The Board of Directors decided on a different approach to start the search for my replacement. In the past, the search was kept behind the scenes. Sometimes head hunters were used to identify candidates, but now the Board is convinced that a person from within our industry is best suited to help manage the affairs of the association.
So this is it… my last editorial as NARSA/IDEA President. One thing I can say is that in no way did it go as expected. As NARSA/IDEA’s first and hopefully only pandemic President, my experience was in many ways unique. What should have been two years full of meetings with members and visiting shops and factories was converted into virtually zero travel and lots of zoom calls. I think I can speak for virtually all members in stating that I will not be missing the lack of in-person events that my term in office unfortunately necessitated. However, like all radiator professionals worldwide, we did what we did best and adapted to the new reality.
I recently had the honor to preside over the induction of one of the most admired members of the NARSA/IDEA community. David Bienvenu has been a fixture of the NARSA community for more than 30 years now. I first met David at a NARSA event at his shop in 2009. It was one of the most successful Ed-Techs to that point, and it opened my eyes to a whole other branch of the heat transfer industry.
We live in an age where we are more connected than ever and yet paradoxically, it is also easier than ever to exist in cultural and professional silos where everyone thinks like us. While this may be comforting, it usually does not promote learning new ideas. It is precisely that exchange with others who may look at something from a different perspective that helps you grow.
NARSA/IDEA is still the only trade association that represents engine heat transfer for transportation and stationary engines along with the diesel particulate filter systems industries. Our members are service/repair facilities, distributors and manufacturers. The board still believes in creating the one idea, the one opportunity, and the one connection which will allow your business to be more profitable.
2021 left us with a lot of questions: With the fragility of our supply chain exposed, will there be any long term changes? Has partnering with countries who have a different governing philosophy made us vulnerable? Will small businesses who are struggling with their labor forces ever fully recover?
I have been a podcast addict for at least eight years now and thought it would be an interesting platform for our niche audience. For those of you not familiar with a podcast, it is on-demand radio. And since podcasts are produced digitally and distributed on the internet, there are much lower barriers to entry than traditional terrestrial radio. As a result, there are over two million podcasts on every niche topic imaginable. Into bow hunting? A quick search yielded at least eight podcasts dedicated to bowhunting. Want to listen to a show about welding? There are at least 15 just in English. This ability to cost effectively produce a program geared to a super niche audience is something that simply was not possible to do before.
This is the final magazine of 2021, and it is appropriate to recap the past year and give account of where we have been, what we have learned and where we are going. It is also necessary to thank all who have played a part in moving this association forward. Almost everyone has heard or said, “When you are given lemons, make lemonade” or another favorite “When you get thrown off that horse, get back on it” and finally “You can’t change the hand you have been dealt, just the way you play them.” All of these adages are relevant to the general atmosphere of doing business in 2021.
Our President Bobby Duran recently had the privilege of hosting two NARSA/IDEA members at his plant in Puerto Rico. They spent the day touring the plant. Read more about how their friendships have grown thanks to their fathers and through NARSA/IDEA.
The skilled blue collar worker shortage is not new, but it should be a very large concern for any service business who wants to stay relevant for the future. Baby Boomers are retiring at a fast pace and leaving a void of qualified technicians/craftsmen in every occupation. Many baby boomers who worked in the trades for the last four decades have persuaded their children to pursue college degrees to have a perceived better career fulfillment, better pay, better working conditions, and cleaner working environments.