November 2021 From the Executive’s Desk: ASPE’S “Gift of GAB”

Many years ago, I wrote a column on a similar subject, yet I feel strongly that now is a great time for a refresher on the “Gift of GAB” and what that means relative to ASPE as a Society, as well as to our Chapters and individual members of this great Society. Yes, I mean you, as we dive into what I really mean by this simple question: Do ASPE and our members have the Gift of GAB?

The analogy I used years ago was based on a long-running TV sitcom called The A-Team. Now, I did question then and I guess I still do now if our members are old enough to remember The A-Team TV show. Our AYPs (ASPE Young Professionals) may not know about Mr. T, who was a member of The A-Team. Regardless, those of us who do know about The A-Team can still see the entire cast of characters that was assembled to portray a small group with the talents to help save the day in times of need.


Now, let’s take a look at ASPE’s A-Team, which is made up of various small groups displaying their many talents to save the day, so to speak, for our Society related to the needs of our industry regarding the health and safety of the public. Examples of groups that could comprise our A-Team are the Society Board of Directors, the Society Staff, our Chapters, and individual members.

We all must work to accomplish the needs and goals of our individual business days to sustain our success. Fortunately for me, I have an A-Team, which is our Society Staff. I have a unique view of the ASPE Staff and how a staff should operate to bring about our Society’s success, as I’ve been able to watch them work to accomplish the needs and goals of the Society in three different roles: first, having spent 10 years as a Society Board member, serving as the Vice President, Affiliate, then serving the Society as the Sr. Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs, and for the past seven years serving as the Society’s Executive Director/CEO. I can assure each of you that the amount of work put forth by the ASPE Staff and all that is accomplished by such a small group of individuals is hard to explain within a single article. We don’t have enough space.

However, for those of you who had the opportunity to attend our 2021 Tech Symposium in San Diego, you can attest to the success of that event, which was an evident testament to all of the work required of a few to accomplish such a large goal. Yes, we are already in full-bore planning mode for the 2022 Convention & Expo to be held on September 16–21 in Indianapolis. Start making your plans now to join us.

Other small groups within our Society with the same type of talent and willingness to succeed are the ASPE committees established to advance our efforts to achieve our stated goals and objectives. Within this column I can’t mention everyone who serves on a committee, but that doesn’t diminish the overall importance of the service each of you provides to our Society and the plumbing industry as a whole through your voluntary efforts. Each committee has an applicable strength built into its makeup, and that is your individual talent that you bring to the table. As our Society continues to reach out and broaden our footprint within the industry, I’ve told many organizations about the abilities of the deep talent pool of our ASPE membership and how important it is that ASPE be involved in all areas of our industry via collaborative efforts. To each of you who is currently serving in a voluntary role as a member on a Society committee, you are appreciated, and a big thanks to all.

Finally, I need to mention each individual ASPE member as having the same role as I’ve mentioned above. As I outlined earlier, the importance of each member of the original A-Team was to make their team as strong as possible, and each of us carries that same importance in our respective roles as Society members. As the old saying goes, “We are only as strong as our weakest link.” Thanks to each individual member of ASPE for taking part in our continued efforts to remain the best plumbing industry association. Your individual efforts add up to affect the end results of each day and event.

So, how do we as individual members, Society and Chapter Board members, ASPE Staff, and committees continue to grow in our respective roles within our Society? Let me share with you something I heard and shared years ago that was a powerful statement as to us as individuals and/or as a team.

The Gift of GAB

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend and participate in a plumbing industry conference being held in Chicago. A guest speaker’s message to the group and each individual in attendance was spot on to what I’m conveying in this column. The message was about each of us having the Gift of GAB.

It’s not really what you think at first glance. In this case, the acronym GAB stands for the following:

G = Goals
A = Attitude
B = Behavior

So, let’s begin with goals! Yes, ASPE has set goals and so should you, both as a member and an industry professional. Our Board of Directors, in concert with ASPE Staff, develops, approves, and implements our Society Strategic Blueprint to assist in our continued forward movement and growth in all areas of the plumbing industry.

Moving on to attitude! Each of us has the opportunity and responsibility each and every day to make sure that we are in control of our attitude. Regardless of what each of us may be dealing with during a given day, the questions would be: How do we address those respective issues? What is our choice relative to attitude? When we look in the mirror each morning, what do we see? Hopefully it’s, “I can do this!” So, as a team, “We can do this!”

Let’s finish up with behavior! Wow! Behavior can get our attention in many ways, ours or theirs, mine or yours. It actually will help define each of us to anyone we may come in contact with, directly or indirectly. How do others see us respond as an individual and as a team? Each of us are in the business of customer service. If we don’t operate that way, our respective customers may look elsewhere for the type of service they expect and deserve. All of this is connected to behavior.

Each of these items—goals, attitude, and behavior—is a marker set in place to establish our brand. What is your brand? Regardless of your respective ASPE membership category, you have a brand!

Each and every day, we are pushing our wares, whatever they may be. Without the proper brand, our efforts can be futile. Setting the proper brand is the result of having the Gift of GAB!

  • Goals: Plan them, work them, and complete them.
  • Attitude: Let’s begin right here—in the mirror. “I got this.” Yes, you do!
  • Behavior: Finalize your brand. Be that person the customer calls when they need services, assistance, or just to talk. You want to be that person!

Do you want to join the A-Team? There is a goal. There is an attitude. There is a behavior. It is our brand.

Come join our team: the ASPE Team. That’s the real A-Team!

Carry on…

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