Membership Is What You Make It

Maximize the Value of IFFA

 

For the complete published article, click here.

 

Industry leaders nationwide, from health care professionals, veterinarians and physical therapists, to architects, electric providers and of course, petroleum marketers and c-store retailers, establish organizations and associations to keep professionals connected and informed. One of the mantras across all platforms has proven to ring true: You get out of it what you put into it.

Any association will thrive with an active membership, and the sentiment is not lost on the Indiana Food and Fuel Association. While paying dues helps support the association, the benefits of getting involved in the many committees and events IFFA has to offer are insurmountable.

IFFA got involved recently with a “recruit a member” contest, where members were incentivized with a chance to win a $750 voucher. For each new member recruited, the recruiting member received one to three entries, based on whether it was for a new 2019, 2020 or President’s Council member. The contest has been extended into 2020, and announcement of the winner will be made at M-PACT 2020.

Fittingly, one of the best committees to get involved in when starting out is the Membership Committee. Keith Moore, a certified public accountant with UHY Advisors in Michigan, has been an IFFA member for about 15 years. Although his location proved to be a factor in serving, Moore was a part of the Membership Committee as a long-distance member. “The benefit from that committee is having a voice, and they do listen to everybody. That was a big benefit for me as well as for our firm, seeing the folks regularly and developing relationships with those individuals,” he said. “From the perspective of a member — that’s the important part — developing those relationships with the folks at the various companies and learning from them, learning their experiences, their knowledge of their home industry. That was very educational from my standpoint.”

Moore found that committee particularly useful in terms of familiarizing himself with various rules for petroleum marketers in Indiana as opposed to Michigan. Because UHY has a specialty in serving petroleum marketers, it provided valuable information to better represent and service his clients.

Appropriately, one of the main objectives of the Membership Committee is recruiting members. Moore said they’re always looking for new faces and new ideas to help develop the membership. From petroleum marketers to equipment suppliers, contractors, banking and legal sources, and insurance companies, any company that is involved with the petroleum and c-store industry can gain value in an IFFA membership, and Moore said it makes sense to be a part of the organization. Not to mention, it fuels a resounding roar in Indianapolis. “It’s a cohesive voice for a group of people related to the politics part,” he said. “Lawmakers set their laws, and if you have a voice as a group, they’re going to listen to you.” Moore also advised members to get involved with the Environmental Committee, and for seasoned members to jump at every opportunity to serve on the Board.

“The other thing I think that’s important for associate members,” Moore said, “is to do speaking engagements. If they ask for speakers or they ask for articles and things of that
nature, definitely provide it. It certainly helps with giving your expertise to the members and name recognition as well.”

Aside from the variety of committees IFFA has, another necessity for member involvement is to attend and be active at trade shows, conventions and other IFFA events, like the annual golf outing and luncheons. Moore said the luncheon is a great place to mix and mingle with other members in an intimate setting. “You’re sitting at a table with 10 good people, so you have the ability to network during that lunch and I think that is important, as well as any of the sessions.”

Of course, participation in M-PACT is a must, but Moore’s advice extends beyond the exhibitors’ floor. He said one helpful thing he and UHY have done was to invite prospective clients and peers who also work within the industry to dinner to network and discuss what affects the companies and the industry. In other words, don’t let your involvement stop at the trade show. “You need to do some things, you need to sponsor some things, you need to have a plan, you need to get involved in some of the after-show floor activities — because there’s quite a few of them — and you need to go to some of the educational sessions throughout the day,” he said. “… That way you get to know some vital information on the industry, you might have an opportunity to talk to some individuals and get them to stop by your booth and network. It’s all about networking and developing relationships.”

The importance of all memberships — whether Marketer, Associate, Refiner, President’s Council or IPECA — is to support the association. Regardless of the industry, it’s critical for its membership to be involved, vocal in legislative efforts, keen on recruiting, and ready to support other members within the association. IFFA has all the tools for members to get started; now it’s time for the membership to speak up.

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