Inside SMACNA's 2023 Strategic Plan

SMACNA’s CEO discusses the new strategic plan and how it will strengthen SMACNA’s position with key stakeholders.

   Aaron Hilger

I am proud of the effort our strategic planning committee put into the development of SMACNA’s 2023 strategic plan (thank you to all who participated). The plan was approved by SMACNA’s Board of Directors in January, and we are beginning to lay out the actions necessary to achieve the four planks outlined in the plan. 

SMACNA’s strategic plan puts in motion a set of four important objectives for the organization to accomplish over the next several years. When achieved, these objectives will strengthen SMACNA’s position with key stakeholders, including our labor partners, our members and our chapters.

Our first objective is to continue to develop our relationships with our union partners, making sure our members have a strong, progressive relationship with their local counterparts. Workforce demographics, mega projects and work changes due to technological change are placing new demands on contractors, and together SMACNA and SMART must respond to the changing environment on the national and the local levels. Contractors must also be more entrepreneurial and willing to enter new markets and/or engage in new ways with markets once lost. Confidence in our labor partner at the local level is one of the keys to our growth.

Our second objective is to expand and strengthen SMACNA’s educational offerings while delivering them in ways both contractors and their staff can fully utilize. This may include virtual programs for those who don’t have time to travel, combined with abbreviated in-person events. It also includes offering educational, in-person events in more locations. Lastly, SMACNA needs to make sure people can easily locate, register and attend a variety of education programs through SMACNA’s website.

Our third objective is to increase engagement with members at every level of the business by offering valuable services and information that helps members run their businesses more effectively. We will be looking at ways to increase engagement from simple interactions like reading content or browsing the website, to higher level engagement like attending conventions or volunteering to be on a committee or task force. Being able to quantify what is working and areas of improvement is imperative to developing highly valuable products and services for members. 

And last but certainly not least, our fourth objective is to strengthen SMACNA chapters and chapter executives. Tip O’Neill famously recognized that all politics are local. While he was talking about congressional elections, he could have also been talking about SMACNA chapters. Virtually all of SMACNA’s members come through local SMACNA chapters. The SMACNA member experience is driven by local chapter interactions. Stronger, more skilled chapter executives will help our contractors become more successful.

These four objectives are complex, long-term projects that will require a lot of cooperation, change, improvement and commitment across multiple stakeholders, but I am committed to making them happen and improving the value that SMACNA brings to members.  

Aaron Hilger is CEO of SMACNA, bringing more than two decades of executive association leadership to this role. Hilger is focused on building a stronger, more competitive environment for all SMACNA contractors.