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1999 FIN – Halvorsen Retires After 23 Years of Building STAFDA

1999 FIN – Halvorsen Retires After 23 Years of Building STAFDA
May 27
00:00 2009

Morrie Halvorsen, STAFDA's first executive director

November 30, 1999 FIN – After 43 years in the tool and fastener industry observing “people, companies, and change come and go,” Morrie Halvorsen said in his retirement remarks at the 23rd annual convention of the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association that he finds there are only two constants for success in the business.
“One is taking good care of customers and the other is managing your assets wisely, starting with employees.”

STAFDA’s only executive director in its 23-year history retires December 31, 1999, Halvorsen left his job as vice president for marketing at ITT Phillips Drill in 1977 to build STAFDA.
He ventured out on 100% commission and started working in his home at a small desk and doing his own typing.

Halvorsen took over the fledgling organization with 18 charter members and put together a list of 300 potential distributor members and 75 manufacturers.

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford speaking at the 1980 STAFDA convention in San Diego

During the first year he recruited nearly 100 members when “STAFDA had very little to offer except a concept.
It wasn’t like today where we have over 65 ongoing programs and services,” Halvorsen recalled. “It took an act of faith to plunk down the $350 dues back then.”

“In those early days, faced with limited funds and many needs, STAFDA embarked on an aggressive program of outsourcing,” Halvorsen said. “We built a family of respected consultants who provide our members with expert advice in nearly every area of business.”

Halvorsen credited manufacturers for “playing a key role in supporting us” throughout the association’s history. Two years ago membership was opened to manufacturers reps, and they have added further support he noted.

STAFDA has grown to 2,575 member companies today.

And Halvorsen is proud that STAFDA has never raised its $350 dues.

Halvorsen attributes his success in building STAFDA to “finding a need and filling it. Tool and fastener distributors really didn’t have an organization of their own.”

“Retirement always seemed like something that happened to other people,” said Halvorsen, who is usually busy orchestrating the conversations and avoiding the spotlight. But this year Halvorsen was brought up on stage and joined by 19 of the 23 STAFDA presidents of his tenure.
Noting his age of 68 1/2 and good health, Halvorsen said, “Now seemed appropriate time to step down.”
He added that by retiring at the end of the millennium, “I’ll never forget my retirement date and I’ll be getting out one day ahead of Y2K.”

STAFDA membership and member services “are both at an all-time high. We are in solid shape financially.”

Halvorsen took the occasion to say he “never had any long-range plans for my daughter, Georgia Foley, to succeed me. Things just evolved.”
Halvorsen pointed out that Foley “grew up in STAFDA,” but gained seven years of experience with a national trade association of exhibit designers and builders before joining STAFDA six years ago as member services director.
“All I promised her was an opportunity, and she made the most of it when a committee of past presidents and the board selected her as my replacement, which makes me very proud.”

Halvorsen has not coasted to retirement. This year STAFDA introduced Legalcare as an additional benefit to member companies and employees.

STAFDA conventions have drawn as many as 4,119 people to sites ranging from Washington, DC, to New Orleans to Honolulu. He drew nationally know Republican politicians to the STAFDA conventions, including Jack Kemp, Bob Dole and former presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

Beyond the big-draw convention locations and speakers, one of the keys to Halvorsen’s success is the more mundane task of taking care of the little items. Not only does he emphasize customer service, but he also does it promptly.

Time management consultants could cite Halvorsen as a perfect example of the principle of “touch a piece of paper only once.” West Coast-based FIN frequently faxed questions to Halvorsen after his office closed in Wisconsin.
He never failed to fax back his answer before the FIN office opened the next morning. ©1999/2009 Fastener Industry News.

STAFDA Founders

Bill Baumann
Mutual Sales Corp., Chicago, IL
Bill Brennan Sr.
W.J. Brennan Co., St. Louis, MO
Charles Carbaugh
Cecil Equipment Corp., Washington, DC
Bob Chatterton
Recco Tool, McCook, IL
Frank Deppe
Fasteners Inc., Grand Rapids, MI
Robert Elstad
Diamond Drilling & Supply, Duluth, MN
Randolph Ensign
Ensco Supply Co., Greensboro,NC
Lou Groene
Ackerman Chacco Co., Cincinnati, OH
Wayne Henderson
Dynamic Sales Co., St. Louis, MO
Clint Ivins Jr.
Mead Supply Inc., Buffalo, NY
Jack Jahntz
L.W. Meyer & Son Inc., New Berlin, WI
Ed Joffe
Automatic Fasteners, Miami, FL
Roland Levesque
Universal Fastener & Supply, Cumberland, RI
Jack McCoy
Storey Machinery, Cincinnati, OH
Al McCulloch
Langford Tool & Drill, Minneapolis, MN
Jesse Pearson
Construction Tools & Supply, Memphis, TN
Chuck Tackett
Dixie Construction Products, Atlanta, GA
Phil Welch
Kel-Welco Distributing Inc., Omaha, NE

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