There is more to joining FEMSA than simply the benefit of networking, said Crosby Grindle of Sourcewell. Networking, he points out, is just the foundation for finding deeper connections and becoming better aware of what is happening in the fire service industry.
“For me, the value is industry knowledge, understanding industry trends, making industry connections, and looking for new ways to collaborate with different companies,” Crosby said. Understanding what is happening in the market, what successes companies are having, and what issues companies are having are the true benefits that come from networking.
It is vital to have a broad perspective of what is happening across the industry, and relationships through FEMSA give you that industry knowledge, Crosby said. The Annual Conference is a great way to start cultivating those connections and relationships that will increase your industry knowledge.
“You may see the same people at many tradeshows, but you are very busy at those events,” he said. The interaction at these events tends to be light because of the need to focus on other things like customers and business development. “At the Annual Conference, and you have the time to connect socially and have conversations about the industry.”
The depth of these relationships comes from the FEMSA name. “It is in the name of our association, the ‘Fire And Emergency Manufacturers And Services Association,’ that ‘And Services’ means we have a broad membership base where there are so many different types of members,” Crosby said. Publishers, service organizations, and software providers create a diverse group that can give you a significant perspective on the industry. ”I don’t know anywhere else I can get that varied connection. There’s nowhere you can go other than FEMSA and get a view of the industry like this,” he said.
Combined with the governmental affairs committee, lobbying for grant funding, and working with allied organizations, all of this gives a member a robust platform of experiences and helps with professional development. This connection does not exist anywhere else, Crosby said. The information that FEMSA sends out, such as newsletters and webinars, is also even more robust than before. The FEMSA sections inform members about special-interest elements of the industry such as trade show effectiveness, marketing, technology, and health and safety, adding to the value of being a FEMSA member.
In summary, FEMSA membership is more than just professional, social connections, Crosby explained. It gives regular interaction with a greater number of people in the industry in ways that increase your knowledge of critical industry topics. Membership also gives you deeper insights into industry trends and outside influences that will impact your business or organization. The value is far beyond what you might think you can get from just attending trade shows and will have a significant influence on your operations.