By: Barbara C. Higgens, CEO/PMI Executive Director
I suppose that it’s a natural tendency for December editorials to focus on the same theme: a look back at the previous months. The end of 2013 marks the end of my 15th year with PMI. On one hand, it’s amazing to think about so much time having passed. On the other hand, PMI is very different from the organization I was recruited to head up in 1998.
PMI has seen been physical changes: a new name and logo; a move to a new headquarters some years ago. A couple of new website face lifts (and we are headed for another in 2014)
There have been some structural changes: our by-laws have been revised to enhance the way PMI is governed. We have made changes to the PMI communications both in frequency and technology and we have changed our pattern of conferences. PMI remains financially stable with a healthy reserve.
I have partnered with 16 PMI presidents and have organized 31 PMI conferences. (Our Spring 2014 conference is well in-the-works. That marks number 32!) We have worked together to ensure progress, influence, relevance, continuous improvement and enhancement of the member value equation. We have seen industry icons come and go and change business cards for new roles within the industry.
We have had some philosophical changes: PMI is no longer a “just say no” organization. Today we work proactively to find common ground to move forward-- the new federal lead bill to be enacted next month is evidence of that. Though the most recent, the lead bill is only one of several great successes: we have worked within legislative and regulatory arenas to ensure and harmonize requirements for water purity and water efficiency on both the state and national levels. We have worked to harmonize product definitions and performance requirements. We have reached out to promote broad understanding of code requirements both by our members and those responsible for enforcing them.
We have added new categories of membership. We have received industry recognition for our charitable work as an organization. We have partnered with other organizations internationally, domestically, formally and informally to expand our reach and effectiveness in reaching our industry goals. We have raised our visibility to policy makers and continue to work to be their go-to resource.
The list goes on…
There have been a number of personal changes too over those 15 years: the loss of both parents (Dad just this year in May and Mom six months after I signed on to PMI in 1998. I am not crazy about this phase of life); weddings and grandkids; a grandniece and a grandnephew. Pesky pounds lost and regained; several new hair dos. I finally hung up my tenor drum mallets, retiring from bagpipe band competition after a decade and a champion supreme title several years ago. No more drumming for me now; just plumbing. A couple of new mobile phones and software upgrades. A “new” used car; Tai Chi class; Italian language lessons last year, and now German language lessons (I’m not ready yet for the quiz though. Be gentle, German-speaking friends.) A new priest and a new church pew row. A new brew master at not one but two of our local pubs. A lifetime achievement award. Election as chair of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations, and service on the NAM Board.
The end of the year and holiday time focus our thoughts on what has been gained and what has been lost. With all the changes swirling around us; good and bad, positive and character-building; it seems to be important to try to enjoy our successes, live in the moment and be thankful for what we have now. It is a lesson that I will try my best to apply in 2014, and take a break (at least for a moment) from looking to the next mountain to climb.
Happy New Year!