As you read through the variouscolumns in Supply House Times this month, including ASA News, an obvious theme emerges: we all are part of a relationship-based industry. 

Whether it is the business relationships you have created with the firms in your buying group, the personal relationships you have built beginning with your first face-to-face meeting or the long-term friendships you have yet to start, it is very important to remember to manage and take care of those industry relationships.

In a world filled with Facebook, blogs, Twitter, other forms of social media and the constant need for immediate feedback and instantaneous communication, it definitely is refreshing to see the importance and value of the face-to-face relationship in the PHCP and PVF industry.  As I write this letter, I have just started my annual regional meeting industry “tour” as all ASA presidents do; visiting the WANE Executive Leadership Conference, the SWA Convention, various industry buying-group meetings and even a stop at the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating’s Annual Business Conference. 

On the topic of relationships, many of our industry’s most valuable ones begin at the annual ASA Young Executives Spring Forum.  This group of up-and-coming industry leaders has met each spring for many years, sharing thoughts and ideas with their peers, working to achieve common goals, learning from subject-matter experts and each other, and managing to have some fun in the process.  At this year’s event in Charlotte there were 131 attendees representing 41 wholesalers, 29 manufacturers/vendors, nine independent manufacturer representative firms and staff from two industry buying groups. This is more than a 180% increase in attendance since a new format for the program was introduced back in 2008. 

Another of ASA’s fastest growing divisions is Women in Industry.  The 2015 ASA Women in Industry Spring Conference was a unique opportunity for women engaged in building a career in the PHCP and PVF industry to network and build connections. Nearly 80 women from all facets of the industry met in Washington, D.C., in April with the focus on networking with other women building successful careers in the industry. 

On hand at the conference were speakers including BBC America Bureau Chief Katty Kay and HGTV entrepreneur Susan Packard, who challenged the group to become further engaged in the industry to assist in advancing into leadership roles. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this high-energy and committed team of women.

In addition, coming very soon will be Network 2015 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in October. This year’s event packs an even bigger punch than last year, so visit for more program information and get your event registrations in ASAP. Our goal is to have representatives from more than 150 wholesale distributor companies and we are very pleased with the strong early interest.

In closing, I would suggest in today’s fast-paced world we should regularly remind ourselves to invest in relationships. Our business relationships are a constant that we should nurture and care for regularly, regardless of how busy we are. 

Without them, our industry just wouldn’t be the same. 


This article was originally titled “Built on relationships” in the July 2015 print edition of Supply House Times.