NARSA has always held a special place in my heart. So, when I decided to leave in the summer of 2017 to continue my growth in the association sector, it was the most challenging career decision I ever had to make. I met and worked with so many great people that it was very difficult to say goodbye. Still, I knew that if I ever wanted to advance my career, I needed more experience and exposure to various challenges facing associations.   

Having worked at the Society of Automotive Engineers, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and most recently, The Association for Iron & Steel Technology, I learned a lot and will use that knowledge and experience to help guide NARSA/IDEA into the future. Although each association is different, the success and sustainability of any association largely hinge on one fundamental principle: putting its members first.

Members are the lifeblood of any association. You are the driving force behind NARSA/IDEA’s existence, activities, and overall success. Without members, NARSA/IDEA is merely an empty shell devoid of purpose and direction. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize our members, ensuring that your needs, interests, and aspirations are at the forefront of our agenda. 

Prioritizing members brings a sense of belonging and loyalty. When you feel valued and appreciated, you are more likely to remain committed to NARSA/IDEA. You are more likely to participate actively in our activities, contribute your skills and resources, and advocate for NARSA/IDEA within your sphere of influence. This sense of loyalty and commitment is crucial for the long-term sustainability of our organization. 

By focusing on the needs and interests of its members, NARSA/IDEA can ensure that our activities, programs, and services are relevant and beneficial. This focus on relevance and effectiveness can enhance the association’s credibility and reputation, attracting more members and resources. 

Lastly, putting members first can foster innovation and creativity. By listening to you, NARSA/IDEA can tap into a wealth of ideas, perspectives, and experiences. This diversity of input can spark innovation and creativity, enabling the association to adapt to changing circumstances, overcome challenges, and seize new opportunities. 

That being said, putting members first requires more than just rhetoric. It requires a genuine commitment to member engagement, participation, and empowerment. It requires open and inclusive decision-making processes, regular and effective communication, and a constant focus on member satisfaction and value. 

Putting members first is not just a noble principle; it is a strategic imperative for any association, especially NARSA/IDEA. It is the key to building a strong, vibrant, and sustainable association that can make a real difference in the lives of its members and the broader community. By prioritizing its members, NARSA/IDEA can ensure that it remains relevant, effective, and impactful, now and in the future.  

I want to personally thank Mark and Sandy Taylor for putting you, our members, first. I will strive to continue NARSA/IDEA’s member-centric culture, where the needs and interests of our members guide every decision, action, and initiative.  

I look forward to collaborating with our esteemed Board of Directors to channel our collective passion and expertise toward better serving you, our valued members. Together, we will strive to unlock opportunities for growth and prosperity, ensuring that NARSA/IDEA’s members increase profitability by becoming better businesses and entrepreneurs.  

Give me a call, send me an email, and let’s reconnect or meet for the first time because you have and will always continue to be NARSA/IDEA’s top priority.

Take care,

Doug Shymoniak 
NARSA/IDEA Executive Director

(724) 799-8415

This editorial was originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of The Cooling Journal.