I spoke with Molly Mullins, EVP of NAHAD, at this week’s 35th Annual Convention at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas. Mullins, who has been leading the organization for almost two years, shared her thoughts on some of NAHAD’s latest endeavors.
FPW: One of the marks of your tenure so far seems to be a real focus on the organization’s Hose Safety Institute. Can you talk a bit about some of the key developments there, and why you see this as such an important part of NAHAD?
MM: In my opinion, there is nothing more important to NAHAD, and to our member companies, than ensuring the safety of their products and their customers. That is why NAHAD members join the Hose Safety Institute (HSI) and train their teams on industry best practices related to hose assembly. Our goal this year is to bring this incredibly important information to our members in a much more digestible and user-friendly format.
We have been able to turn the 300+ plus page HSI Handbook into an online, interactive course where participants can learn at their own speed through engaging content. I believe this will, in turn, lead to better participation and retention of content, which will ultimately lead to safer hose assembly.
FPW: You’re launching NAHAD Training Academy. Tell us a bit about the genesis of this program. How does it work?
MM: We’ve heard from our members for a long time that it’s hard to find good talent, and it’s even harder to train and retain them. As a result, we have launched NAHAD Academy, which includes targeted training opportunities for individuals working in distribution. NAHAD members will have access to Hose Safety Institute content, as well as other education to benefit their employees, ranging from supply chain to branch management to marketing to inside sales. We are excited to see how our members respond, and how this offering will benefit their overall business.
FPW: NAHAD is also launching a regional training program, starting this Fall. How did you select Cleveland as the launch location?
MM: Providing access to hands-on, interactive training is incredibly important to understanding the hose assembly process. That is why NAHAD is launching its Regional Training, which will become a series of trainings throughout the U.S. that provide classroom learning and well as the opportunity to be a part of the fabrication process at various NAHAD-member facilities. We chose Cleveland as so many NAHAD member companies are based in Ohio, and a central location provides an opportunity for local members to send their teams in a cost-effective manner.
FPW: You’re approaching your two-year anniversary as the EVP of the organization. What lessons have you learned about the group that have surprised you? What changes are you planning for the coming years?
MM: I have been blessed to work with a board of directors who have allowed me the opportunity to try new things, and I cannot begin to express how much gratitude I feel for their trust. I could see that the association offered a lot of great benefits for our members, but it was time to improve certain offerings and implement some new ideas.
Technology plays a huge role in my thought process and I try to be thinking a few steps ahead about what NAHAD will need not just right now, but as the industry evolves. I want us constantly thinking about new products and services with one thought in mind: how will this help my members’ businesses and their overall bottom line? We will spend a lot of time in 2020 developing new industry content for our online learning system as well as promoting the message of hose safety to the broader end-user community.
FPW: How would you rate this year’s NAHAD Annual Convention? What’s been different about it? What things should members look forward to for the 2020 event in Atlantis?
MM: I will let the survey results rate the show, but from the members I have spoken with, it has been a really positive experience for their businesses. I personally am very proud of the fact that we had an equal number of distributor and manufacturer companies in attendance, which provided for solid business interaction.
I also believe in planning each year’s show a little bit differently to match the location and the current business climate. For Vegas, we offered additional education and company meeting opportunities to keep everyone engaged. For 2020 at the Atlantis, we are already working on that program which will offer targeted distribution education as well as networking on the beach. We are going to such a beautiful location, and I want to ensure my members can take advantage of all the Atlantis has to offer, while also making sure business gets done.
FPW: What would you say to a small manufacturer or distributor who isn’t a member, about why they should join NAHAD today?
MM: There is no other opportunity for any manufacturer or distributor to meet with so many businesses contacts all under one roof, as they can at NAHAD. For the single price of admission, the contacts you make reap dividends, without having to fly all over the country meeting with potential customers. Furthermore, as a member of NAHAD and the Hose Safety Institute, you are setting your company apart from the rest and proving you are one of the best in the business. There is no other association that does this like NAHAD.