As this issue of Supply House Times hits yourmailboxes, the Fourth of July holiday celebrating our nation’s birth is right around the corner.

And speaking of celebrating, there are plenty of reasons around our industry to do just that. Where to start?

It is of great significance that many of you are part of small businesses — the backbone of this country’s economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms. Despite a healthy uptick in consolidation of late, small businesses and independent distributors aren’t going anywhere.

We are blessed as an industry to have so many sources of knowledge and education at our fingertips, whether that’s content generated by the continually expanding American Supply Association’s ASA University, distributor counter days, lunch and learns at a rep’s office or webinars hosted on manufacturers’ websites. And we’ve made it even easier for you to access Supply House Times while you are on the go with our mobile-responsive website. Learning opportunities are abundant and always right around the corner.

This industry continues to tackle head-on the issue of identifying and training the next generation of talent. ASA’s Young Executives division and similar groups belonging to regional associations, buying groups and even distributors themselves are providing networking and best-practices sharing opportunities that will help these young guns as they move forward in their careers. I attended the first day of this year’s Young Executives Spring Forum in Charlotte and saw a packed house of 135 ASA-member young executives taking full advantage of the two-day networking and education window. If you are thinking about joining the YE group, check out my video with YE Council Chairman Rogers Earl Jr. at

And speaking of the Spring Forum, attendees were given a treat in the form of keynote speaker Steve McClatchey who delivered about as practical a presentation as I can remember. How many of us in our hectic professional and personal lives could do a tad better with time management? I left the first part of his seminar with some great takeaways that I have been able to immediately put to use in terms of getting more done in less amount of time. Our website also contains a link to one of McClatchey’s videos — worth checking out.

We also must celebrate the emergence of the ASA Women in Industry group. Like the YEs, Women in Industry spotlights another growing segment in the industry. While you hear the term “male-dominated industry” all the time, that’s simply not the case anymore. Talented women are making contributions at all levels of PHCP-PVF companies throughout the country.

While the name on the marquee says plumbing, heating, cooling, bath and kitchen, or pipe, valves and fittings, distributors, manufacturers and reps are doing so much more than that in their communities. The Houston-based PVF Roundtableheld its annual golf tournament in mid-May that helps fund industrial distribution as well as certificate-based trade-school scholarships. Last year it gave out $100,000 worth of scholarships to two Texas universities and a packed house at Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land, Texas, this year only will help advance this wonderful program forward.

At the YE Spring Forum, more than $8,000 was raised toward Operation Rise and Conquer and Bradley Corp. made an exciting announcement regarding its participation in that initiative; Eastern Penn Supply recently announced it will donate, in partnership with selected vendors, $12,000 to three military-based causes; Express Pipe & Supply through its golf tournament raised more than $3,000 toward the Autism Speaks cause. Stories such as these are endless and speak to the high level of engagement industry companies have with their respective communities.

And hats off to all the volunteer leaders who donate their time and efforts to make sure our trade associations, buying groups and philanthropic efforts operate at their highest efficiencies possible.

But most importantly, let’s celebrate the big picture here. You work in an industry that performs a vital function — providing products and systems that help ensure the public’s safety.

To that and everything else here, let’s all raise our glasses.