Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


President's Column: Good to great—it’s a trip!

Aug 2, 2016

GuyGast_colorI just came back from the SMACNA summer Board meeting and want to share some thoughts with you.

First, you need to know who represents you at the Board level. There are five members of the executive committee, plus Vince Sandusky, our CEO. There are 18 directors, representing all market segments, all sizes, and all geographies. Add SMACNA department heads—Eli Howard, Tom Soles, and Deb Wyandt—and there you have the group that devotes their time to your business.

 A couple of years ago, Vince called former SMACNA President Tom Szymczak and me and asked us to attend an association leadership “training” session with him. What came of that was a decision to spend more of our Board time looking forward and less to overlooking staff work. Where the industry and SMACNA is going and how we get there together is what the Board is about today.

 I’ve spent eight years with two Boards—four of those during my term as a Board member and four as a member of the Executive Committee.

 So I’m qualified to say that this Board had embraced this new approach. Your Board members buckled down and took on some challenges. All contributed; we disagreed; we had casualties. In the end, we walked out aligned. That’s a sign of a high-functioning group.

 A few years ago, I read the book, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, about companies who made the journey to iconic status and what principles were characteristic of great companies. I encourage a lot of people to read it.

 One characteristic of great companies is their ability to confront the brutal facts. It’s best done in a culture wherein the truth can be heard. It’s best done when people share honestly how they feel, lead with questions, and make good decisions by confronting brutal facts.

The culture of SMACNA—and certainly of its Board—would make Jim Collins proud. It makes me proud and grateful to serve. So when you see a member of the Board of Directors, thank them for taking this trip on your behalf—the trip from Good to Great!


Guy Gast
SMACNA President