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ISA Holds Virtual Town Hall to Outline 2021 Goals and Potential Changes for the Association

by: Jack Quigley
Indiana Subcontractors Association (ISA) Executive Director Scott Grimes recently moderated a town hall webinar that gave ISA President David Peterson and a panel of ISA board members a platform to discuss the organization’s future heading into 2021. Peterson and members of ISA’s Board of Directors spoke candidly with Grimes about how their organization, which places a heavy focus on in-person networking events, is adapting to COVID-19 restrictions through creative meeting alternatives and an increased focus on communication.
Outlining Goals for ISA’s Future
In a pre-recorded sit-down conversation with the association’s president, Grimes asked Peterson about the future of ISA heading into a seemingly uncertain year. Peterson told Grimes that ISA is built upon three brand promises – connection, dialogue, and innovation – which must guide every decision made by the association.

While COVID-19 has made fulfilling those brand promises more difficult, ISA is working diligently to ensure its members still experience the benefits offered by various programs, even if those programs look slightly different this year. Peterson said ISA recently held a virtual strategic planning session with its Board of Directors and committee chairs to discuss how the association can continue being at the forefront of programs, education, and project opportunities in an unstable environment.

ISA leaders identified three areas of focus for ISA going into 2021.

Communication

“We need to continue efforts of sharing with the members and sponsors what we are doing and where we are going,” Peterson said.

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Relevant Education Programs

“We must continue to offer relevant education programs that will help our members’ businesses navigate these unprecedented times,” said Peterson.

Creative Events

Peterson said, “We need to find a safe and structured way to offer a hybrid of digital and in-person events.”

Grimes went on to ask Peterson about ISA’s approach to hosting traditional functions during the pandemic. ISA stopped holding in-person events in March of this year, but programs like their Emerging Leaders Virtual Happy Hour, Thirst for Knowledge Education Series, and frequent panel discussions about the pandemic’s impact on business gave ISA members valuable learning and networking opportunities amidst the global shutdown.

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Peterson said he challenged the ISA board to continue thinking of different and innovative ways for the organization to provide relevant information to its members, even if that means going virtual for traditionally in-person programs.

“We will continue to offer value-based educational programs, virtual networking, and in-person programs as more clarity regarding the pandemic unfolds,” Peterson said. “Our goal would be to work towards small scale in-person events as guidelines allow, but we must be responsible and have a focused purpose on any event.”

Peterson described networking as a cornerstone of this industry and said ISA events like their annual golf outing, trade show, and education sessions will still provide chances for members to network with other industry professionals in 2021.

What to Expect from ISA in 2021
ISA board members Rosemily Geyer, President/CEO of Geyer Fire Protection; Steve Knitter, President of Geiger & Peters; Gary Dunn, Director of Sales at New Era Technology; Brad Hitzfield, CEO of Hitzfield Group; and John Abbott, President of Circle B Construction Systems answered questions from Grimes about what members can expect from ISA in 2021.

Abbott said the uncertainty of this coming year only increases the value that an organization like ISA can provide to its members.

“ISA could be a more valuable organization in 2021 than it’s ever been,” Abbott said. “We could be facing unprecedented things with regards to the pandemic and a new election, and this is an important organization to the success of the construction industry.”

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During the 2008 recession, Dunn said subcontractors in Indiana relied heavily on ISA to inform them about industry changes and new projects amidst a financial collapse. He said he expects ISA to provide that same value to its members throughout this pandemic.

Dunn said, “It is very important that we stay connected to our peers in the industry and I think ISA is the way to do that; it’s an immense resource that we need to continue to support.”

Grimes later spoke with panelists about ISA’s Leadership Development Academy (LDA) and asked them if changes would be made to the program next year. Board members said the leadership program is currently accepting applications and will begin offering participants options for in-person or virtual communication depending on their comfort level.

As the industry faces a workforce shortage of craftspeople entering the trade, Knitter said any form of professional development for workers already inside the industry is going to become crucial. Hitzfield said it is imperative for young people to take advantage of chances to connect with alike people in their industry, especially since pandemic restrictions have reduced mentorship opportunities for young professionals.

“It’s a good connection between leadership and people who want to be a leader,” Hitzfield said. “We want to create leaders instead of followers and LDA is doing a good job with that.”

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ISA board members wrapped up their Q&A session by assuring members that membership prices will remain steady as ISA continues to offer its same core events and education programs through 2021. Knitter, Secretary Treasurer for ISA, said ISA’s treasury committee is always critiquing how membership money is spent and will adjust membership pricing if future schedule changes warrant a reduction.

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