“NetworkASA has become the industry meeting we attend because there, we receive information we don’t get anywhere else,” begins Robert Vick, vice president business development for Legend Valve and chairman of ASA’s Vendor Member Division. NetworkASA 2010: THRIVE is being held October 12-15 in Chicago and the agenda already has industry leaders motivated to attend. “A distinguishing factor about the meeting is it’s held in October, which allows manufacturers to get economic information at the end of the year and plan our business models for 2011. The value of the meeting for me is that we can get our budgets and strategies in line because ASA provides us with information that we’re not going to get at a buying group meeting or other industry meeting,” says Vick. On the agenda again this year are two programs that were introduced last year to outstanding reviews: Industry Interchange and the Wholesaler and Vendor Conference Appointments. “Last year, for the first time in 40 years ASA overhauled the interaction that manufacturers have with wholesalers,” continues Vick. “The conference appointments created an environment that allowed discussions beyond the ‘hello, how are you?’ of the past. When you have a sit down, face-to-face with nobody else around, it provides a chance to really talk about things. Instead of standing around waiting for the walk-bys, vendors can select key wholesalers that they wanted to do something with, get results from. That’s why those meetings were more productive than any trade show booth meetings held in the past.” Complementing the networking meetings, internationally-known speakers will provide insight into economic trends, leadership values, and the impact government legislation - such as the healthcare bill - will have on a business. Industry favorite Dr. Don McNeely will provide an invaluable look at an erratic economy and how industry leaders can identify strategies for success in an increasingly commoditized world of PHCP and PVF distribution. Political strategist, author and television commentator Karl Rove will look at the 2010 mid-term elections and their effect on many of the issues impacting the PHCP and PVF markets. Cultural icons such as Mike Ditka and Daniel “RUDY” Ruettiger will inspire those present to achieve greatness and leave attendees re-energized to gain success. “At a time when other associations are cutting their programs resulting in a decrease of value for attendees, ASA has expanded the value by bringing a line-up of experts not seen in any previous NetworkASA conferences,” shares Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president. “Today, many manufacturers are searching for that slight edge over their competition to win sales in this highly competitive economy. NetworkASA 2010 has been developed to provide that edge. From educational topics that analyze end-user markets, to gaining new marketing ideas from industry experts, NetworkASA 2010 is the place to be if you are serious about thriving in the future,” adds Adelizzi. “Members of the ASA Vendor Member Division, the Industrial Piping Division and the Association’s Executive Committee jointly met last February to lay plans for ramping- up the value of NetworkASA as a vital industry event that will be invaluable to the profi table operation of manufacturers and distributors,” adds Mark Whittington, senior vice president of sales PPD for Elkay Manufacturing Company. “Looking at the 2010 program, it would be hard to pass on attending if you are serious about being a market leader in the coming years.” “Members of the Industrial Piping Division are pleased with the serious commitment the association has shown by investing tremendous resources to offer a highly robust program for PVF manufacturers and distributors,” echoes Larry Dildine, president of The Phoenix Forge Group and member of the IPD Executive Council. “The IPD Executive Council worked with ASA to plan a series of meetings and seminars that truly have me energized about attending. I feel strongly the timely information that will be presented and the topical discussions make NetworkASA 2010 a ‘can’t miss’ event, especially in tough economic times.” Concludes Vick, “The meeting has been designed with a specific result in mind – manufacturers and wholesalers working together, looking forward in order to get the right results for next year.” Premier Vendor Program Spotlights Industry Vendors The American Supply Association Premier Vendor Program is designed to recognize the unique contributions that vendors make to the success of the association and the advancement of the PHCP and PVF industry. ASA values the efforts put forth by industry vendors that strengthen the channel of distribution. “The whole idea behind the Premier Vendor Program is to show wholesalers the vendors in our industry who walk the walk,” states Robert Vick, vice president business development for Legend Valve and chairman of ASA’s Vendor Member Division. “Being part of an association should be more than just paying your dues and sitting back, waiting for something good to happen. You’re only going to get out of an organization what you put into it.” Of significant importance to many companies involved in the Premier Vendor Program is that there is an opportunity to earn recognition without having to make a significant monetary investment. In addition to becoming an ASA Supplier Partner or donating to the Karl E. Neupert Endowment Fund, diamond awards are distributed for other activities, such as: membership in ASA, recruiting a new ASA member, attending an