compensation survey - benchmarking is an area our active members use to identify best practices.

And in the all-important advocacy area, I have learned more than in any other single area. The most important thing I learned is we must have a leading voice in Washington, D.C., and we as business leaders must be the ones who realizethis is part of our job. I am committed to being one of those who will not let this responsibility drop. Now, more then ever, we are in a time of legislation and regulation. We must, and we can, make a difference. I hope our other industry leaders do, too. Please be sure to mark your calendar now for ASA’s 2010 Legislative Fly-In, set for May 18 & 19 in Washington, D.C.

These accomplishments and my experiences would not have been possible without the support of so many. First is the outstanding staff at ASA. Mike Adelizzi has done an exceptional job leading a talented and dedicated group. They have done a great job and I am grateful for everything they did to make my life so much easier. To the regional associations’ presidents, boards and staffs, who hosted my wife Kate and I, we thank you. We have learned from so many great industry individuals that it would be impossible for me to list them all.

I look forward to the coming year as our industry is served by the great insight and strong devotion of Frank Nisonger of Slakey Bros. as your incoming President. I am hopeful that you will embrace him as much as you have done for me this year. 

It will be a year that I will never forget. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our amazing industry. I have one last request and that is toplease maximize your ASA membership. Get involved to whatever degree works for you. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Our company is a better company due to our involvement in ASA, and I know yours will be, too.

- Joe Poehling