By Mark Milovich, 2015 MHEDA President
As is tradition, the 3rd Quarter issue of The MHEDA Journal focuses on celebrating the milestones and achievements our members have reached. Some of our members are recognizing their 1st anniversary with MHEDA, while others of us are celebrating many years, if not decades, with the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association. Some members are relatively new companies, while others of us have been around for awhile. And there are members who are being recognized by their OEMs for exceptional performances in sales and service.
Last year, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of MHEDA. What great foresight our “founding fathers” had to start this industry association. You have to wonder if the men who met in Chicago in 1955 ever dreamed 60 years later their idea would still be alive and well. Guys- job well done!
And just this past April many of us attended and celebrated our 60th Annual Membership Meeting – the Annual Convention and Exhibitors’ Showcase. Not many industries can say they have been meeting annually for 60 straight years without ever missing a date! Another great accomplishment for our members and our association.
2015 also brings a very special anniversary to MHEDA. This year is the 20th anniversary of Liz Richards as our Executive Vice President. Liz wouldn’t let me make a big deal of this at convention, but the good thing is she doesn’t have final say over the president’s quarterly articles, so I can make a big deal of it here! (Yes Liz, I’m going off-script!!)
In 1995, our association was in transition. Dan Reilly who had served as the Executive Vice President for many years had retired in 1993. In 1994, Tony Coletti served as the Association’s EVP for one year. Again, MHEDA found itself looking for a new EVP. After several interviews and deliberations, a search committee consisting of three long-term Board members recommended to the Executive Committee that a young, energetic woman from the healthcare industry be hired as the next EVP. Despite the fact that this young lady did not have much experience running an association, and had no experience whatsoever in the material handling industry, there was something about her that caused this search committee to unanimously recommend, and for the Executive Committee and the Board to approve, the hiring of Liz Richards.
To give a little insight, the gentlemen on the Search Committee agreed not to discuss any of the candidates until all the interviews and due diligence had been completed. Each would then privately rank their top three candidates for the job, and then present their list to each other for discussion. George Wilkinson who was on the Committee remarked that he wondered if he was going to be the only one who had Liz ranked #1. To his surprise, and I imagine to the surprise of Karl Miller and Bill Billard, the other two gentlemen on the committee, Liz was unanimously ranked as the best choice for the job.
And with that, MHEDA had found its’ next Executive Vice President.
Congratulations Liz on 20 GREAT years with MHEDA! Your tenure here has been amazing, and I’m sure I speak for the entire membership that you have done and continue to do an amazing job as our EVP! We are in good hands!
2015 also brings the 30th anniversary of service to MHEDA for Cindy Thoren and 24th year for Shirley Robinson, who will be retiring from us at the end of this year. Cindy serves as our Project Manager, overseeing all of our projects and making sure everything runs smoothly and on budget. Shirley has served us as Financial Manager, keeping track of incoming and outgoing funds, and is a big reason why we are so financially sound. Cindy and Shirley, thank you for all you have done for us, and Shirley, we hope you have a wonderful and exciting retirement – you have earned it!
To the other ladies of the MHEDA staff, Luann, Rebecca, Kathy, Susan, AnnaMaria, and Joanne, who have made serving our association and industry their career choice – a heartfelt “Thank you” for all your years of service. These are the ones behind the curtain, pulling the levers and pushing the buttons, making everything run!
To all the members, new and old, this Association thrives and survives because of you. Congratulations on the decision to join MHEDA and for whichever year of membership and years in business you are celebrating, be it 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 40 years, or more!
And for our members who are being recognized by manufacturers for outstanding performances, and Dealers of the Year, we say “Job well done!” We hope that MHEDA has been and will continue to be a part of your success story.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~ Maya Angelou, American Author & Poet