ASA regional convention or serving on an ASA Committee. “The Premier Vendor Program is twofold: it recognizes those who are involved and it encourages others to get more involved and get more out of their membership in ASA.” “As a wholesaler, it is important to me how invested a company is in our industry association,” shares Frank Nisonger, president of Slakey Brothers, Inc. and current ASA president. “If we are deciding between vendors and all other considerations are equal, we will consider how each company is involved with ASA and supportive of our industry to help guide our choices.” For more information on the ASA Premier Vendor Program, please contact Mike Adelizzi at (312) 464.0090, ext. 201. To view a complete listing of the companies in the 2010 Premier Vendor Program, please visit the Benchmarking section of www.asa.net. BrassCraft Partners with Industry Leaders in Fort Worth An important priority for any successful business as well as for the industry is to identify and connect the people who represent the next generation of leadership. ASA’s Young Executives (YE) Division is focused on developing the necessary skills and cultivating key relationships that are critical for the next generation of leadership to succeed in the industry. “Over the past three years, we have redefined the annual Spring Forum program and made the Young Executives into the fastest growing segment of membership in ASA,” said Chris Fasano, outgoing Chairman of ASA’s Young Execs. Instrumental to this success has been the generous support from supplier partners, including BrassCraft Manufacturing for this year’s event held in late May. More than 50 people representing 20 wholesalers, 14 manufacturers and service vendors, as well as three independent manufacturer representatives attended this year’s event in Fort Worth. Retired USAF Colonel Peter A. Land helped participants understand the concepts and apply the skills required to motivate employees to work collaboratively as well as how they can apply the subtle skills needed to reduce the stress of change while creating an atmosphere of positive ownership for new initiatives and directions. According to Dennis Crump, incoming YE Chairman, “Colonel Land’s presentations were spot-on as the past two years have brought economic stress and uncertain business conditions that many of us are facing for the first time in our professional careers.” In addition to sponsoring the welcome reception and providing an insightful industry presentation at dinner, BrassCraft also provided attendees with a tour of its 260,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility located in Lancaster, Texas. Frank Nisonger, ASA President, especially thanked Jim Pletcher, Jeff Jollay, Steve Adams, Jim Bevan, Jack Spruiell, Robert Arista and Paul Graves for all their time and effort. “This year’s program was an overwhelming success because of the extent to which these individuals provided BrassCraft’s tremendous support.” Next year’s Spring Forum is scheduled for May 24-26, 2011 in Kohler, Wisconsin. Real People. Real Stories. Real Success. Business leaders often say, “Our company is like a family,” but few back up that claim as well as Southern Pipe & Supply Company, Inc. Over 70 years and four generations, this Mississippi- based, family-owned, independent wholesaler has grown to 94 locations in seven states. Key to Southern Pipe’s success is a culture rooted in relationships. Employees at every level of the company, from its central distribution center to the corporate headquarters, are referred to as “family members.” Southern Pipe is committed not only to the professional growth, but also to the personal growth of all 650 family members. Ron Black is the director of human resources for Southern Pipe and has been a family member for 30 years. He runs an extensive training program and is in charge of ensuring that each family member is performing not only up to Southern Pipe’s standards, but also to his or her own personal best. The company provides more than 10,000 hours of specialized training each year, offering family members opportunities to enhance their skills and advance within the company. “Southern Pipe offers training that not only gives family members an opportunity to increase their value to the company, but an opportunity to enhance their careers,” Black says. “We hire for attitude, then train for skill. Southern Pipe looks for energetic, hard-working self-starters who are interested in building long-term careers with our company, then we give them the training and the freedom they need to succeed. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Southern Pipe understands that investing in its family members is critical to retaining the best people in the industry. As a branch manager recently shared with Black, “I’ve seen the impact of the company’s training programs first-hand. The first advantage of training is obvious – it makes our family members better at their jobs, which makes our customers happy and benefits the company. But family members who are well-trained and empowered and know they have the potential to advance are also more satisfied in their jobs. They have a great opinion of the company they work for.” Southern Pipe & Supply Co. Has invested in its own learning management system, enabling the company to not only provide easy-to-use, online training programs, but also to manage the progress of all 650 family members. Over the years, Southern Pipe has used most of the programs available from the ASA Education Foundation, with focus on both the ProductPro® and