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Key Idea: Be Involved in Your Trade Association

Keep up with rules, regulations, technology and product trends and meet the kind of people who can advise you by being involved in your trade associations.

Key Question:

A: 

It will keep you from joining organizations where you can learn from other business owners.  It will keep you from hiring smart people and it will keep you from listening to the people you have on your payroll.  One big brain can only take a company so far.  It is great to be confident which is very attractive however arrogance will stifle both your personal and business growth.

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Think about it

What groups of business owners are you a member of now?  What groups should you join?

Clip from: E-Poxy Engineered Materials

Albany, New York: Infrastructure.  Chemistry.  Bonding.  All keys for business success, but in this particular show, we discuss them literally. You can find E-poxy working within the foundations of Statue of Liberty and absorbing the stresses within bridges around the world.

You will meet  the founder -- a man who was a WWII refugee. His name is Don Dzekciorius. For years his mother kept him and his three siblings moving just beyond the battlefields. They managed to come to America from Lithuania on a boat that passed under the watch of the Statue of Liberty. Don has since built a good business from nothing. He employs people. He became the president of a regional manufacturers' president organization where they proudly say, "We made it in America." He gives generously to his community. But best yet, he exports his special chemistry all over the world.

Don's company, E-Poxy Engineered Materials, makes the product that holds things together.  His secret recipe is used to create water-tight expansion joints that hold up the Statute of Liberty and plenty of bridges including the Golden Gate Bridge.   

He started in his own business in 1976. In that time he has created hundreds of jobs, and he has generated millions in sales. And, in so many ways, he has made the world a better place.

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E-Poxy Engineered Materials

Don Dzekciorius,

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Be Involved in Your Trade Association

HATTIE: Is it getting easier over the years or harder, Don?

I mean, sitting here on this side of the desk, you look very successful, you have all these wonderful people, this beautiful building and, you know, this wonderful life. And you think, `Oh, my, how did I get here?'

DON: Well, you know, Hattie, it's like this. It's the old philosophy, they bring in faster rats every day. OK? And you have to keep up. And the pace is a faster pace, and you have to be involved.

You have to be involved with the associations, like the ACI, the ASTM ....

HATTIE: Wait a minute. You can't speak in gobblygook. You have to spell it out. You have to say what those mean. What's the ACI?

DON: The ACI is American Concrete Institute. HATTIE: OK.

DON: And they're the leaders, they set the standards, for the concrete industry. You have ASTM which is the American Society for Testing Materials. OK? Then you have TRB, which is Transportation Research Board, and they guide, basically, everything to do with transportation.

We also belong to CEN, which I mentioned to you earlier, is the Chief Executive Network, a group of small manufacturing companies under 500 employees in an 11-county area.

HATTIE: OK. And so what is the goal of that group?

DON: The goal of that group is to network. And basically, it's strictly for the chief executives.You've got to be a CEO in order to belong to the association, and you have to be a manufacturer.

HATTIE: Have you had a board of advisers or board of directors or any, like, a formal or even informal group of folks that gather once in awhile to give you advice?

DON: Yeah. Well, I do, as a matter of fact. We have a board of directors meeting every Friday. We have an insurance guy. OK? We have a CPA.

HATTIE: A marketing guy?

DON: A marketing guy.

HATTIE: Construction, CEO.

DON: An engineer. We have meetings. If everybody's in town, we have a meeting and we talk. We talk business. We compare notes. We throw odds and ends on the table. We ask, you know, `How would you handle this situation?' Or, you know, `I'm thinking of doing this. What do you think of it?'

HATTIE: Why is it critical that people carve out the time to participate in groups of like-minded folks?Why do we need each other? Why is this important?

DON: Well, it's important because you're sharing your problems. In some cases, you're the solution; and in some cases, they're the solution to your problems.


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