Volume 49, Issue 2 - February 2014

GANA Perspectives

Ask Questions, Find Solutions
GANA’s Presidential Perspective for 2014
by Jeff Nixon

When I joined Glass Coatings & Concepts in 2004, we were working to develop a new line of ceramic enamels for architectural glass. I heard about GANA and figured it’d be a great place to meet prospective customers and learn about their needs. So I attended the technical conference in Nashville. I remember thinking “Who are these guys?” because we were up quite late each night, then up for meetings at 7:00 a.m. that ran until 6:00 p.m. Repeat daily for three days, including an entire weekend. Talk about gung-ho! But I sat in on every meeting and continued on the fast-learning track by attending each and every conference since. I owe quite a lot of thanks for the in-depth and practical education I received from GANA. A significant part of that debt will never be repaid, as it was Greg Carney who encouraged me and was always there to answer my “What’s this all about?” and “What do you think we ought to do about it?” questions. May God rest his soul.

All About People
From the beginning, I’ve been impressed by the quality of the organization and its members. And by members, I mean people. The aggregate technical know-how at a single conference is unmatched. If I’m perplexed by an issue, I can get useful insight from the person I’m rubbing elbows with at a networking reception. If it is an issue shared more widely, a task group of interested experts quickly forms and the issue is tackled head-on. I’ve been involved with many such efforts and can attest to its impact on my own growth in knowledge and expertise, not to mention the friendships that have formed over the years. The historical breadth of technical knowledge is matched more and more with regulatory and code understanding and activity. This is a good thing. As a chemist by education, I like to envision a world where things make sense. Add Reagent A to Reagent B, stir, and get Compound C. But in today’s world, our businesses and our industry are driven hardest by political or other irrational forces. GANA protects our industry from the most nonsensical of bureaucratic proposals and sometimes even persuades such central planners into using science and logic, which in the end will benefit our industry, with its great products. I believe that advocacy should be an even bigger part of GANA’s mission.

What’s in Store?
GANA faces many of the same challenges as many large trade organizations. Industry consolidation is foremost – the number of potential members today is a fraction of what it was ten or 20 years ago. Besides the inevitable effect on dues revenues, it has helped to limit the number of active participants in GANA affairs. And those active participants are having more and more demands placed on their time, leaving fewer possibilities to participate in broader industry affairs. Possible solutions range from diversification, as with the addition of the Decorative and Energy Divisions, which broadened our membership in complementary ways, to merging with related organizations, to working more efficiently on efforts that will deliver the most value to the industry. Some task group deliverables are more valuable than others and we need to focus on those with the most positive impact. Despite the challenges, I believe that 2014 will be a great year for GANA and there will be many more to come. The creativity of its staff and members will result in an even better experience. The implementation of such ideas as regional roundtables, management day, energy symposia, and an energized annual conference are examples of the efforts that will help the organization thrive by generating interest and value for its member companies.

So I head into the presidency hopeful and excited about the future of GANA and our industry, humbled by the honor to serve after many others that are much more capable than I. But I serve with the confidence that, once again, I have plenty of friends and colleagues alongside me to answer the questions “What’s this all about?” and “What do you think we ought to do about it?”

Jeff Nixon is the general manager of Glass Coatings and Concepts in Monroe, Ohio, and the 2014 GANA president.

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