Dear Industry Colleagues,
A motivation to join ASA is often the common bond of being a business owner or
supplier in the PHCP and PVF industry. Membership allows one to associate with
people employed at companies similar to yours, who face many of the same
day-to-day and long-term issues you do, and brings together all of us for the
greater good of the industry. ASA has endured by following this philosophy, but
grown and thrived by modifying it in a unique way.
At some point in the now distant past, the leadership of ASA realized that
while all members had in common the industry they served, some companies were
set apart by their involvement in specialized markets. In response to the needs
of these members, ASA leadership created special interest divisions to drive
programming and sharing of resources among existing ASA members whose companies
could be served on a deeper level, by focusing on those specialized markets and
First it was the Associate Member Division, now known as the Vendor Member
Division, which guided industry suppliers and manufacturers and focused on the
issues of interest to them, greatly different than those of the wholesalers.
Soon after, a group of companies that had heavy concentration in the industrial
and mechanical pipe, valves and fittings market joined together and formed the
Industrial Piping Division.
As the companies that founded ASA started to turn the reins over to the next
generation, it became a priority to create a group that would nurture and
develop these future leaders. The Young Executives Division offered information
and relationships that would build a web of support to usher in the new leaders
for years to come.
This year, the Board of Directors approved the development of the Plumbing
Division, which will give distributors and manufacturers involved in the
distribution of standard plumbing products the ability to evaluate and deliver
programs and services that address more specific issues related to that
Some other organizations may look at these special interest divisions and
wonder why ASA would fragment itself in such a way. Doesn’t it hurt the
association’s ability to fulfill its mission? Doesn’t it create deep divisions
among the membership? Doesn’t it go directly against the philosophy of an
association to serve the common interest of a specific group? On the contrary,
these divisions have only made ASA stronger and, as a result, of greater value
to its members and the industry as a whole.
As a member-run organization, you can imagine that when it comes time for the
Board of Directors to develop programs, identify services, and plan events for
the coming year, everyone has an opinion. This is a good thing because it means
that we have a very diverse membership and we can all learn from each other. A
down side is that some of the ideas apply only to a select number of companies.
How does such a diverse group as the Board of Directors discuss, evaluate and
prioritize all of this in a way that is timely and makes sense for the
association? It doesn’t. This is where the special interest divisions show how
invaluable they have become to our association. Each group has an executive
council that meets regularly and works together to identify how ASA can best
allocate resources to address their unique needs and create value for their
By first allowing them to work amongst themselves, and then bringing them
together to share their knowledge with each other, these special interest
divisions educate the collective ASA membership on their arm of the industry.
This structure has provided a level of understanding for all companies, which
has made our association stronger. ASA members understand the “big picture” of
how we’re all inter-related and provide value to each other.
So while the term “divisions” may imply separation, to the credit of the
volunteer leadership and ASA staff, the implementation of this structure has
had the complete opposite effect. ASA is stronger and better able to serve the
entire industry because of its divisions. Take a look at the article on page 76
of ASA News about the Plumbing Division, which goes into greater detail on the
form and function of special interest divisions. Then, contact Mike Adelizzi or
Chris Murin at ASA and get your company involved. Membership in ASA and one of
these groups provide tangible value for your investment, and that’s certainly
something we all want, regardless of how our interests divide us.