Weathering the Pandemic Together

NARSA/IDEA has weathered the COVID storm with you, which since the founding of NARSA in 1954 has probably been the most serious threat to the viability of your association. The Board of Directors had the foresight to plan for an economic atmosphere where we could sustain a financial downturn. I am proud to report the membership in your association is the same as it was at the end of last year. Through all of the hardships and uncertain times our members have chosen to support their association. We have lost some members, but have had new members take their place. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of the custodial effort in ensuring the future of NARSA/IDEA. 

How are you doing psychologically? Are you busy at work? Is life starting to resemble pre-pandemic times? Our conversations, news feed, and thoughts are all based on what has occurred for the last 18 months. Our President Bobby Duran wrote about supply chain failures which is part of our relentless dialogue these days. We have been consumed by the pandemic and all of the rhetoric that has surrounded this rare historical event. 

Are you emotionally and psychologically prepared for the ensuing battle with events that are out of your control? We realize that as much as we try to control the outcomes of our actions and lives, we are sometimes helpless. We are impacted by events and decisions which we have no control over. For some of us who think we are in control or those of us who feel like destiny is ours to shape, events over the last year and a half have proven otherwise. Are you equipped for the emotional trauma that has, is, and will continue to occur?

The CDC published information pertaining to the stress and anxiety caused by social distancing and quarantine. According to the CDC, “learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about and those around you more resilient.”

Stress can cause the following:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness or frustration
  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires and interests
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems and skin rashes
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances

After reading this, it appears to me that being self-employed and the stress from quarantining/social distancing share all the same side effects. You would think that most people in our industries would already have sufficient preparation to adequately deal with the challenges of limited control and limited personal interaction. Sometimes, the additional stress placed on us by another event can be overwhelming, and I don’t want to diminish the real side effects of what we have all had to navigate for the last 18 months. 

A few months ago the island of Puerto Rico ran out of Michelob Ultra. We were a couple of weeks before the brew was available. It happened again last week, so alcohol consumption has definitely increased probably as a result of COVID or in celebration of the end of quarantining. Whether it’s the beer supply or parts supply, the chain is broken and likely won’t fully recover for some time. I have read forecasts that put a total recovery time frame at two years. I agree with my friend Bobby, who wrote about the people in our industry being very resourceful and taking what can be viewed as setbacks and turning them into opportunities. 

Work on a good diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise at least 3 times a week, and start interacting with people at a level you are comfortable with. Take care of yourself so you can be the family leader and or business leader the people around you expect and deserve. It is not easy nor is it completely over so hang in there, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My wife Sandy, Linda Skoglund, Mary Margaret Miller, and myself have tried to improve the membership experience. We are proud of The Cooling Journal, Lunch & Learn webinars, virtual conferences, and the Solder & Soot podcast that we have produced over the past year. I am repeating myself when I tell you the pandemic forced us to change how we disseminate information to our members. If not for the pandemic, we may not have acted so quickly. As one door closes usually two more open providing us an opportunity to change. We must be alert and vigil to be able to recognize new things which will enhance our businesses or in this case our association. Our team is awesome, and we are blessed to have them working for our association. 

Fall Conference September 16-17, 2021

We are busy finalizing preparations for our in-person 2021 Fall Conference. The host hotel is the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine. We are going to meet in the Grapevine Concourse Event center, which is on the Grapevine lake and golf course. We have designed the conference to allow the attendees ample time to socialize and catch up with friends and business associates they may not have seen for over a year. We are making this event family friendly since Grapevine has so much to offer including LegoLand, which is just a few miles away and a water park, which is open on the weekends in September. 

On the evening of Thursday September 16, we are hosting a barbecue that the attendees and their families are invited to attend. We will also have diverse programs and unique activities. On Friday September 17, all attendees will have a chance to create spray paint art in Dallas on some building walls owned by Chad Spence at Industrial Radiator Service. Attendees will also be able to visit the gun shop across the street from Industrial Radiator. This shop sold Jack Ruby the .38 special that was used to murder Lee Harvey Oswald. Along with a tour of Industrial Radiator and insight as to how they do business, we will be able to tour the surrounding area which is occupied by artists and art galleries. 

This conference is not just about business, but rather reconnecting and celebrating the chance to be together in-person. Please join us in Texas this September. Registration for this event is now available. Please sign up early so we can properly plan and accommodate everyone who wants to attend.

Mark Taylor
NARSA/IDEA Executive Director
mtaylor@narsa.org
(410) 320-5119

This editorial was originally published in the August/September issue of The Cooling Journal

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