TS: You help manage several of the industry Fastener associations. In a couple weeks the Midwest Fastener Association is holding its semi-annual Fastener Tech Show. How are things shaping up for Fastener Tech ‘19?
NR: We have a very nice list of exhibitors, these are all companies committed to the fastener industry realizing the heart of the industry is in the Midwest. This is also indicated by the large list of sponsors as listed on the show website. I encourage people to go to mwfa.net and click on the Fastener Tech ’19 logo to learn more about this event.
TS: Any new twists to this year’s show?
NR: Several new twists. At the entrance to the show will be a New Product Showcase where exhibitors can display a product they’d like to showcase this year. Company name and booth number will be provided next to the product indicating where attendees can learn more about the product.
We will have William Strauss from the Chicago Federal Reserve discuss current economic conditions. This will be at 9:00 a.m. prior to the opening of the show on June 5th. This allows exhibitors and attendees to join us for breakfast and receive an update on current and forecasted economic conditions. With the uncertainty of an upcoming recession, this will prove very informative. We’ve had Mr. Strauss in the past at MWFA meetings and the audience has always enjoyed his presentations.
On June 5th we will have an After Show Party featuring live music. This will be from 3:00-5:00 allowing exhibitors to casually take down their booth while enjoying music and grab a drink and something to eat before heading out. Everyone always enjoys the casual networking so why not give them one more chance before leaving the show after working hard for a couple of days.
And there’s one more new feature. We will have a social media kiosk where exhibitors and attendees can stop & take a picture for themselves or to share with industry friends, from the show floor. Three exhibitors got together and decided to sponsor this fun stop at the show.
Keeping with tradition, the MWFA Golf Outing will follow the show and be held on June 6th.
TS: There’s a lot of competition these days between Fastener shows. How is that effecting Fastener Tech and how is Fastener Tech different from those other shows?
NR: We work hard to produce a show that is economical for exhibitors. It’s a simplified show and we hold it in an easy access location and we put together a basic package for exhibitors saving them money and time.
It seems all shows are down the last couple of years but we all know there are many reasons for that. We are a little different than other shows as we limit overseas companies. Our show supporters prefer to see mainly domestic companies. We are also different in the aspect that the funds generated are put back into the industry for education and scholarships. Rather than trying to boast high numbers we strive for quality over quantity. We have a variety of exhibitors with a large range of products as well as industry services displaying. If decision makers attend, it’s a win. But there’s another factor that many forget about, the show is also an education tool. Besides the decision makers, others should be attending to learn what the various products are offered in the industry as well as to be aware of additional products they may not deal with every day as these products may end up a very profitable add on down the road.
TS: So, in addition to the Midwest Association you also manage the New England Fastener Association, the Southeastern Fastener Association and the Metropolitan Fastener Association. Did I miss any?
NR: That’s all of them.
TS: What’s going on with those associations?
NR: SEFA just finished their Spring Conference which was great. They also announced their scholarship winners, giving out $15,000. NEFDA just met to select their recipients so they’ll be awarding $20,000 at their June 13th Golf Outing. And, MFDA is in the process of selecting their recipients for this year so it’s a busy time for scholarships.
TS: You’ve been with the Midwest Association the longest. How long have you been involved with that group?
NR: I started when my 2nd child was born so let me find out how old she is and get back to you.
TS: How did you get started with Midwest?
NR: It kind of just happened, I was working part time at Cronin Fasteners, I was planning to quit to be home with the baby & Ken Ozaniec asked if I’d be interested in this little part time job. It sounded interesting so I thought I’d try it out. That little part time job sure changed over the years but it’s still interesting.
TS: What’s your favorite part of managing the associations?
NR: The people and the longevity of the industry. I’ve had the opportunity to meet fastener industry personnel across the country and have really enjoyed getting to know them. Every day is different and brings new challenges. Often people I meet, in other careers, tend to think association management is fun and easy. I’m not going to lie, it is challenging-much more as times have changed. But the key is if you enjoy your job and the people you work with, the job and its challenges always keep you interested.