They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Doctors read medical journals to learn about new treatments and technologies, baseball players study each other to pick up tips to help their games and it seems around every corner there is an opportunity to enhance one’s cooking repertoire.

In fact, you’ve probably found something in this issue that may be of interest to your business.

Journalists are no different. I enjoy reading other writers’ work and sometimes find myself making mental notes of the use of certain words or a particular writing style.

I’ve read one Chicago columnist since first discovering him in the newspaper every morning on the train headed to college. It got to the point where my first order of business was to check the table of contents to see what page he was on.

  • On occasion this gentleman will write about a number of different topics in one column. He calls it his “Robservations,” replacing the first three letters in the word observations with the first three letters in his first name. I won’t go as far as calling these “Mikeservations,” but there has been plenty to observe in our industry of late.

Over the last year or so, I’ve written a good amount about the need to attract young workers in this industry. It’s a topic that is brought up at just about every event I go to and I’m sure it will be talked about during the upcoming AIM/R and NetworkASA 2013 events. AIM/R member Zach Hudgins of White Wolf Group has some thoughts on the subject. The article can be found here.

Along the same lines, a group of ASA Young Executives members was at Supply House Times headquarters in August filming testimonials in our new video studio for a major industry employment initiative being rolled out by ASA in the near future. For more exclusive details on ASA’s plans, visit I’ll also have more about this in next month’s issue.

The good news here is that while there is a strong need to attract young people into this industry, there are plenty of people doing their best to try and make it happen.

  • At the same time, let’s not forget about the industry veterans who have helped build their companies into successes and have made this industry what it is today. I recently was at a media event in Chicago where plumbing, heating and pipe-joining system manufacturer Viega introduced new President and CEO Dave Garlow and COO Robert Boots. Garlow talked about how retiring President Dan Schmierer has been a great mentor to him throughout the years.

Plenty of great mentors in the industry will continue to play important roles in nurturing the next generation of talent. I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the mentors I’ve had in my professional career (not including the fellow at the local nursery who threw a shovel at me on the second day of my first job in high school).

  • Where is this industry heading in the short term? At the beginning of the year, optimism was high. I recall seeing some positive numbers in Omni’s annual report to its membership. By mid-year, several business reports that came across the desk indicated some downward trends. Now, it looks like the arrow is pointing up again.

The summer PVF Roundtable in Houston painted a bright picture for the industrial PVF industry. As our own Morris Beschloss told the large gathering, the best is yet to come.

I’ll be particularly interested to hear analyst Alan Beaulieu’s industry forecast next month at NetworkASA in Washington. His forecast last year in Orlando gave wholesalers and manufacturers valuable information to work with. Our preview of NetworkASA 2013 can be found here.

  • In recent years, we’ve made a big push to deliver information you can use in a variety of different formats. In the next few months, you’ll see even more of that with additional exclusive content in our digital editions, on our website and in our various eNewsletters.

 And if you would like to see a topic written about or have an opinion on something you’ve seen in the magazine or on our website, don’t hesitate to contact me at or 847/405-4056. My door is always open.