It is time for some reflection as my two-year tenure as Chairman of AFSA comes to a close. I am grateful to the Board and the past chairs for affording me the opportunity to represent our industry and to be part of this great organization. For the past 10 years I have watched and helped us grow and change, but it strikes me how much talent and sheer determination that most have taken 36 years ago to lay the foundation and to lift this organization off of the ground. We still stand on that well-laid foundation, and we have worked hard in our own ways to build upon it. As the ranks of our membership have grown, so has our staff. We are bigger, stronger, and more professional than I can ever recall. I would venture a guess that pound for pound we rival any trade organization in the country. On the visible side we have more contractor members, more chapters, and more participation than ever; we have expanded our reach and our offerings. We have a strong and growing social media presence. We have upgraded personnel back in Dallas on many different levels. On the not so visible but just as important back-of-house side, we have up-to-date software and accounting; the natural corollary to all of these moves has led to a strengthened balance sheet. Like any healthy organization, we have changed and evolved. As leaders of our organizations and our industry, we must stay in tune with many different sounds and environments. Sometimes the changes aren’t easy and sometimes they are thrust upon us, but it is our job to listen and adjust. But even though we have changed and evolved there has been one constant since our founding.
Our mission statement for the past 36 years and our reason for existence has remained steadfast and is well worth acknowledging and repeating: “The American Fire Sprinkler Association is the voice of the merit shop automatic fire sprinkler contractor. In support of the merit shop objective, the American Fire Sprinkler Association promotes the development of education and training programs to maintain the quality and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinklers; encourages an expanded role for automatic fire sprinklers in protecting lives and property; disseminates information on labor, technology and business; and provides programs to enhance business practices for the merit shop contractor.”
That mission statement has not only guided us for the past 36 years, it has thrived. Perhaps one day our mission and offerings will expand. It is my hope that the simplicity, direction, and contractor-led spirit of our mission statement always stays with us.
Thank you to my predecessors who showed us the way. To the Board, my deepest thanks. Your savvy, wit, humor and hard work have made the past two years an experience I will always cherish. To the staff, you are second to none and true professionals; it is your efforts that make us all look good.
Michael Meehan is immediate past Chairman of the AFSA Board of Directors.