Engagement. Relationships that result in actions taken to enhance membership value. That mantra has become a core statement repeated frequently at the AFSA office recently. Whether servicing a member inquiry, informal interpretation, educational need, or any of the valuable benefits offered by the association, member engagement “touch points” are a primary focus for all AFSA departments in our effort to effectively help contractors succeed.
AFSA staff is fortunate to have built strong relationships over 35 years that have resulted in members effectively communicating their preferences for programming as well as opportunities for the association to develop services designed by contractors for contractors. Today, each visit to firesprinkler.org, AFSA email that’s viewed, social media platform accessed, and every electronic edition of Sprinkler Age magazine that is read, results in “digital engagement.” However, it’s the core values of personal service and dedication to interpersonal relationship development that have brought worthwhile programs to the stable of AFSA products, and continue to yield multiple in-person discussions around the country on a consistent basis.
Fourteen AFSA Board of Directors take time out of their extremely busy personal and professional schedules to meet each quarter of the year. Along with 30 other fire sprinkler industry volunteer leaders made up of AFSA past Chairs, contractor representatives and manufacturer/supplier agents, it is quite an accomplishment to assemble this many brilliant minds on such a frequent basis. As a result of these quarterly gatherings, AFSA volunteers develop “in-person engagements” such as live seminars, webinars, chapter initiatives, our Inspection, Testing & Maintenance (ITM) program curriculum, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) education and outreach projects, National Apprentice Competition requirements, Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning Design School training, direction for member benefits including education programs and endorsed services, as well as the association’s highlight of the year, AFSA’s Annual Convention & Exhibition.
Pulling together the best elements of AFSA’s significant return on investment programming, our 2016 convention in Nashville this September features cutting-edge seminars, valuable networking opportunities, an apprentice education and skills excellence event, enjoyable offsite tours and a sold-out golf tournament, as well as North America’s largest fire sprinkler industry exhibition which will show off new products in a setting that has been proven to drive purchasing advantages to a contractor’s bottom line. How does such an influential convention come together every year on behalf of 160-plus participating contractor companies? Teamwork, powered by committed industry volunteers and structured by an exceptional staff of professionals, particularly AFSA’s Conventions & Meetings Department.
Led by Senior Director of Conventions & Meetings Marlene Garrett, and supported by Meeting Programs Coordinator Maricarmen Martinez, AFSA’s 2016 Convention & Exhibition promises to be an amazing value for the investment. Contractors around the country will be taking advantage of unparalleled educational opportunities and an exhibition unrivaled anywhere else in the industry as part of their yearly business practice. This year, the return on investment includes 39 available seminars; 66.5 hours of CEU credits; eight complimentary networking meals including breakfasts, lunches, a Chairman’s Reception and Apprentice Awards Party; as well as the traditional “AFSA family” appeal this event is known for which unites old friends and creates new contacts.
AFSA leadership looks forward to engaging with supporters in Nashville this September as we celebrate the association’s 35th anniversary with unrivaled access to information that helps fire sprinkler contractors succeed, interaction with industry experts and products, as well as networking with your peers. Additionally, for anyone who has had the pleasure of engaging with AFSA President Steve Muncy, keep it “on the down low” but we’ll be celebrating his tremendous accomplishments over 28 years on behalf of the fire and life safety industry ahead of his retirement this December. As always, AFSA’s Annual Convention & Exhibition is truly a can’t miss event.
Frank Mortl III, CAE is the Executive Vice President of AFSA.