Thank you to everyone in the forging industry for the warm welcome, including our friends at FORGE magazine, which provides an excellent outlet for our association’s news and programs.
I am humbled by this opportunity. Listening skills are especially key right now, and I’ve taken our board chair Jeff Jones’ (president of Forge Resources Group) advice to heart and hit the road to meet and listen to members’ and prospective members’ concerns and to tour their plants. To date, my travels have included Forge Resources Group, Jade-Sterling Steel, Ellwood City Forge, Edgerton Forge, Walker Forge and Green Bay Drop Forge.
Here is a sampling of feedback from members:
- Times are good and the business outlook is strong.
- It’s tough keeping fully staffed with technical staff and operators. Can FIA help us?
- Shipment, compensation and benchmarking surveys are important.
- Can we work together to investigate and, if necessary, demand fair trade practices for our North American membership base?
The FIA Board of Directors and staff will be “voice of the member” champions and focus our resources accordingly. We look forward to discussing some of these issues at our board meeting in early February.
Changes at FIA to Better Serve the Membership
We’re staffing up with a focus on modern marketing and improving our program offerings – both in-person and e-learning. We’ll focus on delivering more content to our members, especially technical training taught right at the plant. Our entire membership benefit programs will be reviewed and replaced if necessary. We’ll immediately begin to provide more economic information that members can act on via our monthly “Quick Read” newsletter, which will increase in frequency. Our board is looking forward to a new round of strategic planning to help chart a solid direction forward for the industry and our association’s role in helping the industry get where it needs to go.
Events of Interest to the Industry
In addition to the FIA Board of Directors meeting Feb. 7-8 at FIA headquarters, an important meeting will take place Feb. 28 for the FIA Nominating Committee. Members, this is your chance to put your name (or the name of a deserving colleague) forward to help shape the direction of FIA.
Not a member of FIA? Now would be a great time to join this organization so that your voice is heard and your vote on FIA’s future direction is counted. I would be happy to talk with anyone in the industry who wants to learn more. Please start out by visiting our website for an introduction to FIA at www.forging.org.
A really great way to get to know FIA and its leadership is to carve out time to attend the FIA Annual Meeting May 5-7 at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Learning and networking with your peers is an excellent way to get caught up on what is happening in the industry. Another spring activity you won’t want to miss is the annual FIA Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., April 17-18. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit with our congressional leadership. We can only help ourselves by being present with these leaders and educating them in-person on our concerns. Let’s get at least 50 people from our industry (double what we had in 2017) to this fly-in.
I look forward to serving as the FIA staff leader for many years to come and especially look forward to meeting many of you at FIA events. Best wishes for a prosperous 2018 and beyond to you all.