By the time you are reading this column, ASPE will have recently completed our first ASPE Digital Experience, which was held on December 1–3. Our members and the industry at large were provided with an unparalleled and dynamic exhibitor showcase, interactive educational sessions, and unique and lasting industry connection opportunities. It was a great use of resources to deliver a digital experience to the comfort of your home or office, and we would like to thank all who attended. If you weren’t able to attend, the Expo Hall and technical sessions will be available until January 31, 2021, and you can sign up at expo.aspe.org.
What a year 2020 has been. As I sit here in my office in a mode of reflection on the past year, I can’t help but be pleased with ASPE’s continued overall progress and future growth opportunities as we all move forward. Together, we’ve experienced so much change, adjusting daily to provide for our members and the industry. Having just experienced some quality time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel it’s appropriate at this time to personally give proper thanks to everyone who has played a part of our sustained success, providing evidence that ASPE continues to bring the most value to plumbing system design professionals, our industry partners, and industry manufacturers, while we collaboratively join together to advance our industry.
As I further reflect within this column and especially during this time of year, which I personally enjoy the most, I think of the rest of the holiday season, the time when we should be thankful for so many things. Yet many times we find ourselves focused entirely on what’s next rather than being in the moment with our most treasured resources: our families and friends. When saying “families and friends,” our thoughts should also focus on so many of you, our ASPE members and industry partners, as family—giving proper consideration of the many joint efforts as participation as a family as we strive together to advance our Society and the industry to better the world for all.
Focusing on the family theme, ASPE is made up of a family of Chapters, which in turn are made up of a family of individual members. From a Society overview, other than our Chapters, we also have a large family of committees and working groups that continue to advance our technical and educational offerings. From a membership growth view, we have a family of special-interest groups, the AYP (ASPE Young Professionals) and the WOA (Women of ASPE), from which we continue to draw new membership opportunities.
One of our largest families is our industry partners, comprising the Affiliates, exhibitors, and industry associations with which we collaboratively work to advance the profession and to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public. We work hand-in-hand to define parameters on how we can all work more closely to continue furthering and promoting the advancements of a more sustainable industry and environment. These collaborative parameters include but are not limited to general advocacy, coordination with our technical committees, growing training and educational programs, webinars, workshops, etc. This list could go on and on.
As we are all part of this big group of family and friends, let’s place our focus on a total teamwork environment to ensure that ASPE remains strong as we endure the toughest of times and prepare to enjoy the upcoming best of times.
I began this column focusing on the holiday season and watching this unprecedented year come to an end, but I also suggest that we spend time focusing on the coming New Year, which will be here in the blink of an eye and will also bring about new and fresh opportunities. With a newly elected Board of Directors working alongside our Staff, members, Chapters, and Affiliates, I expect 2021 to be just the next step in our continued efforts in developing the benefits and tools that led you to become an ASPE member and, most importantly, to remain an ASPE member. Actually, this means that you can’t afford not to become or remain an ASPE member.
Looking ahead to the New Year, ASPE is excited to have such an opportunity to work with our members, Chapters, Affiliates, and other professional societies in the broader engineering community. We look forward to working together in further developing ongoing education, best practices, networking, and new technologies for a more sophisticated and sustainable industry, environment, and world.
Recently, while channel surfing with family, we came across the TV show called “The Weakest Link.” It was an interesting concept, as they spent the entirety of the show eliminating the contestants who were the weakest links of the group. Remembering the statement, “We are only as strong as our weakest link,” let us strive, individually and as a group, to not be the weakest link within the chain that binds us together as a unified team. Therefore, the ultimate goal for our team would be for each of us to work to ensure that even our weakest link is strong enough for us to endure the toughest of times, all the time.
Some family and friends may only want to be around or participate when things are going well, which makes it easy on them as well. When times become tough, some may want to step aside and not participate as there may be more work for them. Regardless of what you do, for our relationships with family and friends to be successful, there has to be a concerted effort of establishing and working within a proper team concept—one direction, one mindset, one unified effort, period. Let’s all focus together to be that team as we look toward the New Year.
As 2021 approaches, I hope you’ve decided to remain part of ASPE’s family and friends.
Stay healthy and safe!