The American Boiler Manufacturers Association
Leadership for the boiler industry
Business View Magazine interviews Scott Lynch, President and CEO of the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, as part of our focus on that sector.
The American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) was founded in 1888 and, according to its President and CEO, Scott Lynch, it is the longest continuously operating trade association in the United States. “We were founded to deal with the safety issue of boilers,” he says. “There were a number of accidents that occurred related to people operating boilers, and our industry came together to work towards addressing that issue. The organization has evolved over the years, but safety is still a critical focus with our membership in addition to energy efficiency and other related business challenges.
Today, the American Boiler Manufacturers Association’s continual mission is to lead and unite the boiler industry through advocacy, education, awareness, and a commitment to provide solutions for the problems of its members. The Association represents boiler manufacturers in the commercial, industrial, institutional, and utility sectors. “These are boilers that are going into large shopping centers, hospitals, power plants, food processing facilities, college campuses, and anywhere steam and hot water is necessary,” explains Lynch.
The American Boiler Manufacturers Association has three tiers of membership. The Active Members are boiler manufacturers and suppliers of major boiler room products – the boiler itself, the burners that go on them, and the deaerators for water treatment, for example. Associate Members are organizations and companies engaged in the production and/or distribution of products or services for use by an Active Member, or a boiler owner, operator, or user, such as environmental equipment, control panels, and fans. Professional Affiliate Members include any combustion or mechanical engineering student, teacher, professor, recognized institution of higher learning (including trade schools), individual consultants (not affiliated with an established firm or corporation), or industry retiree who wishes to maintain an informational connection to the Association. Currently, the ABMA has 107 members.
Lynch believes that American Boiler Manufacturers Association membership has many advantages. “For a supplier or an Associate Member, the leaders in the boiler industry are all members of our organization. So, if you’re selling product into the boiler industry, to be able to access these individuals and network with them at our events is a huge benefit,” he notes. “For Active Members, it’s about leading through the ABMA and addressing issues as an organization with our advocacy efforts that they can’t do individually. ABMA represents our members with boiler code setting bodies; we have relationships at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lobby for our members’ interests. Our meetings offer all attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the industry – what’s changing and what’s going to impact them.”
The American Boiler Manufacturers Association staff is relatively small, with only three full-time staff people. “I’m the President and CEO,” says Lynch. “I manage the day-to-day operations of the Association along with overseeing the implementation of our strategic direction. Cheryl Jamall, our Director of Meetings, handles the execution of our events, which includes two large membership meeting a year. She also handles logistics for exhibiting at two industry trade shows where many of our members are also exhibiting and where we’re flying the flag for the boiler industry. Finally, Shaunica Jayson is our Membership and Marketing Manager. She handles all of our marketing and promotion efforts including our social media presence, along with liaising with the membership in terms of their membership renewals and membership activities. In addition to our full-time staff, we have two technical consultants that are retired from the boiler industry, and who represent our membership at the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and the National Board code committees. They are also our subject matter experts for official comments sent to the regulatory agencies or the White House.”
Partnering with related associations has allowed ABMA to broaden its reach and impact. “We are members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and we let them take the lead on the big manufacturing issues,” Lynch explains. “The NAM opens their doors for us. We are active participants in NAM’s Energy & Environment Committee that meets on a quarterly basis, as well as ad hoc meetings, and I’m a member of that committee. They bring in high-ranking officials at the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the White House, so I get access to those individuals through that relationship, as well as our direct relationship with EPA and DOE.”
High on the ABMA’s agenda, in addition to its current focus on its programs and member services, as well as its advocacy efforts, are two new initiatives. One is industry promotion: “being visible to the entire boiler supply chain with a focus on how we reach out to our end-user community,” Lynch avers. “In many cases, there is lack of knowledge about the boiler room and what our companies bring to the table to positively advance production and energy efficiency goals. For example, a recent article in our magazine, Today’s Boiler, notes an American Boiler Manufacturers Association company that doubled the amount of steam production while decreasing the fuel that it needed by 50 percent. We have burner staging systems now, where boilers will only run at full fire when necessary. Our companies are doing innovative things, and we’ve focused our efforts over the last couple of years on getting the message out. We recently launched Inside the Boiler Room, a podcast where we are talking directly to the end users of our products – on boiler installation, maintenance, and operations, as well as issues within Washington that are going to impact boiler end users and manufacturers. In addition, we recently produced a publication on the Do’s and Don’ts of boiler installation. The podcast can be downloaded from any major podcast platform. We also recently launched Boiler Weekly, a newsfeed and e-newsletter for the boiler industry and an online searchable directory of member programs and services.
“And then there is the workforce area,” Lynch continues. “All manufacturing has a shortage of workers and we’re no different. We have made a conscious decision to seek out opportunities to problem solve for our industry. Our companies continue to struggle with workforce challenges and ABMA wants to be a solutions provider. As an example, we recently hosted a Career Day at Tulsa Tech in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where we brought together 10 local members to engage with students and the faculty and promote the career opportunities in the boiler industry. We also established a welding scholarship with Lone Star College in Houston, Texas and the American Welding Society. So, every year, a student in their welding program will receive a scholarship from ABMA and the American Welding Society to help support them in their welding career, while also raising the profile of the boiler industry in the Houston area through this program.”
“So, the ABMA is an organization that is focused on advancing the boiler industry and solving problems for the industry,” Lynch says, in conclusion. “Beyond the programs and services, our members have the opportunity to lead our industry to greater heights, be thought leaders, and continue to advance our industry in the areas like workforce development. In addition, we’re focused on being more than just a membership association; we’re raising the profile of our industry and educating end users. We’re confident this enhanced awareness will lead to greater impact and engagement for ABMA and its members.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: The American Boiler Manufacturers Association
WHAT: A manufacturer’s trade association
WHERE: Vienna, Virginia