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Letter from Ed - Is Bruce the Man?
Bruce Scholnick becomes only the fourth person to hold the position of NWPCA president in over 50 years.
By Dr. Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 7/1/2000
Last December I wrote a letter entitled "Take Me to Your Leader." The NWPCA was starting its search for a new president, only the fourth person to hold that position in over 50 years. I met Bruce Scholnick, the new president, at the recent NWPCA Roundup.
Because I have had the privilege of knowing very well each of the first three presidents, I came away from our initial meeting a little bit surprised. While Bruce seemed to be very nice, he was more reserved than I had expected. He seemed so different. Was I disappointed or relieved? I left the meeting uncertain.
Recently Bruce visited our office, met our people, and spent several pleasant hours sharing desires for the pallet industry. The selection committee seems to have done an excellent job. Bruce may well be the man we have been seeking. He seems capable of steering the industry’s association throughout the unchartered waters of change, and he may be appealing to those who for various reasons have not been willing to join the association.
I revisited the four desirable characteristics from my previous letter – first a people person, second a leader, third familiarity with our industry (desirable but not as important), and fourth association experience.
Bruce scores high on association experience, which has increasingly become more important. Although he came to us knowing little about pallets, he is a quick study with a sharp mind. And he has a strong association background, permeated with vision of what it will take for an association to successfully empower our industry to meet the challenges of the future.
At first, Bruce seems to be a bit reserved, in part, due to his way of sitting back and soaking up the information served him. I quickly agreed when my son Chaille said, "He seems to be a very good listener." Knowing the truth in a situation often requires being very perceptive. Listening well is an important ingredient towards developing true understanding. Bruce mentioned his desire to regularly meet with, either in person or over the phone, every single NWPCA member. His aim to reach out to every member gives him positive marks in the people person category.
As we talked about the direction of the future, Bruce’s leadership knowledge and experience seemed stronger and stronger. Some people can wow you with information but lack understanding of how to use the information. The industry does not need a magician who will dazzle the membership while failing to deliver true leadership. Instead, we must have someone that the industry will follow into battle. After spending about four hours talking with Bruce, I believe he may be that leader. Conversations with some NWPCA staff leaders suggest that they have developed confidence in his leadership style.
Although Bruce may have a more laid back style than his predecessor, his discretion should not be mistaken for inaction. He said that at first he was reluctant to take the job because he sensed that some of the NWPCA members were reluctant to change. Bruce outlined an aggressive goal to offer better value to members and open the tent to new members. He wants every member to feel that his or her membership pays for itself in services, benefits, and business opportunities.
Bruce has spent years working with associations, most recently the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. And no matter the industry, businesses all across the country run in cycles and tend to face similar challenges. Competitive markets, labor and consolidation – Bruce’s experience in insurance and glass packaging may bring a new perspective to the industry.
I have readily shared my desire for me, my staff, and our products to work cooperatively with the NWPCA to pull together for a stronger tomorrow and a better industry.
Bruce made it clear to me that he wants to work with our publications in every way he can so long as we both keep a clear perspective on our responsibilities.
Welcome aboard Bruce! I am looking forward to working with you to build a strong tomorrow for the pallet industry.