A fitting placement, this month marks “The Wholesaler’s” American Supply Association (ASA) Convention issue. ASA President Tim Milford of Milford Supply spoke to me about some highlights and trends to look for in the months ahead for our industry.
Danielle Galian: What are your thoughts on this year's Network 2016 meeting?
Tim Milford: This year’s network meeting is in NYC for the first time in something like 25 years, and will be nothing short of awesome. Without going into all of the details, I can guarantee that this will be an event no one in the industry will soon forget. The Waldorf Astoria! How cool is that? Top notch speakers, educational opportunities, networking and all wrapped into one great event. Can you tell I'm excited! Network is the place to be this year.
DG: What do you hope attendees take away from the meeting?
TM: What attendees will take away from this meeting is a confirmation of ASA’s indispensability to being the best you can be in our industry. The information will be essential. The networking will be exceptional. The experience will be embedded in your future within the industry. The take away from this meeting will be profound.
DG: Who is your personal favorite speaker/presenter from Network 2016?
TM: As far as the speakers go, I am looking forward to several. With the 2016 election just weeks away from our Network2016, Stephen Hayes insights and thoughts on politics shouldn’t be missed. Neil Cavuto is always great on TV. He holds nothing back, isn’t politically correct, and shoots from the hip. His perspective on Business is dialed in for the ASA audience. Those are my personal favorites.
DG: Looking at the rest of the year, what is the biggest challenge for ASA?
TM: The year is turning out great. Look at our numbers. ASA has such a sense of purpose now it is so much fun to be a part of. So what are ASA’s biggest challenges for the rest of the year? I would say keeping the enthusiasm as high as it is. Timing is so important in life and in business. Right now the timing is great for ASA. So ASA needs to continue to be conscious of changing times and know that things are always changing.
DG: What are the major concerns ASA is taking on in preparation for 2017?
TM: Looking at 2017, ASA is in great shape. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, we should have a banner year. With Scott Robertson taking over as ASA’s next president, look forward to lots of energy and excitement. As far as major concerns for the near future, I believe we are now ahead of the game with our hiring of Hugo Aguilar, P.E., as Director of Codes and Standards. Hugo is anxious to get involved in voicing our industry’s concerns when legislation is presented that affects us in substantial ways. Hugo is and will continue to be a huge benefit to being part of ASA.
Please welcome Hugo when you meet him.
DG: What are some legislative issues ASA is focusing on?
TM: Legislative issues are always important to ASA. That’s why we have Dan Hilton. Dan is in Washington DC and is truly outstanding. He knows the issues and represents them to Congress on our behalf. Some of the current concerns we have are LIFO, which is an inventory valuation system that the Obama administration is trying to eliminate. That would negatively affect any number of our members using it. The marketplace fairness act is also of great concern to our industry. The current system allows online retailers to avoid collecting sales taxes on the merchandise the ship, putting traditional plumbing wholesalers at a distinct disadvantage. There are numerous other pieces of legislation that we keep track of, ranging from Estate taxes, business taxes, exorbitant regulations, Keystone pipeline development, and many other issues.
DG: How is ASA tackling those issues?
TM: ASA is tackling these issues head on. Dan Hilton in Washington DC and Hugo Aguilar in California, are speaking directly with the people that are crafting our laws and regulations on a daily basis. In addition, ASA has a Political Action Committee that is focused on getting industry friendly legislators elected. Please consider joining the ASA PAC and make a contribution. Currently ASA has make numerous visits to capital hill with PHC wholesalers, manufacturers and reps, to speak face to face with our congressmen about our concerns. We are an $80 billion a year industry! Those are big numbers and represent alot of voters.
DG: Can you share the biggest/most important news item for the industry from ASA and any exciting news from ASA HQ (new opportunities, details, etc.)
TM:: The biggest news item from ASA this year is the hiring of Hugo Aguilar as our Director of Codes and Standards. This was the main objective for 2016. Hugo is mechanical engineer with a stellar resume including a 5 Year stint of Code experience with IAPMO. This was a concerted effort with PMI and his hiring was the culmination of many hours of meetings and reviewing of several outstanding applicants for the position. With Hugo, ASA now has a voice with Mechanical Engineering experience to walk the walk and talk the talk.
DG: What are you most proud of so far this year at ASA?
TM: When I look back at 2016, I can only think “WOW!” Great numbers. First great numbers at the Women in Industry meeting, great numbers at the YE meetings, and all of the regional meetings. Great numbers from our Flagship Education Foundation. We had great numbers for our financials, and great numbers for Network. When you have great numbers, you’ve had a great year. ASA has had a great year.
DG: What would you say to the next generation just joining at ASA and the industry?
TM: What I would say to the incoming generation just joining ASA and the industry is get ready for some big changes. The current consensus is that 25% of the industry is retirement age in just 10 years! Thats alot of people! Get ready for a wild ride. Its going to be fun, exciting, and productive, for people that stay in the industry. Opportunity will leap out at the millennials that have the experience and knowledge that is available to them. ASA has a careers section on our web page to help ASA members have a Career day at their business or for inquiring applicants to research our industry and see just how much we really do have to offer, from well known corporate giants to small family firms, there is a job in our industry for you. The future is brighter than ever!