The Valve Manufacturers Association elected new board members, presented awards to people who have served the organization and listened to speakers share their ideas on how the economy and the industry are faring at the 77th Annual VMA/VRC (Valve Repair Council) Meeting Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Naples, FL.
The top leader’s position in the organization—chairman—went to Bob Kemple, ASCO Numatics, who succeeds Greg Rogowski, Mueller Co. At the association business meeting, Rogowski was thanked by VMA President Bill Sandler for his service last year. The outgoing chairman will now serve on the board as immediate past chairman.
Other board members elected for the 2015-16 are: Vice Chairman Jim White, Curtiss-Wright; and Program Chairman Mark Nahorski, PBM.
New board members are: Bruce Johnson, Emerson Process Management‒Fisher Controls; Ron Warren, Bray International; and Brian Wright, A-T Controls. Returning for a second term is Louis Pinkham, Crane Fluid Handling.
Sandler also recognized three retiring board members: Sam Bennardo, AUMA; Randy Cowart, Powell Valves; and Ivan Velan, Velan Valve.
HONORED FOR SERVICE
VMA’s top honor—VMA Person of the Year—went to long-time member Jim White of Curtiss-Wright, who has been in the valve industry more than 20 years. White’s list of VMA accomplishments and activities includes serving on the board as well as having volunteered to serve on numerous nominating and program committees for many annual meetings. Sandler called him his “go-to guy whenever I needed a volunteer.” Nine former recipients of the award, which has been around since 1974, joined Sandler on the stage to congratulate White.
Also recognized for service to the association was Tracy Fairchild of Velan, who has been an integral part of the Communications Committee, and now serves as its chair. Fairchild has helped to implement and market VMA’s new Career Initiative. She received the VMA Service Award for her efforts in bringing that initiative to the forefront.
Brian Beaulieu, CEO of ITR, challenged members to ignore those who say U.S. manufacturing is on the decline. He said industry in this nation is on the incline instead and is poised to surpass its 2008 pinnacle. For the immediate future, Beaulieu predicted that oil prices will rise to the upper $50s to low $60s per barrel next year and said the recent stock market woes were corrections.
He warned, however, the significant recession ITR had previously predicted will hit here in 2019 followed by a major depression in the 2030s. Business objectives for the immediate future should include careful budget analysis, investment in market research that will reduce price sensitivity, investing in top-notch training and retention, effective marketing spending, looking at ways technology can drive efficiencies, locking in costs toward the end of this year and planning for that first big recession in 2019.
On the minds of many members is the talent gap that any industry relying on manufacturing faces today. Maureen Crawford-Hentz, director of talent acquisition for A.W. Chesterton Company, outlined her thoughts on what businesses can do to recognize and appeal to the millennial generation, who are technology dependent and more cause-oriented than money driven. Hentz outlined how valuable mentoring programs are in appealing to a generation used to being self-driven, but needing and wanting direction and growth.
VMA’s careers initiative, which was introduced at last year’s annual meeting, was defined and outlined by Fairchild as well as Greg Johnson, United Valve, vice chair of the communications committee. The program has gone very far in one year’s time and now includes valvecareers.com; a careers brochure and marketing materials; a social media campaign; and budding partnerships with schools such as Texas State Technical College. In the works are a human resources workshop (Nov. 9-10 in Arlington, VA); a video; participation in careers fairs and much more.
The 78th VMA/VRC Annual Meeting takes place Sept. 21-23 in Rancho Mirage, CA.