I am thrilled to be ASA president during theseexciting times in our industry. 

ASA has experienced multiple years of net membership growth, our education programs are as popular as they’ve ever been, we have a solid-gold can’t-miss annual NETWORK event and our government affairs and advocacy initiatives continue to rapidly pick up momentum. 

How very fortunate for me and the ASA leadership that the association shows no signs of slowing down! As with my predecessors the last several years, being able to see ASA operate from my leadership viewpoint is quite extraordinary as ASA “advances the industry.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting growth areas I’ve been able to personally take part in are ASA’s government affairs and advocacy initiatives. With Dan Hilton, our fulltime “man in Washington” since fall 2010, we’ve been able to make some great strides in these particular areas. As a matter of fact, as I write this letter ASA and AD buying-group members, on behalf of the industry, just returned from Washington, D.C., after meeting with their elected officials on several issues (see Dan’s article in ASA News in this issue for more details). As a member-driven organization, valuable and consistent input is crucial. Nowhere is that more important than through our efforts in Washington.

Thanks to the efforts of ASA’s leadership, we continue to develop a variety of channels to enable members to provide their input in our nation’s capital. Dan has a regular presence on Capitol Hill in our ongoing battle regarding many industry issues.

For many who may not be aware, ASA makes it easy for its members to see who their members of Congress are, and more importantly, how they have voted on legislation important to their businesses. Also, for those who would like to review ASA’s Political Action Committee’s activities or grant it permission to solicit you (as required by law), you can do that by contacting Dan directly at 703/328-5234 or dhilton@asa.net.

There are many people who complain about failure in our nation’s capital. Few, however, make an effort to do anything about it. When was the last time you contacted your elected official?  Better yet, have you ever sent a letter or an email on your company’s letterhead to any of your members of Congress? Have you invited them to tour your company headquarters or meet with your management team? 

You may not be aware that ALL those things can be done through ASA. Over the last several years through our efforts in making direct contact, a large number of senators, congressmen and congresswomen have reached out to solicit ASA’s input on legislation impacting manufacturers and small businesses in our industry. ASA is making a difference! I urge you to visit the Advocacy section of ASA’s website at www.asa.net/Advocacy to see exactly what I’m describing.

In closing, and this is speaking from experience, nothing can take the place of an actual face-to-face visit on Capitol Hill. ASA has taken its annual legislative fly-in event one step further by collaborating with industry groups such as AD and WIT to join forces front and center in Washington advocating on our industry’s most important issues. 

Plans are for ASA to do even more collaboration in this area over the next few years. If given the opportunity you should experience a congressional visit if you have not already done so.  You will thank yourself for the experience in the long run.

This article was originally titled “Voice of the industry” in the May 2016 print edition of Supply House Times.