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The Perks Of Organization Membership

September - 2008
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By: Anna Levitsky, Editor of Finishing Talk

We all know the old saying that two heads are better than one. We also remember how back in high school everyone wanted the support and backing of having a ‘clique' or a group of friends to associate with. There is a reason why we have these natural drives to be part of a bigger group, to embrace the idea of community and participate and engage with others. Back in high school, depending on who you associated with, your group may have supported you through times of crisis, listened to you rave about the injustices that your parents were subjecting you to, let you hitch rides with them to school, help you with your homework (or let you copy theirs) and even have your back during the occasional fist fight behind the football field bleachers.

Today, groups are just as valuable to us as they were back in our teen years; only now, we have different ‘issues' to contend with. Whether you own a small plating business, work for a large manufacturer, spend your time instructing the next generation of finishers or adding extra-value to an experienced Powder Coater's resume, it is always helpful and encouraging to know that there are a multitude of others who face similar struggles and celebrate shared accomplishments. These are the people you want to surround yourself with for additional feedback and support as you make your way through life.

In past issues, we've mentioned the NASF (National Association for Surface Finishing), and here I would like to expound upon it a bit more. If you're looking for industry support, a greater voice in the regulatory arena, new contacts, opportunities to network and expand your knowledge base, and above all, a group that shares many of the same concerns as you do, look no further. The NASF, which not too long ago joined forces with three other industry organizations, the AESF (American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society), the MFSA (Metal Finishing Suppliers Association) and the NAMF (National Association of Metal Finishers), covers all the bases relevant to the finishing industry. In regard to the merger of these organizations several years ago, NASF's website states that "As a more efficient and unified operation, the reorganization will provide all members, including platers, suppliers, managers, owners, technicians, researchers, academics and students with a stronger industry voice; an optimized volunteer pool; a reinvigorated committee structure; and enhanced member benefits.

And membership does come with its benefits.

Depending on your level of Membership (which is categorized based on an Individual or Corporate basis, and then filtered into subcategories built upon a monetary tier structure) you can take advantage of exclusive networking opportunities, members-only access to online journals and other parts of the NASF website, a subscription to the industry magazine Plating and Surface Finishing plus discounts on publications, industry reports, and other items in the online bookstore. A full time government relations staff helps convey member's needs to Washington and educate policymakers on industry related issues. Members also receive discounts on all NASF sponsored events throughout the year, including the premier industry conference and trade show, Sur/Fin. The organization also offers extensive educational training opportunities, which members can attend at a discounted rate, and many local and regional branches to allow members to meet and network on a regular basis.

Executive Director of the NASF, John Flatley, summarizes it like this: "NASF provides you with many benefits through continuous professional development, providing education programs and events that feature speakers and topics related to your profession, both directly and indirectly. We offer networking opportunities that allow you to make important contacts; new information on a wide range of industry topics in a timely manner, and an industry voice in your profession where you will have some influence over government and industry regulations."

If you're interested in learning more about becoming a member of the NASF, check out John Flatley at the Southern Metal Finishing Conference on September 15, where he will be giving the keynote address. If you can't make it, be sure to visit their website at www.nasf.org. When you're up against the world, it's good to know you've got your industry to rely on!