Posted By Don Clouser, Chairman of the Board, Tuesday, April 16, 2019
The Dayton Region Manufacturers Association celebrates its 85th birthday this month. While none of us were there in the beginning, I am sure we all can imagine, have heard of, as well as experienced ourselves many of the changes that this association has seen. Pure stats alone, the DRMA started with a membership of 25 companies and has grown to over 400 strong today.
Initially the Association was a niche group in manufacturing. It was named the Tool Manufacturers Association consisting of members from the tool and die sector. But over time it grew and changed. Many machine shops started joining that did contract work outside of the tool and die sector. If a company was “cutting chips” then it joined the Association to be part of a group that understood its interest. In 2011, the Association renamed and rebranded itself as the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association. The Board realized that the membership by that time was made up of all types of manufacturers, not just “chip cutters.” And we know that with technology and infrastructure, geography shrinks. At our events and in our communications, our group spans from Springfield to the Indiana line and from Sidney to Cincinnati.
With this growth many great efforts have come and gone. The intimacy of the small dinner meetings at country clubs grew into monthly dinner meetings at banquet halls. These have morphed into a variety of interactions between breakfast events, dinner events, golf outings, Meet Ups and Happy Hours.
The Association has had affinity programs, business speakers, a bots program, a tradeshow, a “Buy DTMA” trade fair, MFG Day, STEP II graduation and many more. The latest in this evolution is the DRMA Board’s decision to suspend AMTS 2019. After much debate and feedback from exhibitors and attendees, the Board thought it best to suspend the show, refocus efforts, and provide a program that will best serve the Association’s members.
I am sure that this decision, as well as the trip down memory lane, will open up discussions on “why does the Association do this?” or “why does it not do that anymore?” I encourage those discussions. Those are the discussions and the sharing of thoughts that help an association get to the best decisions. We know from our own businesses that everyone will not be happy with all of the decisions. The important consideration is that these decisions have been well-thought out.
An association does not last 85 years and grow to over 400 members by luck, but rather by hard work. I want to thank our 100+ volunteers, our staff, as well as the current Board and boards of days gone by for that hard work, creativity, and ability to make tough decisions. With the current efforts in government relations and workforce development, I am sure we will be seeing more evolution in the coming years. While I miss a lot of events that don’t happen anymore, I look forward to the future accomplishments this Association will achieve. Happy 85th Birthday, DRMA!