Dear Industry Colleagues,
What an honor and a privilege it is to have been asked to serve as 2014 ASA president.
My father, Herb Strong Jr., served as ASA president in 1996 and I am very proud to follow his lead. I also am very proud to take ASA into 2014 after two consecutive years of net membership growth, a milestone we previously had not reached in decades. I am 100% committed to leading ASA in continuing this growth into a new year.
As I mentioned during my address at the Annual Meeting & Member Lunch at NetworkASA 2013 this past October, it is no coincidence ASA is making great progress. NetworkASA has enjoyed a “rebirth” of sorts as we have experienced our broadest wholesaler presence in decades at the event the last two years.
Our financial health is the best it has been in years, our educational programs and ASA University continue to thrive, Dan Hilton’s advocacy efforts have brought the PHCP / PVF industry to the forefront in Washington, D.C., our benchmarking reports and recently launched forecasting program are healthy and vibrant, and our staff in Chicago continues to keep its “foot on the gas” under the very capable leadership of Executive Vice President Mike Adelizzi. Along with our progress comes opportunity and achievement, and we’ve been able to leverage both to our benefit.
Perhaps one of the most underrated achievements of ASA in recent years is our strengthened partnerships with industry buying groups. It wasn’t long ago ASA considered buying groups as “the competition.” We have learned this simply is not true. ASA currently has a very solid relationship and presence within Omni, Embassy, WIT, Affiliated Distributors and Equity Plumbing. At least one ASA staff member and one ASA Education staff member are present at these groups’ annual meetings, and it goes without saying ASA has a large number of members within each of these groups as well. Our leadership has found many ways to collaborate with the buying groups to further develop our industry, and I see that continuing well into the future.
Speaking of industry strength, one of my main areas of focus in 2014 will be to promote awareness and the ASA value proposition to the small, independent wholesaler, just like my company, Economy Plumbing Supply. ASA’s four “legs of the stool” are Education, Advocacy, Networking and Business Intelligence. These all are areas the small independents can use assistance with. We need not look any further than ASA for that assistance. In addition to the great programs in place I’ve already mentioned, we also have many new initiatives on the horizon.
Another area of focus for me this year will be ASA’s regions. As you all know, you get out what you put in, and ASA’s regions are a great place to start in the area of participation. I strongly encourage anyone not involved on the regional level to take that first step. You will not be disappointed. Contact ASA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630/467-0000 for more information on getting involved.
I’ll close my first “Letter From the ASA President” with two points: I like where we are headed as an association, and I am glad to be a part of it. I look forward to a great year in 2014!