NWPCA’s Congressional Fly-In this June received an extrememly positive response from those who participated in Washington DC, including a number of WPA members.
“I really enjoyed the whole experience,” stated Kathleen Dietrich,Operations Manager of Commercial Lumber and Pallet Company and Current President of the Western Pallet Association.
“I believe the collaboration with NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) really gave us an opportunity, with appointments to meet with those legislators specific to our districts and states. It was all very informative and the lobbyists from NAM really were prepared. It made for such a fun and knowledge gaining experience. The evening at the Capitol Hill Club, where we actually met congressman and senators from different states, was such an intimate setting and you really got to literally ‘hand shake” with the legislators directly, and hear their viewpoints on those matters important to our industry.”
“It was a very eye opening experience to see a small glimpse into how Capitol Hill works,” added Caroline Beach Skinner, WPA Past-President. “NAM put together a great program and they were very accommodating to our schedules. Meeting with different senators, representatives and their staff and listening to them speak about their viewpoints gave us great insight to the struggles that go on in Capitol Hill.” She added that it was great to participate in having the industry’s concerns being heard by lawmakers, and that she found a new found appreciation for what people like Patrick Atagi and others do on a day-to-day basis.
WPA Director Jeff Carr of Northwest Hardwoods was also enthusiastic about his experience in Washington DC. “The Fly-In was excellent as well as surprising,” he said.
“NAM and NWPCA organized the event very well. I was surprised at how many congress persons that I had access to and how much time I had with them for my own company’s concerns. We will happily attend next year’s event if the opportunity presents itself, likely with a couple company representatives, if possible.
“The NWPCA Congressional Fly-In was a great success, and the impact of having our West Coast members participate and discuss issues important to the industry was significant,” stated Patrick Atagi, Vice President of NWPCA. “It shows that our industry has depth and that it spans the entire country.”
Atagi added that many positive measurable outcomes come from these meetings. For example, Jacqueline “Jackie” Garduno from The Pallet Center Inc. was able to meet with the office of Congresswoman Torres (California 35th) and secure a commitment for a Congressional Mill tour at The Pallet Center Inc. in Riverside, California.
Mill tours not only educate Members of Congress first-hand on the issues facing the wooden pallet industry and small businesses, but help companies show they are a positive part of the community providing jobs and contributing to the local economy.
All in all, the Fly-In received high praise as a successful event.