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A new online community where association members connect with prospective clients recently was launched by Association Management Partners & Executive Directors (AMPED) on behalf of its client, the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

CSIA, a global trade association for companies that design and implement sophisticated control systems for manufacturing and industrial facilities, created a website two years ago that features content for members and prospective members, plus information directed to members’ prospective clients. The website included a link to an online buyers guide.

While the CSIA website enjoys high search engine rankings, members wanted to take their joint marketing effort to a higher level.

“Our members told us they wanted more dynamic ways to tell their stories and make connections with industry partners and prospective clients,” said Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, owner and president of AMPED and president of CSIA. “The Industrial Automation Exchange offers many more features than an online buyers guide, including the ability to display areas of expertise, supplier affiliations and key contact people.”

AMPED conducted an extensive search for a developer to build and host a site that would meet all of the requirements specified by a member task force. A perfect match was found with Diamax, a Washington, D.C.-based software engineering studio and interactive agency that combines creative and technical expertise to produce multichannel communications products and digital solutions for associations and other clients.

“Our technology allows us to create specialized digital communities that connect people who need solutions to people who can provide them through content that answers their questions. When a customer finds the right person, they also find the right company, in this case a control system integrator,” said Derek Rector, president of Diamax. “Ultimately, all B2B commerce is really P2P, or people to people.”

Four levels of profiles
The Exchange displays four levels of profiles – basic, bronze, silver and gold. Nonmembers’ names and addresses will be included in the basic listing. Nonmembers will be able to purchase one of the higher level profiles, however, pricing is structured to motivate nonmembers to join CSIA.

“The Exchange might be a system integrator’s introduction to CSIA, but we will encourage them to join and enjoy all of the association’s benefits, which include best practices for managing a system integration business, a certification program, an annual conference and a members-only social media site,” said Patterson.

The site is integrated with CSIA’s association management software, Avectra netForum, so members’ profiles are prepopulated with demographic information. Members can log in, expand their company profile, add on optional features, preview and check out, using PayPal. Advertising, in the form of tower ads, featured companies and category ads in search results, may be purchased by contacting CSIA.

All current members will receive a bronze-level profile free for the first year. “Having a robust site with many companies featured is critical to the site’s success. We want visitors to bookmark the Exchange and come back frequently,” said Patterson.

Information storehouse serves dual purposes
The Find an Answer section of the site allows Exchange members to present videos, slides, whitepapers and case studies. Plus, visitors and members can ask and answer questions in an online forum.

“Even if a company doesn’t have a lot of whitepapers or case studies, they still have an opportunity to show their expertise by answering questions,” said Eric Huemmer, who joined the AMPED staff in January as exchange community manager.

Furthermore, a large repository of frequently updated information will improve search engine optimization and boost rankings in search results. Amassing a lot of information about control system integration in one location creates a “large footprint” that can actually be found on the web, according to Rector.

“By aggregating our resources as an association, we are going to garner more attention than any one of us can alone,” said PC Romano, president of Avid Solutions and chairman of the CSIA board of directors. “The Exchange has the potential to change the way we market ourselves by creating a dynamic hub where integrators, suppliers and end users meet.”

View the Industrial Automation Exchange or contact AMPED for more information.

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President's message from WSAE VantagePoint magazine, Spring 2014 — We all run associations and know the importance of engaging members at every level. It is so helpful to take time to not only continuously learn, but think from our members’ perspective.

At most WSAE meetings, I am greeting members and speakers and working with onsite staff. I take in the content as a member when I can. Recently, Michelle Czosek and I attended the Association Forum of Chicagoland Women’s Executive Leadership Program. We shared ideas, learned from experts and made many new connections. It was so nice to be an attendee and not have to worry about the details of the meeting. We have stayed connected with other association execs from Chicago and look forward to engaging in their online community and attending next year.

Last month I also attended the Association Management Company Institute (AMCI) annual meeting. And while I served on the program committee and participated in much of the planning from a volunteer perspective, I was able to fully engage in the meeting, take walks instead of checking room sets, and enjoy the receptions and many networking opportunities.

This brings me to WSAE. WSAE offers so many ways for you to advance your career, network with your peers and try new things to take back to your organization. The variety of offerings continually changes and I encourage all of you to create an experience and engage in the way that will give you the greatest value. Register for the newly revived CEO roundtable in Milwaukee; volunteer to help with the Innovation Summit; come to Lake Geneva to golf, play tennis or enjoy the spa during our Spring Outing. Or tell us what works best for you — we will make it happen.

New innovations, ideas and leadership always welcome!

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Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE, owner of AMPED and president/CEO of the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives (WSAE), will represent WSAE as one of 20 state societies who will host the American Society of Association Executives' inaugural American Associations Day, March 25-26, 2014 in Washington DC. From Nevada to New York, state societies have joined together with the common goal of supporting the community, and promoting the importance of advocacy on Capitol Hill.

A joint letter states, “As leaders of state associations from across the country, ASAE volunteers, and members of the American Associations Day Host Committee, we have come together with the common goal of advocating for our community.”

Over 100 association professionals from almost 30 states have registered to attend thus far. The main issues to be discussed with congressional offices include government attendance at association meetings, tax reform, and The Power of A. 

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President's message from WSAE VantagePoint magazine, Winter 2014 — Five hundred members strong! That is how we start out 2014.

Thank you to our many volunteers, members and partners who helped achieve that goal and all of our success in 2013.

WSAE is truly a model of innovation and creativity in the association space. And we intend to build on that strength and energy by meeting you where you are. From an education, networking or career aspiration perspective, WSAE is committed to developing opportunities for flexible programming directed by you and your peers in WSAE. This year we will ask for more information about you and the organization where you work in order to help make richer connections and provide governance, leadership and education to match our demographics and other characteristics and preferences. This is the start of the diversity and inclusion plan as our association grows.

Just as you work on planning and visioning with your organization, WSAE is adjusting its plan to focus on the areas that will have the greatest impact – on our members, organizations in our state and the profession in general. Some things you will be hearing more about include: crowd sourcing and how best to utilize it effectively for WSAE, online communications and presence, diversity and inclusion, leadership and governance, career paths for young association executives, and the best way to address legislative issues relevant to associations. The process for planning is very fluid and includes a number of stakeholder and Board members. If you have ideas – big or small – please share them with the WSAE volunteer leaders, staff, or me!

I wish you all the best in 2014 and look forward to seeing you at WSAE events and in our online community

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Lynda Patterson, FASAE, CAE, president and owner of Association Management Partners & Executive Directors (AMPED) has been named a Guiding Light advisor to the Association Transformation Organizers (ATO). Patterson is one of an esteemed group of sector advisors who deliver energy, wisdom and affirmation to the principal visionaries of ATO, who are themselves leaders in private, public and association sectors. The group strives to guide transformative change that is actionable and builds sustainable success.

ATO is convening a thought leadership think tank of association leaders to develop the agenda for succeeding in the next 5-10 years. The focus will be on the CEO/ED role and what it will take to successfully lead their organization through the changing landscape.

Their research to date has identified several priority issues including:

  • Membership – creating more viable models and benefits
  • Businification – the adoption of private sector practices
  • Talent – the identification, recruiting and development of staff
  • Member business disruptions – members themselves are experiencing challenges
  • Value generation – understanding how value is created and received in the new market

Read more about Association Transformation Organizers.

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