March-April 2020

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8 PalletCentral • March-April 2020 Conference Photography by Caryn Smith/Driven By Design A s we navigate the new normal amid this coronavirus pandemic, your staff and your association are here to support you and to hear your questions and concerns. What the new standard will look like remains to be seen but know that we are all in this together. The Annual Leadership Conference (ALC), March 4-6, in Naples, Florida, was filled with elbow bumps, hand sanitizers, packed meeting rooms and expo hall. There were hugs too. The news changed rapidly in the week that followed. Staff acted quickly and made plans to work remotely in a seamless fashion to ensure business continuity for our members and their businesses. NWPCA advocacy work was immediately directed at the national level to ensure that wooden pallets and containers were in federal guidelines as "essential critical infrastructure." We were successful when the Department of Homeland Security declared "pallets as essential." State grassroots activity quickly followed as we jumped into action with letters to Governors, senators, and members of Congress. The communications team evaluated, sorted, and created a COVID-19 Resource Hub ( containing updates and critical information needed by our members for their businesses and their workforce. We also hosted a live event on March 23 with an OSHA safety expert and attorney with 200 people INSIDENWPCA participating in this free webinar. For this article, and in the spirit of sharing news of our conference (and hopefully a small distraction), you'll see many group photos before social distancing became part of today's norm. ALC Education, Expo & Auction A record-breaking number of members, exhibitors, and guests participated in this year's NWPCA Annual Leadership Conference (ALC), themed "Vision 20/20: Strategy & Operations." Nearly 650 attended the event from March 4-6 in Naples, Florida. Chairman Jordan Piland, Atlas Pallets, kicked off the conference with remarks covering NWPCA's year in review before passing the gavel to incoming Chair Frank Shean, PLA Holdings-Valley Pallet. President and CEO Brent McClendon provided his perspective on the future of the industry and the association. In a post-conference survey, our attendees' top-ranked presentations were from A.B. Stoddard on the political landscape, futurist Jason Schenker on markets and the economy, and Gene Marks on building a business strategy. Several remarks on the quality and expertise of the program were, "The sessions were on point to what the industry is facing," and the speakers "depth of knowledge and presentation skills were excellent." The cybersecurity outlook from Carrie Kerskie was also ranked very high by attendees, many saying that the information "probably scared us all more than anything." Timely presentation from Chaille Brindley, who just completed an HR Wage and Labor Survey, provided insight into workforce and production trends. Presentations by John Smith, business risk insurance; Adele Abrams, workforce safety challenges; Eric Bassett on the NAM Health Care program; and the demonstrations Jason Schenker A.B. Stoddard

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