As we move into spring of 2021, I want to revisit something I wrote about in a past column because it remains so important today. For that matter, the importance will always remain, regardless of the year.
Speaking of spring, pandemic aside, I hope you are enjoying this time of year, wherever you are. Just because the calendar shows that spring is upon us, it may not seem so depending on the weather you are experiencing. Let’s just agree that, as each of us looks out our respective window, we see nature anew with growth.
Now, speaking of growth, even with the pandemic, that is just what ASPE continues to see on a monthly basis. New membership growth and retention have been more difficult during these times, but thanks to our members, Chapters, and leadership, we’ve maintained our numbers by providing the benefits that make ASPE so important to our members. The crops are planted, the ground has been fertilized, and the season of growth is here. ASPE, as a Society, will continue to till the rows to ensure further opportunities abound, now and into the future.
The pandemic has forced us to review, adjust, and react as we continue to look at our membership growth, whether we are looking at overall numbers, membership categories, age groups, gender, and so forth. We need to continue reviewing how we do things and why we choose to serve the plumbing engineering industry. What strategies are we, as a Society, focusing on to improve our recruitment opportunities in a much different and diverse environment? We need to continue adjusting our strategies in adapting our efforts to our industry’s applicable needs.
With that being said, as all associations do, we are always looking for membership growth through recruiting efforts. That would be our first strategy: recruit more members. And you can help! You might ask, “How can I help?” We need someone interested in being involved in all aspects of our industry, to alert us to changes, brief us on proposals or processes, and act as an advocate for our views. Simply put, there are more areas to serve than can be mentioned in this column, so more will come in the future.
When looking at our overall membership growth, we are especially thankful for our long-term members—those who were around through the tough times and were part of helping turn ASPE around and get us to the positive position in which we find ourselves today. This pandemic is another one of those tough times, yet we are still here, we will remain, and that is because of you.
I could mention many members who fit into this category. However, I want to focus on one member, a member of 35+ years who once wrote an article for his Chapter newsletter to capture his thoughts on the value of being an ASPE member and why that could and should help others choose to become members of our great Society. The content of his article still remains valuable as much today as it did then. With his gracious permission, below I’ve shared an excerpt from the article that was written by our current Region 3 Director, Mr. Curtis Ray, CPD, FASPE, a member of the West Coast Florida Chapter.
Why do I belong to an organization such as ASPE? This is the question I ask myself every month when our monthly meetings roll around. The reason I ask this is because I see a lot of engineers/designers not taking part in our meetings. I joined ASPE back in 1985 as I was starting my plumbing design career. At first I didn’t take much stock in it except for the Data Books. When I started going to meetings it became apparent that this was a place of knowledge. All of the combined experience of the members attending the meetings was staggering. Not only did my knowledge base grow, but I also nurtured many longstanding relationships and friendships. After a few years of being involved with the local Chapter (Philly gang), I branched out and started attending the Conventions and Symposiums; wow, talk about a well of knowledge. Over my 30-plus years I have grown a list of plumbing experts I can call on if I ever get into a bind for information. So when I hear the excuse “not interested,” I have to shake my head and think to myself, “Don’t you mean not interested in growing in your profession?”
[At our monthly meetings] we try to bring current technical topics to fill the needs of the membership. Please make ASPE an important part of your career and growth; come to a meeting, bring a friend, get involved.
Thank you, Curtis, for taking the time to put your heart for ASPE into words of encouragement for many to see. Hopefully they have a need and ASPE is their answer.
ASPE, as a Society, is doing the same thing with our overall operations—reaching out to our industry and seeking to be the resource to provide the needed answers for all. What does this involve? When you look at what we offer as a Society to our membership, we want to ensure that each paying customer is getting everything possible for their investment, while at the same time we are providing enough value to the plumbing industry to attract potential new members, retain our current members, and increase the value of our provisions to the industry and our paying customers.
Regarding membership value and what we can do to enhance our ability to retain growth, our Board and Staff are working hard to locate areas where we can better provide for our loyal members.
Yes, the title of this column is a play on the old sign we’ve all seen of Uncle Sam wanting each of us to step up and get involved. Simply put, ASPE wants you. Each of you. All are welcome. All ages and genders are invited.
So, my question to you is this: Who wants to be the next Curtis Ray? Believe me, that would be a positive thing!