What I want to talk to you about this month is preparation. Our industry is growing strong, even with the pains of the cost of materials. New apartment buildings are going up; old spaces are being retrofitted for new uses; cities that once were deemed “flyover cities” are now experiencing a rapid influx of remote workers. This spells good news for the building industry and, consequently, each of us. We each must be prepared for new projects in new places and types of buildings we may not have considered before. But if we can look at this new economy as a moment where work is changing, and thus buildings are changing, we can find opportunities for new and creative bids. Seneca said that “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation,” and many of you will be the luckiest through your preparation in meeting the new opportunities of this economy.
To meet the demands for the next year, our organization is stronger than ever. Our new President Bob Caputo is leading us to new heights with the expansion of our Engineering and Technical Services Department and an expansion of member services with the addition of field reps. This is so we can serve our new and current members best through both online training and in-person events slowly coming back. I am looking forward to meeting each one of you at our regional and national events throughout this next year. We have also implemented a long-range planning committee to help do some of the “big-picture” thinking for our association. This group, combined with your input, will put us on a solid track for the years ahead. I am excited to see the positive direction in which we grow.
Our training has been the foundation of everything we do; it is second to none, to which I credit having the right people in the right places. I think back to why we started as an organization, and that was to provide effective apprentice and fitter training which results in quality installation and maintenance to our members. We were formed at a time when the idea of member education was novel. Now, it is almost assumed that an organization like ours would need to provide not just excellent training but also virtual and in-person options. To make that jump over the years, we have been honored to have a great team that has adapted each year to the changing needs of our members, especially this past year when so much had to be done virtually. We will continue to adapt and transform our training to meet your needs. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is a course or module that you would like to see. Ultimately, when you and your staff are better trained, your quality and reputation increase, as do your future bids.
Take this summer to become more prepared for the changing economy. Know that the types of bids will change, as will the projects, but you can succeed if your preparation meets the opportunity presented. Above all, seek out more training to relearn the fundamentals or to expand your horizons. You will be better prepared for what lies ahead than if you just maintain the status quo. A great opportunity for training is AFSA40: Convention, Exhibition, and Apprentice Competition to be held September 18-21 in San Antonio, Texas. We are offering over 60 technical and managerial seminars. Registration is now open at www.firesprinkler.org/AFSA40. I encourage you to go online, view the schedule, and register for this event. Here’s to a prosperous summer and continued success!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted Willis, Anchor Fire Protection Company, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania, is Chair of the AFSA Board of Directors Chair and an At-Large Director.