As the American Supply Association moves into 2012, it comes off a year that was one of its strongest in history. As ASA President Bill Kenny outlined throughout 2011, the association has definitely “delivered” on its four key areas, all of which have experienced tremendous growth: Education, Networking, Advocacy and Benchmarking. ASA’s 2012 leadership team will continue to build on this strong momentum moving forward. An ever-evolving area within ASA is Education. Introduced at NetworkASA 2011 was the highly anticipated ASA University and the Colleges of Sales and Leadership. Coming in 2012 will be the introduction of the Colleges of Warehouse Management, Purchasing/Inventory Management and Business. ASA University provides the industry with the most comprehensive curriculum of training courses, virtually all at the push of a button. Have you become frustrated trying to come up with a plan to train your employees and keep them up-to-date? ASA University is your answer. Watch for further developments as we move into the new year. In the area of Networking, an active promotional push, extensive “word of mouth” marketing throughout the PHCP and PVF industry and a strong program allowed for the number of wholesaler companies represented at NetworkASA 2011 to rise 36% from 2010. In addition, the number of manufacturing companies increased an equally impressive 32%, while the total number of attendees rose by 36%. Make plans on attending NetworkASA 2012, to be held at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek October 17-20. The event will feature Steve Forbes as a keynote speaker, and promises to be another impactful meeting. There also has certainly been no shortage of activity in the area of Advocacy. Throughout the past year, Dan Hilton, ASA’s Director of Government Affairs and our “man in Washington,” has kept ASA members informed of pending industry-related legislation through regular visits to Capitol Hill; and by maintaining consistent activity in frequent coalition and committee meetings. Dan has really ramped up the Advocacy effort for ASA this past year. One of the key benefits that has become very popular is Dan’s Washington Weekly report to the membership. Through this convenient communication tool, ASA members stay up-to-date on the issues affecting our industry in Washington. Watch for Dan’s report to continue to expand in 2012 and for the Advocacy area of www.asa.net to become more interactive with frequent issue updates and commentary. Perhaps one of ASA’s strongest growth areas has been Benchmarking. ASA’s Materials Market Digest was reintroduced to the membership in October. This valuable monthly report provides timely information about important industry trends in a variety of materials sectors and is now authored by Jim Olsztynski, former Supply House Times editor. In addition, ASA continues to offer its monthly sales reports, the always-valuable Operating Performance Report (OPR) and the popular quarterly IPD Commodity Reports. Watch for additional benchmarking material in the form of industry forecasting in 2012. All of these programs have flourished under the watchful eye and leadership of the ASA Executive Committee. New to the committee for 2012 are Vice President Reggie Hickman of Brock-McVey Co., Vice President Steve Cook of Northeastern Supply and Vice President Wade Long of Sioux Chief Mfg. Co. If the 2000’s Were a Lost Decade, Was 2011 a Lost Year? Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs Admit it, we say the same thing every year. “I can’t believe its Thanksgiving already; pretty soon it’ll be Christmas!” The year has all but passed, with not much to show for it. I wrote on these pages in March of what Americans could anticipate coming out of the first branch of government; heavy on oversight, light on legislative output. Having spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill, I can’t say I relish being right. What’s worse, America saw for the first time a downgrade in its credit rating, due in large part to the inaction of Congress who spent more time attacking each other instead of attacking what ails our troubled economy. When ASA’s Government Affairs Committee met at NetworkASA 2011 in September, there was discussion of how our members might be able to learn about what has passed and what, if anything, actually has been accomplished. Surely Congress has accomplished something, right? I can report on just a few bi-partisan, bi-cameral victories on behalf of the taxpayer and American businesses. Sadly, it really is just a few. It wasn’t long ago that millions of employers learned with dismay that for any transaction greater than $600, they would have to file a Form 1099 with the IRS. This was designed, rather unfairly, to generate a new source of revenue to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, you remember, the one that was fully paid for; I bet you didn’t think that you were paying for it! As we went to print, another key issue