Having been a member of the VIA for over 20 years and in my second tour of duty with the board gives me a little historical perspective on where we’ve been and where we’re going as an association. To call 2017 a significant year of change at the VIA would be an understatement for sure.
Bringing on Kathy Gilmore as our new President and turning over our entire staff has been a large task for the board, but I must recognize our prior Chairman, Craig Russell of Monitor Technologies, who put in tremendous amounts of his personal time towards managing this transition and doing it extremely well. The membership owes Craig a debt of thanks for his diligence and effort to move us forward into a new era of strength and vitality for our association.
While transition can be a tumultuous time for any organization, Kathy has taken the reins, and with her capable new staff, has already bolstered every aspect of the organization from enhanced educational opportunities and marketing, to the addition of a health insurance captive as a new member benefit. I could easily see the captive insurance alone driving our membership and membership benefits to new heights in the next few years. It is an exciting time to be a member of the VIA.
In 2017, many of us have seen substantial growth and with the very low unemployment figures, I think most of us have been talking about the same problem…”Where do we find qualified people?” As part of my platform for 2018, I hope to continue the VIA’s long history of promoting manufacturing and its related fields as some of the best career opportunities for those entering the workforce and for those retraining for new career paths.
I know that I have struggled at times to understand how I, as the owner of a small company, can help bridge the gap between just talking about manufacturing and actually doing something that could create future job candidates. Some good options that are immediately available include hosting tours of your organization (whether for National Manufacturing Day, or the local Boy or Girl Scout Troop), donating to the VIA’s endowed scholarship fund for Waubonsee Community College, or contacting your local High School Principal, Counselors, and/or industrial technology instructors to make sure they know what you do, and what the candidates you hire need to know to be qualified.
For the VIA’s part, we will continue to seek out and coordinate efforts with member companies to get involved with promoting manufacturing to future members of the workforce in a meaningful way. Then, as always, we will continue to provide training programs and seminars that will enhance the skill sets of your new and seasoned employees.
We’d be happy to attempt to coordinate suitable training programs of interest to the general membership, but we always need communication from our members to know what the hot topics are in your industry. Kathy, the VIA Staff, and I all stand ready to assist and partner with you to achieve your goals. The VIA is your resource. All you need to do is ask!
Have a great 2018,
Tim Tremain, President, MTH Tool Company, Inc / MTH Pumps
Valley Industrial Association Board Chairman