William (Bill) Allmond became president of the Adhesive and Sealant Council Inc. (ASC) in August 2016, after serving as vice president of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates for 10 years. Here, he discusses what he brings to the ASC, as well as his plans for 2017 and beyond.

What are some of the biggest issues that the adhesives and sealants industry is facing today?

Allmond: One of the biggest issues involves uncertainties with the new administration. We are a global industry. Trade is a big part of our industry, and there is some uncertainty with the Trump administration and trade policy if that’s something that is going to benefit the industry or going to hurt us or provide more barriers to trade.

Another area more domestically is the interests in state and federal governments to regulate chemicals. I think, on the one hand, it does raise a concern. But on the other hand, it could also provide an opportunity for us to better innovate the materials that we use in our products. Certainly we’re going to have to keep an eye on state and federal regulations to be sure that they don’t go too far in regulating our industry such that it has a negative impact on innovation and our ability to grow.

What do you hope to accomplish at the ASC in the short and long term?

Allmond: In the short term, I hope to move the organization successfully through our next long-range plan process. We are starting planning for a new three-year road map next year, and then we’ll start the long-range plan for 2018 through 2020. In the short term, I want to facilitate and drive any new ideas through that process, through our board of directors and others who are volunteering to help us through our year-long planning process beginning in 2017. To really evaluate the ASC value proposition, to identify the things that we’re doing that do bring value to the ASC member, but also identify those that may not bring much and perhaps as a replacement find new ideas, new ways to provide value for the investments that companies are making to join the ASC.

In the long term, I want to work with my board to grow our membership. Associations must always compete for time and resources, and trying to convince companies to join so that we can deliver more value to the adhesive and sealant manufacturers, the suppliers in our industry, the end-users that rely on our industry as a solution provider. That’s going to be a big focus for me long term, growing our membership higher than we have now.

Let’s talk about the upcoming convention.

Allmond: As you know, we’re moving from two conventions to one, so we’ll have for the first time an annual spring convention. We are planning for the biggest convention that we’ve done that is separate from one of the World Adhesive Conferences, and we’re hoping to get 750 attendees. It has been many years since we’ve gotten to that attendance, but we’re really pushing hard in promoting to our membership and to the industry that the conference in Atlanta this April will be the only opportunity that the industry
will have to come together at an ASC event to network, to form relationships, to hear the best in technical sessions, and to talk with suppliers at the Expo. And we’re hoping that through those promotional messages, the industry will understand that they have to attend the ASC convention in Atlanta because we can’t wait for another convention in the fall like we traditionally do.

Some of the new things that we have planned include introducing a process safety track, which is traditionally outside of the technical areas that we plan for in our tracks. The whole idea here is to attract an additional type of employee who works at adhesive and sealant manufacturing companies to learn from one another on process safety, to hear from industry, from government, from subject matter experts on safety culture, and to network with one another on best practices within this area and this particular focus.

We’re also planning for 100 booths in our expo, which would be one of our largest ever as well, and I’m happy to say we’re at the halfway point already to reaching this goal. We fully expect we will hit that number, and a lot of the same companies that have exhibited in the past have already signed up for next year, so we’re really optimistic. Of course, the big priority now is trying to get our keynote speakers lined up. We’re pursuing a lot of pretty exciting speakers, but I don’t have any keynotes to announce today, unfortunately. But we’ve got some good ideas based on some feedback we’ve received from the membership.

What sort of networking events do you have scheduled to take place?

Allmond: We will be doing another ASC Gives Back program, which our members will sign up and do a community service project. The good thing about the community service project that we do every year in conjunction with the convention is we are doing good deeds in the community where the convention is located for a good cause, typically for a charitable organization. But it is also a good opportunity for the industry to network and to get to know one another outside of the meeting room, in a different, casual setting.

We’ll be doing another speed-networking event like we’ve done in the past as well, where we set up times for members of the industry to speed network with one another over about an hour timeframe. We’re planning again additional receptions during the convention and expo to allow the industry to come together and to network at those opportunities as well.

How much overlap have you noticed between the ASC and the Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates Association?

Allmond: There hasn’t been too much overlap between ASC and the Society for Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, other than some of the same regulatory issues like reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act. But really I’m learning a lot of new things in my role at ASC that are very unique to our industry. I’m excited that there are a lot of new things that I am having to learn and people to get to know and issues to get up to speed on. Fortunately, there’s not much overlap, and it’s really allowed me to grow in my knowledge of the greater chemical industry coming from the chemical distribution side many years ago to chemical manufacturing and then at ASC focusing even more narrowly to a specific and a very important sector of the overall chemicals industry.

Has anything surprised you so far that you’ve learned about the industry?

Bill: When I think of the World Adhesive Conference in Tokyo in October, I was really surprised by the global network of other adhesive and sealant organizations. I had no idea our industry had so many sister organizations that come together and collaborate as well as they do. That has really surprised me.

And I’m thankful and grateful that our industry has that networking support globally because we are a global industry, and any time the organizations can leverage one another’s resources and collaborate, it can only benefit our industry as we try to grow our memberships, grow our value proposition that we provide to adhesive and sealant manufacturers, and make a positive impact on the economics of our industry, as well as the ability for us to grow into other areas of the world where we might not be as visible.  ASI

The Adhesive and Sealant Council Annual Spring Convention and Expo takes place April 3-5 in Atlanta. For more information, visit www.ascouncil.org.