Essentials brands. “I’ve been pleased to see how the ProductPro® product knowledge courses have progressed in my 30 years in the industry and I’m excited about the Foundation’s current initiative to convert this content into an online, interactive learning experience,” Black said. “The online and interactive tools are my favorite training products offered by the Foundation. The new 3-D Residential Schematic is a fantastic tool for a new family member – a picture is worth a thousand words.” When it comes to training, Southern Pipe is on the cutting edge, both in its commitment to investing in its family members and its willingness to embrace new tools and concepts in training. One of Black’s favorite quotations comes from Tony Robbins, a famous motivational speaker, who said, “If I always do what I’ve always done, I’ll always get what I’ve always got. And if I always think like I’ve always thought, I’ll always do what I’ve always done.” Wise words for a company built on innovation, high performance and growth, making its mark as a great place to build a career. Path to Safety: Step 13 How many of you have seen reports of a fire at a business broadcast on the evening news? What did you think when you saw the fire? I would bet you stopped and thought about the employees and how they’re going to make a living now that their company has been destroyed. A fire could move through your place of business quickly, destroying your equipment, your livelihoods and perhaps injuring or killing employees. Clearly, fire safety is a critical step on your company’s path to safety. There are two key elements to a successful fire safety program. The first element is prevention of fire and the second is the response to a fire that occurs. The goal of both is to prevent a fire if possible but if one should break out, contain the fire and preserve life. In order for a fire to occur, three elements are required: oxygen to sustain combustion, heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature, and fuel or combustible materials. These elements are frequently shown as the “fire triangle.” All sides of the triangle must come together before a fire can occur. The goal of a fire safety program is to keep these elements apart. Oxygen generally is present in the industrial environment although on a small scale we can eliminate it. For example, oxygen is controlled by placing combustible scraps, debris or waste such as oily rags into airtight containers for either disposal or storage. Heat can be controlled by such measures as providing containers to extinguish smoking materials; scheduled preventive maintenance on the electrical system, machines and equipment; regular inspection of electrical cords; specific procedures for performing hot work with thorough training of involved personnel; and ensuring that lights are mounted so that combustible materials cannot come into contact with them. Fuel or combustible materials are more of a problem for most of us since a vast majority of our buildings and products are composed of combustible materials. There are some combustible materials that we can control such as storing pallets outside and away from the building; emptying trash containers regularly; disposing of shrink wrap so it does not get caught in machinery; and storing flammable liquids in fire lockers in closed containers. In the event of a fire, your facility’s emergency action plan will detail the specific steps your employees are expected to take. See the March 2010 ASA News article on this topic at the ASA website at www.asa.net. How would you “react” to a fire? Generally, the acronym of “REACT” is used to describe the steps employees should remember to take: R – Remove persons from immediate danger E – Ensure doors and windows are closed (smoke/fire spread prevention) A – Activate the building alarm (inform the people) C – Call the fire department T – Treat all fires as dangerous. Do not delay in summoning help or notifying others. Containment of the fire can come from physical barriers such as fire doors or from fire-fighting equipment such as portable fire extinguishers or automatic sprinkler systems. Containment systems require regular inspections to ensure they are functioning properly. The systems must be free from obstructions so they can operate or be reached in the event of a fire. If portable fire extinguishers are available in your workplace employees can use them if they have been trained. It is important to understand that the extinguisher is specific to the combustion source. It is critical that the appropriate type of extinguisher be available for use. Type (A) extinguisher is used for fires involving combustibles like wood or paper. Type (B) extinguisher is used for flammable liquids and gases. Type (C) extinguisher is used for fires where electricity may be present. Type (D) extinguisher is used for combustible metals like magnesium. Fire extinguishers are labeled for use on either a single class of fire (A) or (D), or for multiple-class fires (BC) or (ABC) Use the PASS method when using a fire extinguisher: P – Pull the pin A – Aim hose at the base of the fire S – Squeeze the trigger S – Sweep back and forth with the extinguisher Two Toolbox Talks are available for your use relating to fire safety. They are available at the ASA website at www.asa.net. Fire safety is an important step on the path to an effective safety program that can positively impact your productivity, the health and well-being of your employees, and a better bottom line.
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