President’s Message: Toward a Glorious Future
by Jane Saale, IAPD President
Jane Saale, IAPD President
In October, I began my presidency of IAPD. If you missed the convention, you may not be aware that I am a second generation IAPD president. My grandfather, Dwight Cope, was an IAPD president. For my family and company, IAPD is integrated into our history, values and future.
Like many members, my company has been part of IAPD for more than 50 years and we have experienced the evolution of the association. I, fortunately, have been part of the leadership the past five years and am closer to the changes – and the reasons behind the changes – than most members. Many IAPD members see the changes as they happen, but may not understand why the changes are being made. IAPD has strategic priorities and the leadership makes decisions with those priorities in mind. Each year, we get closer to reaching those goals and, as needed, we refine our execution and strategies that align with those priorities. I also recognize that time is our most precious resource and it can be difficult to keep up with all that is happening with IAPD.
As a distributor with strong fabrication capabilities; a long history within IAPD; and now president of IAPD, it is personally important to me that IAPD members understand our driving strategic priorities. At times, I struggled with balancing what was the greater good of the industry versus what may be in the best interest of my company. I questioned, how much should I share? How does promoting plastics to engineers support my company’s goals? Why would I want to put resources toward educating other distributors who are my competitors? How does being an international association benefit my company, a mid-sized Midwest distributor?
Not all things IAPD does benefits my company directly; instead, we pick and choose what benefits us. But on the whole, we are also part of a larger plastics distribution industry, a global one. A stronger industry, better educated competitors and a strong industry association benefits my company. In many cases I had to listen to the opinions of others before I solidified my own, but I am glad I had the opportunity to listen. It became very clear that what IAPD is striving to achieve as an association will benefit my company and others like mine.
Everything that IAPD does was decided with the following goals in mind:
1. Promote distribution as the way to market, engage distribution to become a unified force in the global marketplace and promote best practices – which may ultimately lead to accreditation of best practices
2. Expand the awareness, consideration, acceptance and the use of plastics in the top 24+ markets identified by our members
3. Grow membership: (1) retain members; (2) promote engagement of membership; (3) attract new members
4. Proactively defend plastics environmental perception and educate legislators/regulators on the facts about plastics
5. Prepare and train plastics distributors on properties, benefits, applications and lifecycle of plastics
I have heard since early childhood how IAPD used to be. I have heard stories of conventions of the past and even stories of the issues IAPD faced back when earlier generations of my family were active in IAPD. IAPD has a glorious past and one that is ripe with tradition.
Fast forward to today and IAPD looks very different. But it is an evolution, a natural one. The composition of the industry players in distribution are different, the industry and association have different challenges and opportunities and members are extremely engaged in the leadership, strategy execution at the top and in the trenches in everything we do.
The leadership of IAPD has made difficult decisions, but the right ones. For those of us who have had to make some of those decisions, the driving force has always been for progress, betterment of the industry and driving more value for the members.
We want to promote distribution as the way to market, raise the awareness of and sell more plastics and promote competition. We can’t afford to get caught flatfooted on legislative or regulatory issues that will migrate into our niche of the industry. Only through active participation in the broader plastics industry can we start changing perceptions about the negative image of plastics.
I love a quote recently made by Russ Consentino, CPMR, on IAPD’s LinkedIn page. Russ shared with a prospective member that “plastics is not a spectator sport.” IAPD is your association. It is through the power of the collective that we can make a difference. Remember, we are plastics and we are IAPD. Working together, everything is achievable.