First off, I would like to say thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Annual Membership Meeting in Nashville. Once again, it was great to see everyone, and more importantly, I’m extremely thankful for the high level of active participation. I probably sound like a broken record, but the real value and benefit of SPIDA comes within the interaction with all the members and gaining their perspective on whatever prevalent topic may be at hand. I find it especially encouraging when new members seem so engaged upon attending their first SPIDA meeting. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the SPIDA world, and this is all because of its members. I challenge you all to get more involved in the organization. Whether it’s publications, membership, or the program committee, you don’t have to be a board member to provide help.

Not that I needed something to prove the value of SPIDA, but it seemed to me that the value brought to this year’s meeting with our keynote speaker, Alex Chausovsky of ITR Economics was above and beyond. In many cases, the thought of listening to an economist is like watching a coffee pot brew…you can’t wait for it to be done. This was not the case with Alex. He was extremely intelligent, and he was able to deliver his message with a great deal of humor and wit. As Alex illustrated, although the short-term future may not look as bullish as we have seen in the past few years, he forced us all to not only think creatively to weather the lulls, but to be able to predict these within our own businesses. Whether it’s budgeting, investing, or expanding upon your business, this can become a much easier task when you have a general idea on what the market may bring. As the economic ‘headwinds’ begin to come upon us (if they haven’t already), there is one plan of action that will not work, which is to avoid it or avoid talking about it. Thank you again to all who provided input and helped make the weekend a success. Cheers to the start of summer!

John Newland, SPIDA President
Colorado Regional Sales Manager, Hercules Industries
2019 SPIDA Annual Meeting –
Nashville Opryland Hotel
The 2019 SPIDA annual meeting was held at the beginning of May at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The meetings opened with SPIDA President John Newland - Hercules Industries, welcoming the attendees and thanking this years' sponsors. Without the generous support of our sponsors, SPIDA would not be able to offer its members such a quality location and speakers.

Diamond Sponsorship:
Stamped Fittings
Gold Sponsorship:
Owen Corning
Silver Sponsorship:
Johns Manville
Bronze Sponsorship:
Sheet Metal Connectors
Spiral Fittings
SPIDA Friends: 
Design Polymerics, Eco Support Products, Elgen Manufacturing, Hercules Industries, Kanomax-USA, NKS, Reed Rubber Products and Spiral Pipe of Texas
Thank you sponsors! For 2020 sponsorship opportunities please contact Robin Stegall at: rstegall@hamlincos.com
Opening Night Dinner Cruise
The annual meeting this year kicked off Thursday evening with dinner and drinks aboard the General Jackson Paddleboat on the Tennessee River. Guests were treated to views of downtown and a stage show highlighting the history of Nashville music. Everyone survived Brennan Hall - Johns Manville briefly taking the helm. Join us on Facebook for more pictures of the event.
Keynote Speaker - Alex Chausovsky
Our keynote speaker this year, Alex Chausovsky of ITR Economics, was introduced by Robin Stegall - Hamlin Sheet Metal. Mr. Chausovsky has been featured on NPR, BBC and in The Wall Street Journal. He consults globally on subjects including macroeconomics, industrial manufacturing, automation and advanced technology trends. 
ITR boasts a 99% accuracy rate on predicting future major indicators in the US, Europe and China over the past two years and successfully forcasted the last economic downturn. Using rate of change modeling, he predicted the economy peaking in the next one to two quarters with a stalling economy at the end of 2019 into 2020. ITR predicts 1.8% and 1.3% growth in 2020 and 2021. Tariffs are the biggest unknown and unpredictable - steel prices rose 7.2% last year due to tariffs. His advice was to lock in long term revenue opportunities and not to commit to long term costs. They forecast a great depression in 2030. 