of interest to the business community was a repeal of the 3% Withholding Tax that was working its way through both chambers. Having passed the House, with the support of the White House, this bill moved to the Senate, where it passed with one amendment. After passing the House once again, it was signed into law. As you might be asking, the fact that it takes a multi-year campaign to reverse a few lines in our tax code would appear that Congress just doesn’t have its act together. That may be true in many ways, but the 3% Withholding Repeal had to compete with a number of issues vying for time and attention on the well of the Lower Chamber. A number of other bills that would benefit the business community have also passed the House, but not nearly enough enjoyed the same fate in the Senate as the 1099 or 3% withholding repeals. An overriding theme had long been that Republicans were obstructionists, but another glance might tell a different story. More than a dozen pieces of legislation that would either roll back burdensome regulations or reduce the heavy hand of labor’s influence in our lives languished in the Senate. To be sure, Republicans have fought hard for what they believe in, but for the Senate Majority, led by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) To bury so many bills speaks to a certain amount of inaction and obstruction on their part. House Republicans shouldn’t expect the bills they’ve passed to continue without amendment in the Senate. What they should expect is an honest debate about differences both sides may have. Go to www.asa.net and click on the “Buried Bills” news item on the homepage for a full list of these ‘hidden’ pieces of legislation. The taxpayers deserve better, Americans expect more. NetworkASA 2012 To Be Held October 17-20 Mark your calendars! NetworkASA 2012 will be held Oct. 17-20 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Fla. The keynote speaker for the event will be Steve Forbes. Please watch your mail and stay tuned to www.asa.net for more event details in the coming weeks. Phoenix Forge Group Supports IPD Open House ASA’s Industrial Piping Division continues to grow at an amazing pace. This year, during NetworkASA 2011, the IPD Open House featured several new sponsors, along with generous support from cornerstone members like The Phoenix Forge Group. Did you know that The Phoenix Forge Group, a leader in forged steel fittings and unions that dates back to 1882, started out by making horseshoes? In the early part of the 1900s, it employed more than 600 men working around the clock to produce horseshoes for the Russian and British armies. In 1939, Phoenix Forge joined the war effort by forging steel for the government. By 1953, it housed more than 21 board hammers, a complete die room and a production machine shop. From there, Phoenix Forge continued to grow its member companies and is dedicated to providing the same top quality and customer service as it has since its start. ASA thanks The Phoenix Forge Group for its continued support. Visit www.phoenixforge.com for more information. SAFETY RESOURCES in the PHCP & PVF industry Toolbox Talks Eye Safety and Protection In America, an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in our workplaces every day. Annually, the financial cost of these injuries is enormous, resulting in more than $300 million in lost production time, medical expenses and Workers’ compensation filings. In addition to these expenses, there is also a personal toll to the injured workers that no dollar amount can adequately reflect. While the costs can cripple a company, the psychological and physical damage to a worker can be permanent and devastating. There are many hazards to the eye that we are exposed to on a daily basis. These include, but are not limited to, exposure to dust, concrete, metal particles, falling or shifting debris, building materials and glass. Other exposures include smoke, noxious or poisonous gases, chemicals and blood-borne pathogens. Light itself can be a hazard in the forms of excessive light from welding or electrical arcing, and thermal exposure from heat sources or fire. Injuries range from minor to severe resulting in corneal abrasions or lacerations, conjunctivitis (red eyes), particles or slivers of materials embedded in the eye, chemical splashes or burns to the eye, welder’s flash, facial or orbital contusions and fractures. Severe diagnoses are loss of sight to full loss of an eye. As an employer, you must conduct a hazard assessment to determine what hazards workers are exposed to, and determine what eye protection is required. The employer is required to both provide eye protection for the employee and properly train employees in PPE use and maintenance. For the complete ‘Eye Safety and Protection’ article, a list of references and a Toolbox Talk to use with your employees, please visit the “Safety Resources” section of www.asa.net.
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