Fluid Power Journal

NFPA Continues to Strengthen the Fluid Power Industry

By Tricia Fulton, CFO, Sun Hydraulics Corp., 2016-17 NFPA Chairwoman of the Board

In June of this year, the NFPA Board of Directors held its annual strategic retreat where we discussed many of the challenges faced by the fluid power industry and what NFPA is and should do to help our members address them. It was an exciting and productive meeting for me, knowing that, as the new Chairwoman of the Board (NFPA’s first!), it would be my responsibility to shepherd the outcomes determined by the Board in our 2016-17 fiscal year.

At the June meeting, the Board spent some time reviewing the latest information from our membership satisfaction survey and engaged in much discussion about the changing climate of our industry. Taking into consideration the significant strategic and program successes we’ve seen over the past year*, we worked on crafting a set of clear, high-level objectives—what we refer to as “ends” statements, because they describe the major ends or outcomes we wish to achieve. These objectives are:

  • NFPA provides an effective forum for fluid power manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers to advance their collective interests.
  • NFPA provides its members with timely and accurate industry statistics that support improved decision-making.
  • NFPA provides opportunities and resources for its members to promote the unique strengths and inherent advantages offered by modern fluid power technology.
  • NFPA fosters awareness and involvement of middle and high school students, helping them understand fluid power’s potential as a technology and as a career path.
  • NFPA helps increase the number of technically trained people capable of integrating and applying fluid power and connects them to careers in the fluid power industry.
  • NFPA supports universities in the development of fundamental fluid power knowledge and connects our industry to an increasing number of scientific and engineering leaders in our field.

These statements represent the current strategic vision of the Association. They describe how we intend to fulfill our mission to strengthen the fluid power industry.

The first three objectives represent our Association’s core strengths and member benefits. In Effective Forum, NFPA’s membership and conference attendance continues to grow, underscoring the importance of the inclusive forum we have built for networking, education, and coordinated action. In Industry Statistics, our portfolio of market information programs is stronger than ever, with a new, user-friendly toolkit to help our members make use of that information. And, the opportunities and resources we have built to help you Promote Fluid Power continue to multiply, with another record-breaking IFPE tradeshow quickly approaching.

The second three objectives reflect our Association’s commitment to growing an educated fluid power workforce. Thanks to the unprecedented support of our NFPA Foundation donors, the programs we coordinate to expose Middle and High School Students to our industry, build educational capacity within 2-year tech schools to increase the number of Technically Trained People, and connect our members to an emerging workforce within Universities are reaching new heights of participation and effectiveness.

As with any organization, challenges remain. For NFPA, these largely align with continued growth and sustainability of our mission and affiliated programs. Our productive partnership with the CCEFP is going through a critical time, as the upcoming year will be the first without any of the National Science Foundation funding that helped launch the CCEFP ten years ago. We highly value our relationship with the CCEFP and see its role as helping our industry connect with the universities that are developing the workforce we need for the future.

I look forward to a very active year as your Chair. Please feel free to contact me through the NFPA office if you have any questions. I would strongly encourage your continued involvement in all of the activities of the NFPA.

*Please visit http://news.nfpahub.com for success highlights from the 2015-16 NFPA Strategy Agenda.

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