Mr. Chausovsky explained to the SPIDA members the rate of change method that ITR uses in macroeconomic analysis' and how he works with companies to develop their own rate of change management tools. He discussed how to analyze historical data and how to use that data to forecast business trends one to two quarters in advance. He did see non-residential opportunities in Florida, Colorado, Utah, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, Georgia, California, Arizona and Virginia. Canada and Mexico economies were growing, but at a decelerating rate.
He offered advice to prepare for a business slowdown:
- Develop your own rate of change model and know where you are in your business cycle.
- Focus on businesses most profitable in a downturn.
- Focus on competitive advantages and develop your message in advance of a downturn.
- Manage cash and inventory control prior to downturn.
- Ask yourself what you should not be doing? Cut parts of losing business during downturn.
Mr. Chausovsky offered SPIDA members a free 90 trial of the ITR trend report by texting:  TR Trial to 444999. Members interested in regional or business consulting can contact him direct or by contacting the SPIDA headquarters.
Board of Directors Meeting and Committees
The SPIDA Board of Directors met prior on Thursday prior to the kick off dinner. In attendance were back: Brennan Hall, Ryan Barnes - Sheet Metal Connectors, Reid Boydston - Spiral Pipe of Texas, Scott Witherow - Design Polymerics, Steve Stratton - Dixie Metal Products, Josh Crichton - Semco. Front:  Robin Stegall - Hamlin Sheet Metal, Jerry Liddell - SET Duct Manufacturing, Alvin Dueck - Tradesman Manufacturing, Weldon Weeks - M&M Manufacturing, Randy Swaim - Trimble and John Newland.  Not pictured Bill Busch - Northeast Sheet Metal.

Each chairperson gave a brief update to the membership on Friday. Publications chair Scott Witherow previewed future publications and asked members to follow SPIDA on Facebook and LinkedIn. He asked for member news for inclusion in future Pipeline newsletters. Labor chair Jerry Liddell let us know that big decisions regarding wage equalization where possible in the near future. Membership chair Randy Swaim informed us that membership was up 10% this year. Finance chair Weldon Weeks let us know that the balance sheet was strong. SPIDA will be moving forward with a Tennessee Tech finite element analysis computer modeling of flat oval duct in positive and negative pressure according to technical chair Pat Brooks. Pat also informed us that the new SMACNA HVAC Duct Construction Standards is still under review by ANSI.

Program chair Robin Stegall hosted a live poll of the membership to determine next years' meeting location: San Diego was the overwhelming winner at 59% with Charleston 32%, a cruise 7% and Boston 2%.

Join us in the Gas Lamp Quarter in 2020!         
Education Sessions
Agustin Hernandez - Owens Corning introduced Pat Cassidy - Owens Corning Director of Transportation. Owens Corning spends nearly $500M on ground, ocean and air freight annually. Freight costs have had two years of double digit growth, partially caused by capacity being effected by hurricanes and the implementation of electronic logging devices which limit driving hours. The good news for our members is that capacity has increased and freight broker rates are down 5%-30% and asset based carriers are only 0%-+3% this year.  He expects overall in 2019 that freight will be down 1% and for 2020 to be flat.
His advice was to create a win-win relationship between the shipped and freight carrier:
  • Minimize wait time. Stage and load in a way that is time efficient.
  • Schedule appointments to minimize wait time. 
  • Clearly communicate expectations with carriers.
  • Uses carriers that have good lanes, use multiple carriers where it makes sense.
The safety education session "Changing Accidents to Incidents" by Ryan Barnes and Alvin Dueck was presented by Spiral Helix. Ryan and Alvin discussed common safety issues related to fabricating and handling spiral duct and sheet metal in general. They discussed predicting the possibilities of future accidents and taking action to prevent these accidents. 
Topics of their presentation included:   
  • Safety equipment including use of gloves, protective sleeves, safety glasses and steel toed shoes.
  • Handling raw material.
  • Loading coils.
  • Changing spiral heads. 
  • Fabricating spiral pipe.
  • Transporting and handling of spiral pipe.  
  • Proper storage.
Ductmate Industries' Tony Plantz presented " Hiring Strategies with the Next Generation.  Skilled Labor Shortage Strategies and Initiatives". Tony is the national sales manager for Ductmate Industries, a division of DMI. He has been with Ductmate for 37 years.
Tony discussed the on-going skilled labor shortages that are impacting the manufacturing and construction industry. The demographics show that the work force is aging and there will not be enough craft professionals to replace the retiring workforce.  Between 2018 and 2028 there will be 2.4 million open positions that will need to be filled, currently the pipeline of replacement workers will not come close to filling this void. Tony discussed the social issues regarding the negative perception of manufacturing and construction work. 
Tony recommended being proactive in developing talent. Ductmate Industries is working with local high schools and the state of Pennsylvania to promote education and innovation around the Pittsburgh area. They will be hiring their third former student from these programs. They continue to work with the local sheet metal union to develop skilled labor. Ductmate employees are provided continuous training and are encouraged to foster innovation; this investment in their workforce allows for career advancement and happier and more dedicated workforce.
Round Tables
The highlight of every SPIDA annual meeting is our round table discussions. For an 90 minutes, groups gather to discuss issues related to manufacturing, materials and business practices. Members get to learn from manufacturers and sheet metal professional, many with 30+ years of experience. Many members have found that these roundtables have reduced manufacturing costs. This years' topics included: Exterior/Rooftop Duct, Insulation: Fiberglass vs. Elastomeric and other types, Recruiting and Maintaining Labor, Keeping Spiral in Duct Design and Growing/Improving SPIDA.

