BETHESDA, Md.—The Adhesive and Sealant Council has grown significantly in the last three years.
Now it's turning its focus to the next three.
ASC just released its updated long-range plan, which it began implementing in 2018 and will continue through 2020. President Bill Allmond said that while the six strategic objectives—career education/work force development, community knowledge, innovation, industry voice, growth and organizational effectiveness—remain the same, the association is placing a particular emphasis on education and work force development.
"That's come through clearly on industry surveys and focus groups we've conducted," he said. "The industry needs and looks to ASC for opportunities to educate the membership on everything from the fundamentals of adhesives and sealants to the chemistries and applications of them. There's no other place for the industry to go for that information. We've stepped in and identified a strong value proposition through the last two long-range plans, and will be doing even more of that for the next three years. It's an area of strong growth for us, it's helped us attract new members to ASC and retain our current membership."
One place it will start is expanding the ASC Training Academy certificate program. The current certificate includes 12 courses—six required and six electives—coming from a multitude of webinars and courses that already have been established. When complete, graduates obtain an understanding of technical and business issues within adhesives and are recognized as a graduate with a certificate and get a mug.
The requirements haven't changed, and Allmond said as of the convention ASC now has about 160 graduates since its inception, up by about 100 compared to April 2017.
"You could get through the program in a month if you did nothing else," Allmond said. "But a lot of times students have their job to do so it potentially takes a lot of time. We are seeing some good graduate rates and it's expanding. We're seeing more international students taking the certificate program. Companies are buying into the international subscription, allowing their global employees to participate."
ASC looks to add another track within the training academy geared toward sales, marketing and business development professionals. Allmond said the program still is in development, with ASC weighing the finer details of what and how many courses will be included along with the balance between required and electives.
He said ASC expects to launch it sometime in 2019.
"We're moving to a very specific area in this next certificate," Allmond said. "Beyond that, we may look to do a certificate in another area. The need was identified by the membership, they wanted us to do this. So we're putting in the necessary tools to create it."
ASC also is placing a focus on developing new talent—both those currently in the industry and prospective students looking for an opportunity.
Allmond said the association is looking to do more outreach to universities in an effort to reach students currently in college to showcase the opportunities available within the adhesives and sealants industry. ASC recently amended its bylaws to bring on a non-voting board seat on its board of directors for academia.
"Bringing academia into our board to bring the collaboration right to our decision makers is one example of where we're trying to collaborate better with students and their professors," Allmond said. "We want to raise the awareness of our industry as a potential employer for them and work with universities on potential collaborations to introduce our industry."
But the young talent already in the industry is not being neglected. ASC also is building an emerging leaders program to support company's efforts in developing them to fill the void as experienced leaders reach retirement.
Allmond said the goal of this program will be to engage with those who show potential, help them identify their strengths, provide the tools they need and a platform for them to network uniquely as emerging leaders.
This platform will take multiple shapes. Allmond said ASC already has a forum planned for emerging leaders at its annual fall Executive Leadership Conference, this time held Oct. 15-17 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla.
Beyond that, Allmond said ASC's goal is to provide an online platform for emerging leaders to remain connected throughout the year.
"We want to develop something that's very focused for these potential leaders," Allmond said. "We want to provide an opportunity for these emerging leaders to network with one another. They come from various companies in various sizes and there's really not an opportunity for them to network in such a way, uniquely, as a very specific group."
ASC's recent convention and expo just wrapped up in Miami at the end of April, the second-straight year the association has held just one such event.
Previously, ASC held both a spring (April) and fall (October) convention/expo, but after 2016 replaced the fall expo with the leadership conference and went all-in on one expo in the spring.
It's safe to say the decision worked. Allmond said attendance clocked in at about 860 people, hundreds more than the previous record, with 110 exhibitors at the convention, up by five compared to 2016 in Atlanta.
ASC already has 30 committed to exhibit in 2019, set to be held April 8-10 at the Philadelphia Marriott, which Allmond described as ahead of the game.
"It's definitely a good sign that the industry has bought into the idea," he said.
"We really saw trends of other industries moving to just one convention per year. We knew with the continued growth of the industry we'd see continued growth of the expo, even going to one convention a year. The last two years have definitely demonstrated that was the right decision because we've seen growth each year."