President's Message: Play By the Same Rules

SBCA Magazine,

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about membership. I want everyone involved in the component manufacturing industry to be a part of SBCA because I truly believe it will make our industry, and every single business, more professional and more efficient.

SBCA is a more effective advocate and protector of the industry’s best interests if it is seen as a credible representative of the whole industry. For us to be seen as credible, we need component manufacturers (CMs) to be members of our organization. To be effective advocates, we need a large cross-section of ideas and perspectives from every region and market in the country. We need members and we need their input on key topics so SBCA’s efforts are focused on the things that matter most to our industry.

Through effective advocacy and targeted initiatives, SBCA provides even greater value to individual members. Whether its expanding market opportunities for our innovative products, fending off building code changes that would put our goods and services at a disadvantage, or sharing financial management best practices so we are more cost-competitive, SBCA can play a key role in helping its members thrive.

I am also confident that having my local competition be members of SBCA is good for my business. SBCA is all about developing and sharing best practices, whether it pertains to workforce development, operations, or risk management. The more my competitors are exposed to those concepts and implement them, the better it is for me. I love baseball analogies. In my mind, this is akin to everyone playing by the same rules; you get a better game!

The more members in my market, the better the quality of our components and services. That higher quality increases customers’ interest in building with components. It removes the zero-sum aspect of competition and gives us all an opportunity to expand and be successful.

Fortunately, I have found other engaged CMs in SBCA who feel the same. SBCA's Membership Committee has developed a solid strategy to reach out to CMs who are currently not members of SBCA and encourage them to join. We’ve broken the U.S. into the same six regions we use as part of our Financial Performance Survey (see map) and we have appointed captains for each of the regions. These six captains are working with chapter leadership to identify non-members operating in their markets and contacting them.

In my region alone, we discovered that half of the CMs currently in operation are not members (49 are members, 51 are not). Tony Acampa, this bright young guy from Shelter Systems, even created an interactive Google map with all the CM member and non-members plotted out in our region. It shows the name, location, and contact information for every CM operation we are aware of, which makes it easy for any of us on the committee to reach out and have a conversation.

While the primary goal is to entice CMs to become members, the secondary goal is to understand why they have resisted becoming members in the past. My hope is we can convince CMs that there has never been a better time to become a part of our organization and that it provides a considerable return on their investment.

I mentioned in my last message that I have set an ambitious goal for membership growth during my presidency. As I write this, SBCA has 730 members. I want it to grow to 800 by the time I hand over the gavel to Jeff Taake. That means we have 10 months to gain 70 members, or seven per month. I think we can do it. SBCA has so much to offer, we just need to educate the non-members in our markets.

I’d love your help. The hardest part of this activity is identifying all the CMs operating in a market to ensure we are reaching out to everyone possible. The Membership Committee is working off lists that may be outdated and we need your help to update them. If you’d be willing to help us review those lists, I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you have a competitor in your market that you think would benefit from become a member of SBCA (hint: it’s everyone), I’d love to hear who they are so we can reach out. Refer a CM using this brief online form.

Let’s get everyone playing by the same rules, we will all enjoy the game more!

Author: Gene Frogale, SBCA President