Join us next year in San Diego and learn from the leaders in the industry!
Closing Reception
Member News
The Hamlin Companies celebrated 65 years in business in April 2019. Mr. Fred Hamlin began the company as a sheet metal contractor in Raleigh NC in 1954. In 1991, the sheet metal division became strictly a manufacturer serving the southeast with spiral round, flat oval, rectangular, and industrial welded ductwork.  Second generation owner, Bill Hamlin, started a new division, Hamlin Roofing. Hamlin Roofing has become one of the top 40 roofing companies in the United States.  Today, third generation family members, Will Hamlin and Katherine Anne Hamlin carry on the family business. The future looks bright for all the Hamlin Companies. Hamlin Sheet Metal is proud to be one of the original members of SPIDA, and has seen its organization grow as a result of their involvement and educational opportunities with SPIDA activities. Brad Thomas, now deceased, was a long time board member and past President of SPIDA. Currently, Robin Stegall actively serves on the board of directors and served as President of the organization in 2016-2017.
SET Duct Manufacturing
SET Duct Manufacturing raises the bar on safety and sets another Milestone Record!

An incredible…. Six Years / 600,000 Man hours with no lost time accidents

SET Duct Mfg. (SDM) specializing in fabrication of Spiral Round, Oval and Rectangular Ductwork is definitely a front runner in the industry when it comes to safety. “SDM employees handle over four to five million pounds of steel each year using various pieces of equipment that punches, spins, cuts, welds, pounds and rolls just to mention a few, that can cause a serious injury if safety is not taken serious and in the forefront of each employee mind each and every day” says Paul Hilbert SET Ducts Plant Manager and Safety Coordinator.

One of the worst days that a manager or leader may encounter is when an employee is injured on their watch… “When it comes to safety there are no do over days” a decision made in 1/100 th of a second can change the rest of someone’s life.

What are the key factors that contributed to SDM having such a successful safety program? 

  1. Employees dedicated and engaged in safety from day one of being hired.
  2. Management’s involvement – Safety starts at the top with the Owner, President, Vice President, General Managers and on down, if upper Management takes safety serious and are truly concerned, they need to be engaged daily in safety, walk the floor, be proactive, attend and participate in safety meetings and listen to their employees and react.
  3. Keeping the shop clean and organized…Employees feel safer in an environment that is organized and without clutter, it becomes contagious.
  4. Empower employees to watch over themselves and each other without fear of any repercussions if an employee see’s someone or something that’s unsafe allow the employee to stop any procedure at any time. Safety always takes precedence over productivity.
  5. Create Training Programs- For example we have program called SET SET (Spiral Employee Training) this program teaches safety first, while giving the proper training to our employees in the fabrication of spiral and, oval ductwork and fittings.
  6. Low employee turnover- Track your turnover rate, if it is above the industry average try to find out why, be opened minded on how you can improve turnover. Constantly training new employees can be expensive and they are more susceptible to have an accident or injury.

SDM – “Continues to invest in safety” the return on the investment is worth the time, effort and the money is well spent. The reward is simple… “Every employee goes home to their families each and every day without an accident or injury occurring”. 
Save the Date!
Plan on joining SPIDA for our annual meeting in conjunction with ASHRAE.
SPIDA Needs Your Photos!
Please send photographs of spiral duct projects of stadiums and arenas, along with details (name, location, size of project in pounds, feet, etc) to switherow@designpoly.com and james@madcrouch.com for upcoming Pipeline publications.
Member News
SPIDA encourages its members to contribute or submit any news that is either related to their own business or the industry in general.

Some examples of topics to submit are:
  • Acquisitions
  • Company anniversaries
  • New facilities
  • Changes in personnel

Please submit to marketing@spida.org .
Volunteers Needed!

SPIDA needs your assistance. Each year ASHRAE provides us with a tradeshow booth at the AHR Expo to promote spiral duct to engineers, designers and contractors.

We need your help staffing the booth!

Please contact Scott Witherow at 614-451-0780 or switherow@designpoly.com with questions or to volunteer.
SPIDA on Social Media
Stay up to date with the latest news and information from SPIDA . Like our community page here:

Allows us to reach existing and prospective members with relevant articles and publications, as well as information regarding upcoming conferences and meetings.

Coming soon.