Monday, October 20, 2008

My Industry, Your Industry, Our Association

Trade associations are great. As the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville said after traveling throughout America, “Americans of all ages, all stations of life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations...In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge.” I couldn’t agree more. From public policy advocacy to encouraging business development through exciting trade shows or other special industry promotion initiatives, trade associations like SPI are dynamic organizations that bring people together to do good work. Check out how associations are helping others to weather the current economic meltdown.

I think so much of associations that I left a 32-year career in industry to join SPI. That’s right, despite this tough economy, my wife and I are selling our house in Newburgh, NY and will soon be buying one in the Washington, D.C. area to accommodate my new role as SPI’s new executive vice president. Working now from the inside, I hope to be able to exert a positive influence on the organization that is the voice of the plastics industry. I’m just confident enough that I think, working with the strong professional staff at SPI, that I can make a difference. However, I’m also experienced enough to know that, not even with that strong staff, there won’t be much accomplished without active and committed member volunteers.

Every company in the plastics industry is facing difficult issues that range from potential product de-selection to workforce retention. However, not every company faces the same issues. In order for a trade association to operate effectively it needs continuous input from the industry it represents. Very simply stated, that means getting involved, staying involved and helping steer the future rather than reacting to it.

I encourage you to be active in “the mother of all other forms of knowledge.”

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