Rusty Thompson, president and CEO of Evans Adhesive, will assume the chairmanship of the Adhesive & Sealant Council, Inc. (ASC) this month. Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton recently had the opportunity to speak with him about his new role, as well as some of the ASC’s plans for the new year.
What are you most looking forward to as you assume the chairmanship?
I’m looking forward to working more closely with the great leaders who are part of our industry. As the president and CEO of Evans Adhesive, a small company relative to some of the larger companies that operate in our space, one of the greatest benefits of being an active part of the ASC is my ongoing working relationship with the good leaders like Glenn Frommer of ADCO Products, Jim Owens of H.B. Fuller, and Larry Owen of Franklin International, just to name a few.
Actively participating in ASC’s conventions, short courses and volunteering to guide the council allows me to explore new ideas, different perspectives, and truly get to know these leaders. And that also helps the council and Evans Adhesive, as well as me personally.
It’s also great to have a mix of companies leading the organization. Next year, I’ll be working closely with Andy Johnson of Ashland, who will be treasurer, and Glenn Frommer from ADCO, who will be the past chair. So the ASC officers will be made up of a small, medium and large company, ensuring that different voices are part of the value proposition offered by the council.
ASC membership spans the supply chain, from raw materials companies to formulators and affiliates. How does the council support these different segments?
Very carefully. Joking of course, but the key to the council’s success is that ASC mirrors the industry we serve. And we work hard to make sure that our programs reflect what is really happening in the market. When REACH came about, we established working groups to make sure we understood the requirements and could respond. When raw materials were in flux during the downturn, we made sure we had speakers at our convention discussing the issues and how companies can respond. And as the sustainability trend started to impact our sector, we held a Sustainability Summit and brought leaders together to discuss how we can respond to that issue.
The key is that the ASC is always “listening” to its members via surveys, anecdotal discussions, and with solid discussions at the board and committee levels where industry comes together—and then doing something about it vs. just talking about it. I think that’s an important message to share about the ASC. I am inheriting an organization that has a legacy of taking action, especially over the past two years where we’ve introduced new programs and services based on market demand and interest.
What are some of those new programs that we should be aware of?
Four jump out right off the bat, because I know that we’ll be focusing on executing these programs in 2013. First is www.adhesives.org. We have completely retooled the site, making it more of an engagement platform that allows ASC members to connect to end users with how-to videos, discussions with our 2,700-member LinkedIn group, and the posting of white papers and product information.
Second is the ASC Training Academy. We have developed eight core “basics of” and “fundamentals of” training webinars and will be producing them in 2013. The subjects will touch on the basics of adhesives, additives, rheology, and technology types, as well as how our products impact important market segments such as building and construction, packaging, and assembly.
Third is what we call Advanced Technology Link. At each convention, we’re going to focus at least eight of the 45+ tracks on emerging research and new ideas coming out of the labs. We want our attendees and members to really understand the new, emerging innovations that could become commercial in the next few years, and I feel the Advanced Technology Link will keep ASC members ahead of the curve.
Fourth, we are expanding our GR efforts to focus more on being proactive with our responses to the complex regulatory environment we operate in. Between MDI/TDI, USGBC LEED, DTSC and REACH, there are more than enough acronyms to keep the council focused on delivering value.
The key, though, is transitioning from simply making members aware of the issues facing our industry to proactively responding to these issues as we face them in our day-to-day businesses. We’ll do that via position papers, ongoing communications and regular meetings with regulators. Eleven months ago, these four concepts were just that, concepts. But under Glenn Frommer’s leadership and direction, and the board’s willingness to try new things and invest in the council’s programming, we’ve been able to get these ideas up and moving.
To hear the full interview with Rusty Thompson, including details regarding the ASC’s sustainability efforts, listen to our exclusive podcast!