Established in 1975 by Pete Knowles and Jerry Rubenstein, the National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors (NASPD) comprises distributors, logistic companies, mills and other service-related companies. Their singular goal is to make steel and pipe the go-to material for the country’s industrial, energy and construction needs. The NASPD, at its core, is made up of like-minded companies and individuals who contribute daily to the betterment of our industry.
This month, we hear from two men in the organization — current NASPD President Narayan Bhargava and President-elect Jerry Brookshire.
Meeting Challenges Head On
My journey with NASPD started in elementary school when my parents first started regularly taking me to meetings. Through the years, my fellow NASPD members have become an extended family and support group as we navigated the roller coaster of the steel pipe industry. We go on vacations, celebrate momentous occasions, swap notes and conduct business with each other.
After graduating college, I joined the family business and immediately became active in the NASPD. Over the last 10-plus years, I have been on the NASPD board of directors, having served as treasurer and secretary, chaired committees, and am now honored to serve as its 2021-2022 president.
When my term started as president, we were at a turning point, trying to transition back to in-person meetings after being virtual for more than a year. While running an organization virtually was challenging, it only made the in-person comeback sweeter. Seeing friendly faces and having meaningful conversations over a drink after being apart for so long truly shined a light on the value the NASPD played in my life — personally and professionally.
With everyone returning to a sense of normalcy through 2021 and 2022, our primary focus has been to drive even greater member value during and in between meetings. Our membership thrives on networking, education and camaraderie. We made it a priority within the NASPD leadership to ensure we held the same values to the highest standards coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last 1 1/2 years, our guest speakers have included decorated economists, top leadership from the largest companies in our industry, steel/pipe industry analysts, trade attorneys, Washington insiders and industry thought leaders. In addition to the takeaways from our guest speakers, the NASPD focuses on education, including mill tours, our Leadership Development Program, pop-up current events meetings and our annual Education Course.
We have enjoyed being a dynamic and engaging organization for the last year and a half. We intermix our educational opportunities with networking events, golf outings, receptions and cocktail dinners. We offer optional activities such as the Freedom Trail Tour in Boston, a Michael Franti concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver, and the Shoreline Architecture Tour in Chicago.
As I look back at my term as president, I will remember it as a time when the NASPD transitioned from one of the most challenging periods in global history to one of the most prosperous periods in our industry’s history. I take pride in how the NASPD provided education and support to its members as we handled the COVID-19 downturn and managed unprecedented growth in the comeback.
When I stepped into the leadership role, I followed very strong leaders before me and will hope to leave it in an even better position for success as the next president takes the reins. And I can guarantee whether it’s next year or in 30 years, you will still catch me regularly hanging out with my NASPD family.
President-Elect Jerry Brookshire:
Looking Toward the Future
I’ll take the NASPD reins early next year, and am excited about the bright future that lies ahead for the organization.
NASPD has three meetings a year: our Annual Convention, Summer Conference and Fall Conference. These meetings are the cornerstone of our member engagement, but we do not stop there. The NASPD has several other activities throughout the year, all aimed at furthering our member engagement and bringing value to our membership.
In a world where time and cost are seeing ever-increasing demands, we strive wholly to fulfill our promise of bringing value, above all else, to our membership. Networking is at our core, whether at one of our happy hours or our other activities, such as our recent Sporting Clays Shoot.
An association is only as good as its members, and we feel our membership is one of the best. The past couple of years have been challenging for all of us, and we realize that an association must adapt and change with the times; to that end, we have several strategic initiatives in the works for the coming years.
Our Leadership Development Program is designed for up-and-coming employees of member companies to expand upon essential leadership skills individually and collectively. Our leadership program is held every other year and is hosted by Dr. Scott McCalla, who has quickly proven uniquely qualified for this position.
Dr. McCalla also is an employee of one of our member companies, so his industry perspective brings valuable industry-specific insight to leadership and the challenges we all face in today’s steel and pipe markets.
The programs we offer at our convention and summer/fall conferences are full of engaging speakers who bring their expertise to share on various topics impacting our industry and our world. We look to expand on that with more topic-specific breakout sessions geared toward best business practices such as succession planning, human resources, taxes, inventory management and cyber security, to name a few.
Our newly established Ambassador Program is yet another way the NASPD is fulfilling our promise to our membership of bringing unparalleled value to them. The program aims to make all members feel welcome at NASPD events, particularly new members. Ambassadors can help make the introduction phase a more engaging and intimate experience. From day one, we want our new members to start seeing and experiencing the vast benefits of the NASPD.
In addition to the strategic initiatives, we also have our annual pipe education courses, our “Tubular Products Manual,” “The Fundamentals of Steel Pipe,” and our Pipeline magazine.
As president-elect, I am excited about what the future holds for the NASPD. We hope you will want to be a part of a fantastic association aimed at growth, engagement and success within each of your core business segments.
Narayan Bhargava is president of Houston’s SDB Steel & Pipe. Jerry Brookshire is the purchasing manager and a partner at Pittsburgh Pipe and Supply, St. Louis.