Contrary to dire predictions, the end of the Mayan calendar signaled only the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, while the end of 2012 signaled the end of another banner year for the Valve Manufacturers Association and the beginning of an exciting 2013.
As the association prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, VMA President Bill Sandler reports on the year just past: “We exceeded our expectations in many areas important to all trade associations. We’ve gained six new members in 2012 and for the sixth consecutive year we’ve maintained a 95% retention level. Attendance at our meetings, seminars and educational events was also higher than we had anticipated.”
And how has the industry itself fared? Sandler says: “To the surprise of many industry forecasters, the industrial valve industry witnessed its third straight year of growth in 2012. Early indications for 2013 are that there will be continued but slower growth.”
Mark Cordell, VMA chairman for 2012-2013, comments on how VMA has met the changing needs of the valve industry. In addition to its value as a source of networking, the association has helped members keep up with changes in the industry, including globalization and increasing demands from end users. “Technological innovations we’ve seen as a result of end-user industries giving us more and more challenges are staggering. VMA keeps us informed and gives us an opportunity to exchange ideas on what we know.”
It All Began in 1938
2013 is a landmark year for the association, representing 75 years since VMA was founded. The year-long celebration will culminate with the 75th Annual Meeting, Oct. 3-5 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. Many special activities are planned or underway.
Judy Tibbs, VMA director of education and editor-in-chief of VALVE Magazine, elaborates on some of the special events associated with the 75th Anniversary: “With the help of VMA’s Communications Committee, we are conducting a public relations and outreach campaign to spread the word worldwide about the high-quality, engineered products manufactured by VMA’s U.S. and Canadian membership.”
VMA also will release a video featuring members talking about their experiences with the association, the benefits of membership and why end users should consider working with VMA members. Tibbs notes that, “We’re getting ready to launch an anniversary ‘micro site’ on VMA.org, to include video interviews with members and other key figures from the association’s past, as well as interesting anecdotes and articles about VMA culled from the past 75 years.”
A special commemorative program will be published in fall 2013, featuring the history of VMA and profiles of long-time members, as well as a special anniversary issue of VALVE Magazine.
Education and Engagement
New in 2013 will be a Young Professionals Committee with VMA Vice President Marc Pasternak as its staff liaison. This group will give a fresh look at the association’s activities to determine if any new directives should be pursued by the industry. “I look forward to receiving direction and input from the ‘young guns’ in our industry,” says Pasternak. “This committee will develop topics and value-added sessions geared toward the younger generation of VMA members.”
It has been four years since the VMA board approved an Education and Training Initiative. As with many manufacturing industries there is a need to bring more people into the industry as well as educate the next generation about the value of the valve industry. Cordell states that “we need to appeal to the youth of our business because if we don’t, no one will be there to take over as we retire.”
Sandler reports on the success of the initiative so far. “More than 700 people have taken our Valves & Actuators 101 course, along with dozens of university students majoring in mechanical engineering. A new 2-day expanded Valve Basics seminar is underway for 2013, and it will include additional lessons on solenoids and other valve accessories. The first expanded course will take place Nov. 6-7 in New Orleans.
VMA has also been approached by other groups to bring the Valves & Actuators 101 course to their meetings during 2013, and the association is now finalizing plans to present a 1-day basics course at both the AFPM Reliability & Maintenance Conference, May 21 in Orlando and in conjunction with Valve World Americas, June 21 in Houston. Watch for additional details to be announced on VMA.org.
Greg Johnson, president of United Valve and chairman of VMA’s Education & Training Committee—which developed the Valve Ed program—says the fact that groups outside VMA are now seeking us out to conduct programs at their own events demonstrates that “we are making a real impact with our basics program.” In addition, other educational products are in the works, including an online educational program.
In addition to the Valve Basics Seminar & Exhibits, open to all in the industry, VMA offers another program that invites participants outside the membership: the Technical Seminar & Exhibits, focusing this year on the power industry. It will take place March 7-8 in Charlotte, NC.
Association members can also look forward to these events:
- Valve Industry Leadership Forum, Jan. 16-18, Dallas
- Finance Leaders Seminar, April 25-26, Washington, DC
- Manufacturers Workshop & Tour of the Ford Motor Company facility, May 1-3, Dearborn, MI
- Market Outlook Workshop, Aug. 8-9, San Diego, CA
- VMA & VRC Annual Meeting, Oct. 3-5, Palm Beach, FL
Follow the links for more information on these events at VMA.org.
Cordell recently addressed globalization as what he considers one of the major challenges for the future. He believes that deepening membership by allowing distributors into the association is one way to address some of the challenges connected with globalization.
Another is to expand VMA’s international activities. Sandler said that VMA will continue to look into international trade shows and missions for its members and in May 2013 will send a delegation to Belgium for the annual CEIR Congress, VMA’s counterpart for European valve associations.
The coming year also promises to be an exceptional one for the communications arm of VMA.
A new look for the association website, VMA.org, will be unveiled in the first quarter of the year. Those interested in learning more about the association will find abundant information about valves and actuators, membership information, upcoming meetings and educational products available for purchase. The website has a listing of all member companies, supplier members and Valve Repair Council members. In addition, VMA.org contains a Product Finder for valves, actuators, controls and related accessories, making it easy for end users and others in the industry to locate VMA member companies.
A major change to the magazine website, VALVEmagazine.com, has just been revealed. Editor in-Chief Judy Tibbs says, “During the past few years we’ve been expanding the editorial content on VALVEmagazine.com, but much of that information was hidden. Now, we’re making it clear to site visitors that we have abundant content on our website. Though the number of visitors has consistently grown during the past few years, we’re expecting another huge leap in 2013 as we expand our efforts to reach valve users around the world through a wide variety of information about the valve industry.”
2013 is also a milestone year for VALVE Magazine. Originally a smaller two-color publication distributed to about 2,000 subscribers in its early years, the magazine was converted to its current format in 1988, and each issue is now seen by as many as 75,000 people. In honor of this anniversary, VMA has introduced a new design for VALVE Magazine. “The fact that our 25th anniversary coincides with the association’s 75th makes this year even more exciting,” says Tibbs. She notes that in the past quarter-century, VALVE has become increasingly well known and is now considered by many to be the leading magazine for those who want to learn about valves, actuators and controls, and the U.S. and Canadian companies that manufacture these critical products.
But the changes don’t stop there. “We’re also introducing VALVE eNews, for readers of VALVE Magazine,” said Tibbs. “It will be distributed every-other-week, allowing us to connect our readers with the latest industry news and links to just-published articles on a regular and more frequent basis. As a result, we expect to see even more visitors to our websites and further expansion of both the magazine and the association’s reach in the U.S. and abroad.”
The valve industry will no doubt face challenges in 2013, but as has been the case for 75 years, VMA will continue to support its members through education, communication and interaction—and reach out to the world of valve users about the merits of working with U.S. and Canadian valve manufacturers.