It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been seven-plus months since I accepted the gavel last October in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In honor of that, I’ve put together seven observations I’ve made so far as Chairman of the NPCA Board of Directors.
1. I’ve always known NPCA is a family, but it’s a far bigger and closer family than I ever realized. In my acceptance speech, I talked about some of the people in the NPCA family who have been influential on my career. As chairman, I’ve seen just how many of these types of close relationships there are and how much they mean. Not only does NPCA help us advance the industry, it also creates lasting friendships and business contacts that have surpassed generations.
2. Speaking of generations, there’s a new one beginning to earn its place at the table in this industry, and that’s exciting. My father, Al, started Bethlehem Precast, and I was honored to take it over when he retired. I hope to leave my sons with a company they are proud to be a part of. I see the same thing happening everywhere: a new generation poised take over the reins or that already has done so. These young men and women have a fresh perspective and lots of energy and ideas. I fully believe they will lead our industry into the future with great success.
3. There’s a lot more to be gained from an NPCA membership than many of us realize. I attended my first NPCA Convention with my father in 1992. Since then, I’ve participated in various roles over the years, culminating this year as chairman. While I’ve always known NPCA has a lot to offer, I never realized quite how much until this year. I encourage all of you to take advantage of the full range of educational opportunities, meetings, volunteer positions, online resources and more.
4. We may be operating in a less-than-perfect economy, but our association has remained solid. Many other associations are operating in the red or diminishing their offerings, but NPCA is financially stable and continually growing its programs.
5. In Idaho I mentioned that Mike Loy, a 26-year employee of mine, was close to receiving the Master Precaster designation. I’m proud to say he earned it at this year’s Precast Show. Throughout the 10 years Mike worked on that endeavor, I watched how he was growing as a professional in my plant and it made me proud. As chairman, my eyes have been opened to the benefits of the program from a much broader perspective. It’s advancing employees throughout our industry and, as a result, advancing our industry.
6. All of the volunteer positions we fill are more critical than I ever imagined. I’ve held many roles and always hoped I was helping to accomplish good things, but I now realize just how important that work is to the association and the industry. So to everyone who has volunteered in the past or is currently in a position, I want to say Thank You. If you are thinking about becoming more involved, I encourage you to do so. It’s a decision you’ll be glad you made.
7. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I’d like to quickly address what I think are the keys to the future of our industry. It’s been a tough four-plus years for most of us, and I think the industry has changed more in that time span than it did in the prior 15-20 years. As precast concrete producers, we need to remain focused on quality, adaptation, and expanding our industry to new products. We all know the benefits of precast concrete, but it’s our job to get others to realize them as well.
I look forward to the final four-plus months of my tenure as chairman of this association and to the future of our industry, because I know good things are around the corner.