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Chair’s Message

By the time you read this, 2020 will be behind us, and 2021 hopefully will ring in a much more promising year. With the vaccine in the early stages of distribution, we should see a more positive attitude on all things 2021. I am sure that you, like I am, are also happy to see 2020 in our rearview mirror.

Early indicators show construction is still strong with good backlogs. It remains to be seen how the new administration in Washington will affect things moving forward, but life will go on, and business will go on. If we have learned nothing else from 2020, it is that we are all better at “rolling with the punches.”

As we approach the holidays and the New Year, I am pleased to report that business is picking back up across the industry. There are projects out there to bid on. Budgets are thawing out. The world is slowly returning to work. However, current numbers do not necessarily reflect that change, as many are lagging indicators. But with opportunity comes competition. Letting people go at this time may prove to be a bad move; your employees matter, and no matter how bleak the picture looks, you cannot do your job without the educated and trained employees who work hard for you each day. Without people, you do not have a business but a hobby.

This brings me back to what seems like a recurring theme—training. It is not enough to be good at just one thing, but rather when you can master multiple skills across domains, you are more valuable to your company and the customers you serve. Those with the widest range of skills can tackle any challenge, and no doubt, in 2020, your resilience was needed more than ever. Training is more valuable than ever going into the new year. We do not know what 2021 will bring, but if you are trained and prepared ahead of time, then you can face any obstacle that comes your way.

Looking back on 2020, I want to make sure that I thank the people who run our association. You navigated the change to remote work well, and you came up with creative ways to deliver our training to our members. That was no small feat, considering how much of our training must be hands-on and done in person. Your hard work does not go unnoticed—thank you.

One of the things I missed last year was seeing so many of you in person at conferences. It was been tough, but necessary, to socially distance. But we cannot lose our sense of family within this association. Even though we may only be connected by Zoom and email, take the opportunity to reach out to someone and keep the light of our association glowing brightly. Father James Keller said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

May 2021 bring hope, peace, and joy to you and your families.

Ted Wills Chair of the AFSA Board

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted Wills is chair of AFSA’s Board of Directors and president of Anchor Fire Protection Company in Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania.

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