NFPA Well Positioned for Growth and Impact
by Eric Lanke, NFPA President/CEO
Back in June, our then-new Board chair, Tom Hunter of Husco, wrote about the discussions held at the Board’s annual strategic retreat, and many of the strategic initiatives the Board is helping NFPA move forward in service of NFPA members: https://nfpahub.com/nfpa-is-strengthening-the-fluid-power-industry/
These many initiatives are carefully organized into NFPA’s broader Strategy Agenda, a plan that comprises the outcomes we seek to achieve for our members and in furtherance of our mission of strengthening the fluid power industry. As a result of the Board’s June retreat, we have identified the following four primary objectives:
• Effective Forum: NFPA provides an effective forum where its members and OEMs network and advance our collective interests.
• Business Intelligence & Statistics: NFPA provides its members with timely and accurate business intelligence and statistics that support improved decision-making.
• Promote Fluid Power: NFPA provides opportunities and resources for its members to promote the unique strengths and inherent advantages offered by fluid power technology.
• Educated Workforce: NFPA helps increase the number of technical college and university students educated in fluid power and connects them to careers in the fluid power industry.
Now it’s October, and the NFPA Board has reconvened for its first meeting of the fiscal year in order to review our progress on those strategic initiatives and to lend extra support as needed. And three crucial topics received the overwhelming amount of attention:
- New Member Categories. As a result of the trends towards electrified and connected machines, a unique set a stakeholders is becoming increasingly important to the fluid power industry, including sensor manufacturers, electrical and electronic component manufacturers, integrators, and connectivity providers. Some of these stakeholders are already in the NFPA membership, but the Board recognized the need for significant expansion in this space. To provide greater clarity around and focus on these companies, the Board discussed the revision of NFPA’s existing member categories to better recruit and engage these stakeholders in the NFPA membership. Changes are being drafted and will be brought for action to the Board at their next meeting.
- OEM Engineers. Connecting NFPA members with OEM engineers is a crucial piece of both are Effective Forum and Promote Fluid Power objectives. And the landscape of programs by which we accomplish those goals is changing rapidly. Now, without an IFPE trade show co-located with CONEXPO in 2026, our focus is shifting towards building a strong “fluid power section” at CONEXPO, and engaging our new Mobile and Industrial Technology Task Forces in identifying education programs, trade shows, or other events where fluid power and OEM engineers can connect on the quickly evolving technology trends that are reshaping so many of their businesses. Engagement of your engineers and those of your primary customers on these Task Forces will therefore be key in helping NFPA create an expanded list of venues and opportunities.
- Workforce Connections. Through the NFPA Foundation, we have successfully built a number of pathways through which members can source technical and engineering talent for their businesses. Our Fast Track Technical Colleges and Power Partner Universities are the central hubs for this activity, and we are continuing to make plans for expanding these platforms to more and more regions of the country. But too few member companies are engaged in these programs and taking advantage of the hiring opportunities that they can offer. As a result, students with interest and expertise in fluid power are not finding their way into our industry. A broader communication effort is needed to let members know not just what is available to them, but how they can best engage with this growing network.
Our Board is a high-functioning group, and focused on the issues of direct importance to the membership and to the broader fluid power industry. As an NFPA member, I encourage you to get engaged in these key initiatives, as each will help you better connect across the changing supply chain and source the talent you need for continued growth and expansion. Please contact me at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more about any of these opportunities.
The Board will be next meeting in February 2024 in conjunction with the NFPA Annual Conference.
NFPA supports student organizations at universities with annual stipend funding to help students learn about fluid power while they work on educational and technical projects. Currently for the 2023-24 academic year, there are 19 universities from across the country participating: If you are looking to get involved with these Fluid Power Clubs, see below for…
Mark your calendars for the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge Design and Specification Midway Reviews, happening in December and January. This is a fantastic opportunity for industry members to get engaged and connect with students. The reviews are 45-minute webinar presentations with 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. During this review, students will showcase…