Global Fastener News

2002 FIN – WAFD & LAFA Boards Propose Merger

August 19
00:00 2015

September 10, 2002 FIN – The boards of the Western Association of Fastener Distributors and the Los Angeles Fastener Association have proposed merging the two groups later this year.
Members of both organizations will vote on the proposal in coming weeks.
The announcement followed six months of consideration by a special committee of representatives from both groups. After analyzing membership and finances, as well as association objectives, the committee concluded that a complete merger would help both organizations weather the recession, according to a joint letter to members.
“If you look at the big picture, we both need this to survive,” LAFA president Steve Pettyjohn told FIN.
Consolidations and closings have decreased the number of current and potential member companies, lowering each group’s primary funding source and limiting financial resources. The committee determined that combining the associations would substantially reduce administrative costs.
Pettyjohn described the move as a “win-win” situation. While acknowledging that members may have mixed responses to the merger, he emphasized its advantages. The new organization will offer members enhanced exposure to a broader range of fastener industry developments, Pettyjohn stressed.  “Once the dust settles, people will realize the benefits of this merger.”

WAFD and LAFA have long been closely linked.
Vickie Lester, executive director for both organizations since 1986, told FIN the biggest loss will be the emotional tie to each group, but she remarked that reaction to the proposal has been positive. Many members realize that the only difference will be the name, she stated. “In practice, there will be no change.”
Lester hopes to send out member ballots by late October, which could deliver a vote by Thanksgiving.
The new association would continue to concentrate on fastener distribution, though a name has not been chosen. Member input on the name will be sought after the merger is formalized.
WAFD president Scott Kendall told FIN he believes the merger would blend the groups into a stronger organization with increased ability to attract new members. And membership has its benefits, he pointed out.
“It’s nice to feel that you’re not alone in your battle,” Kendall said.

A chief concern about the merger is a potential loss of each association’s identity. Traditionally, WAFD has served industry executives, while LAFA has catered to employees. To counter the concern, new membership standards and governance systems would be implemented.
However, both groups highlight their nearly five-year affiliation, having honored each other’s member registration discounts. The boards contend that sharing programs would be beneficial to all members, pointing out that 20% of LAFA members also belong to WAFD. Members would lose no programs or services because of the merger. Dinner meetings, product and technical training programs and two multi-day conferences would still be held each year.
Dues were another issue the committee addressed. Both groups currently charge a flat rate, with WAFD annual membership costing $550 and that of LAFA costing $250. The committee proposed a tiered dues structure based on sales volume, and stressed that many members would realize a drop in dues. Current members in good standing would be grandfathered into the new organization.
A nine-person board of directors would lead the new organization, with no more than five board members from any single metro area. The first board would consist of volunteers from the groups’ current boards.
The proposal has been approved by both boards and is under legal advisement. WAFD members will discuss the proposal at their annual business meeting September 14 in Lake Tahoe. LAFA’s members will examine the plan at a September 24 dinner meeting. ©2002/2015 Fastener Industry News.
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Also in Fastener History on
2001 FIN – Western Considering Alliance with NFDA
NFDA suggested a “STAFDA model” of regional chapters.
2009 FIN – LAFA & WAFD Approve ‘Unification’ as Pacific-West Fastener Association
WAFD and LAFA have long been closely linked and operated out of the same Southern California office.

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