By Dudley Sheppard, Motion Industries and Chairman of the NFPA Distributor Council
Not too many years ago, there were little more than a handful of distributor members of NFPA, and as associate members we often had a relatively thin connection to many NFPA activities and the governance process within NFPA.
Thanks to the vision and hard work of NFPA’s leadership…manufacturers and distributors alike…distributor membership in NFPA has truly been transformed. There were a lot of steps in this process, starting with the New Directions Initiative launched in 2004, and culminating in decisions made by the NFPA Board of Directors this past year that:
- Elevated distributors to full voting members of NFPA;
- Created a formula by which distributors are represented on the NFPA Board in proportion of NFPA dues coming from distributors (distributor representation had been capped at 1 voting seat);
- Made distributors eligible to serve as officers of NFPA, including Chairman of the Board.
These changes make distributor members of NFPA full partners in development of NFPA initiatives designed to benefit the entire industry, as well as programs and benefits of membership that more immediately impact our companies.
This is important, because as there is much value in NFPA membership for distributors, there is so much more we can do. One of the great benefits of membership has been the relationships we’ve been able to cultivate with manufacturing executives and other distributors at NFPA events.
But a sometimes overlooked source of networking is the opportunity to participate on NFPA committees. Committee work is great for getting to know industry partners and competitors, and to learn from one another in an informal setting. NFPA makes it easy to participate, we get a lot accomplished, and business is conducted in a manner that is considerate of your time commitments.
I welcome all to join us at meetings of the Distributor Council, but I also encourage distributor members to find out more about these other committee participation opportunities. Anyone in your company is eligible to participate. Contact the NFPA staff person assigned. You will be glad you did.
Pneumatics Council — Pete Alles; firstname.lastname@example.org; (414) 778-3350
Marketing Committee — Denise Rockhill; email@example.com; (414) 778-3354
Education Committee — Sue Chase; firstname.lastname@example.org; (414) 778-3376
Economics and Statistics Committee — Eric Armstrong; email@example.com; (414) 778-3372
Standards Development Committees — Karen Boehme; firstname.lastname@example.org; (414) 778-3345
NFPA's CEO, Eric Lanke, focused on the changes to NFPA Distributor Membership in his latest video. Click here to watch.