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2009 FIN – LAFA & WAFD Approve ‘Unification’ as Pacific-West Fastener Association

February 07
00:00 2013

2009 FIN – LAFA & WAFD Approve ‘Unification’ as Pacific-West Fastener Association

June 30, 2009 FIN – By near unanimous consent, the members of the Los Angeles Fastener Association and Western Association of Fastener Distributors approved “unification” and together will be known as the Pacific-West Fastener Association.
After nearly a decade of considering merger proposals, a “unification task force” presented proposals at spring meetings of both groups.
The task force cited greater strength, increased member benefits, better support to regions and local networks in the western U.S. and Canada, improved education programs and deeper leadership resources as reasons for unification.
A new P-WFA board will meet for the first time in August to elect leaders.
The new association is the result of months of negotiations between the LAFA and WAFD and member discussions.
In 2008, each association developed its own strategic goals. “In order to accomplish those goals, both associations independently realized that additional resources are needed. This unification will make it possible for many of those goals to be realized.”
Those involved stressed the word “unification” and carefully avoided words such as “merger.”
Board members envision continuing two conferences per year focused on issues of importance to business owners and executives, as WAFD traditionally offered, plus Southern California events and training programs like LAFA provided. Local events and training programs will be expanded to other metropolitan areas in the West.
The WAFD and LAFA boards have considered merger proposals since 2002. After earlier merger talks stalled, the boards agreed in 2004 to pursue a strategic alliance before proceeding further. The alliance was intended to acquaint each association to the benefits of the other group. Both associations offered member discounts at conferences, seminars and training programs to each other’s member companies.
In 2002 the boards noted that 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 reduce administrative costs.
WAFD and LAFA have long been closely linked and operated out of the same Long Beach, CA, offices with Vickie Lester as executive director for both organizations since 1986.
In the unification announcement LAFA president Kelly Cole of WCL Co. said the combined associations “create a synergy that will position us as industry leaders. The alliance will enable the creation of industry-wide training standards, with new and existing training programs delivered to a wider audience in more cities and soon via an on-line platform.”
“This is a great fit,” declared WAFD’s immediate past president Suzanne Dukes of Hayes Bolt & Supply. She noted it is the “result of strong collaborative strategic planning by two great boards of directors.”
Keeping WAFD and LAFA services “was an initial goal of the unification,” Dukes noted.
LAFA board member Robert Lopez of Specialty Sales said he believes “the combined banner of the Pacific-West Fastener Association will do much to improve and strengthen our industry as a whole.”
The new association will provide the financial resources and leadership to continue the growth of the fastener product training programs now offered through the Fastener Training Institute, unification task force member John Wachman of Desert Distribution said.
FTI is an expansion of LAFA’s original Certified Fastener Specialist training program. FTI recently conducted a CFS program in Chicago and is planning additional curriculum, Wachman added.
LAFA traditionally has monthly dinner meetings in Southern California.
The next WAFD meeting is scheduled for October 15-17, 2009, at the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, CA.
Pacific-West’s address will remain P.O. Box 15862, Long Beach CA 90815-0862. Tel: 562 596-2040  ©2009/2013 Fastener Industry News
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2002 FIN � WAFD & LAFA Boards Propose Merger
September 10, 2002 FIN – The boards of the Western Association of Fastener Distributors and Los Angeles Fastener Association have proposed a merger.
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 observed.
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 Scptt 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 their 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. ©2002/2013 Fastener Industry NewsFor information on permission to reuse or reprint this article please e-mail:

Related Links:

• Pacific-West Fastener Association

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