Sitting at a meeting recently with 150 CEOs from other manufacturing trade associations made me think more about the value of networking, collaboration and partnerships. I’ve talked with many of my association colleagues this past year about PDS, and communicating safety and pallet design with their memberships. We’ve also discussed ways our organizations can work closer on advocacy issues, and we’ve shared a few beers while talking and exchanging information on safety programs and expanding best practices across our industries. The conversations have included an open sharing about experiences with OSHA safety alliances and how each of us can have more impactful relationships with other state and federal regulatory and code bodies.
As an example of a recent partnership, I was nominated to the Board of Trustees for the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation. Their forklift training materials and experience will feed into a major project of NWPCA in 2017 – a comprehensive material handling, fire safety, and OSHA-related training materials and program.
Other partnerships we’ve recently built are doing the same, but in different ways.
A recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between NWPCA and the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory has us working together on Environmental Product Declarations, the USDA BioPreferred program and research for PDS.
You may have read about the expansion of our partnership with Virginia Tech. We are now on the advisory board of their Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. Additionally, we are conducting proprietary research with them and have recently provided scholarships to four undergraduate students, and are currently funding a full-time graduate student at Virginia Tech. NWPCA also recently hired two new structural engineers based out of our new offices in Blacksburg, Virginia, that will further enhance our collaboration with Virginia Tech.
Here is how one partnership can lead to another. Virginia Tech’s Dean Winistorfer was at NWPCA’s Annual Leadership Conference this year. He mentioned how impressed he was about Nature’s Packaging™ – the environmental messaging and marketing partnership with The Pallet Foundation, CWPCA and WPA. Dean Winistorfer pulled me aside and thought we could add significant insights into the multi-million dollar North American Forest Partnership (NAFP) initiative. The partnership brings together the full spectrum of the forest sector to increase the understanding of the environmental, social and economic benefits of North America’s forests and to enhance the responsible management, conservation and use of those resources.
I’m honored to have recently been elected to NAFP’s Board of Directors and know we can bring our experiences to the group and complement their activities, while also bringing valuable research and digital campaign strategies that we can immediately implement at NWPCA and in Nature’s Packaging™.
The power of partnerships fuels and rapidly advances our ability to reach the advocacy, PDS and web goals in our strategic plan. We are working closely with many organizations on your behalf because collaboration, coalitions, and a strong community delivers results.