As y’all know I’m a big fan and promoter of both the Fluid Sealing Association and Hydraulic Institute and have been attending their association meetings for a number of years. Each time I attend, I try to do everything I can to help them make a difference. It’s a ‘time’ commitment for me and something that frequently has me working on things that do not directly relate to the growth of my company. I do it because I believe in their goals and work to make the industries that I love better! Plus, I get to work with some of my all-time favorite people, like Henri Azibert, Phil Mahoney, and Mark Sullivan!
Associations like the FSA and HI play a very important role in supporting industry…from creating product design and testing standards to formulating, publishing, and training the industry on best practices for the safe installation, use, and maintenance of the products manufactured by their member companies. They also collectively speak up on behalf of their member companies, advocating for positive industry change, providing subject matter expert resource to government agencies who are trying to understand commercially available technologies as they create the new regulations that will impact the industries we serve. I ask you, why would you not want to be part of one of these amazing groups and play your role in keeping industry moving forward? I want to be part of moving industry forward!
I have always believed that if you want to help make a difference, then you need to get involved! What I have seen, though, is that both of these associations have a hard time encouraging companies to join as well as get people to attend in the meetings. They also have a difficult time finding people to get involved with tasks and projects that they need to complete; which has always amazed me. How to get more companies and members with common interests to join and get involved is always on the agenda of committee meetings… but it never seems to get answered!! I keep hearing it’s about time and money, but I always wonder how can they afford NOT to be a member when you think about what these associations are trying to accomplish on their behalf?
It’s really important for companies to participate in associations like the FSA and HI, because without them, the associations won’t be able to advocate for positive industry change that impacts both their members and their members’ customers. If the companies don’t participate, then the associations might go away, and then who is going to speak up for the industry? I’ve seen in many meetings where attending members have commented on how they would have liked a particular company to help support what they were doing. For example, 3 of the top 5 mechanical seal companies are members of the FSA; having all 5 actively involved would really make a more positive impact. I also think it’s important that companies encourage their team members to attend association meetings and get actively involved because it’s the individual attendees that make it all happen with their collective knowledge and skills – I know I push my team to do this all the time. Ask Stewart! I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it :o)
It is important to plug into these organizations with a skill you are passionate about! You get the option of putting your hand up and trying something you always wanted to do. For example, I was an interviewer while we shot a video. It was such a learning experience and fun…especially the part where I got to make people smile when they weren’t suppose too . This helps you grow professionally and helps you define your interests, strengths, expands your network and skills needed to grow your career. You don’t have to Chair a committee to have an impact for the association, but you need to be an active body in the room.
So I’m writing this blog as call to action to everyone that reads it. If your company is not yet a member or if you are already a member of one or both of these associations (like many of your peers), and you want to make a difference, then it’s time you get involved. Y’all would be amazed at just how much of a difference you will make – I know I was. The tough part is that if you’re not there then your voice won’t be heard and you may have something important to add. The same is true even for a small company like mine – which is why we go! Also, I can’t say enough about the network of trust you build with peers when you work on projects together.
So go on, get involved and make a difference! If you don’t know where to start, send me an email and I’ll connect you with an industry leader that will help you find a way, just like they helped me when I first started.