Marc Blackman, CEO of Gold Eagle, and MEMA chairman in his second term, shared with members of the media Thursday what the newly refined and expanded MEMA means to his company and the industry.
MEMA is being rebranded as the Vehicle Suppliers Association, and has unveiled a new structure.
Gold Eagle, founded in 1932, is a family-owned and operated manufacturer of performance chemicals and surface treatments. And it’s one of the 65 percent of MEMA’s members that are “what we would refer to as small to medium-sized companies — those that are $100 million dollars or less,” said Bill Long, MEMA president and CEO.
“This was probably one of the most interactive and deliberate processes I’ve ever been part of,” said Blackman, who took those on today’s Zoom conference through the process and what it means to companies like Gold Eagle.
“Really what started off as an idea — an intuition in Bill Long’s mind and the vision of MEMA — was shared and further developed with his outstanding leadership team,” Blackman said. “And ultimately, that more refined concept came to our board… And not for the purpose of any kind of an approval or anything else. It came to the board just for transparency to let the board know… and how we thought we might go about it.”
“So the board enthusiastically endorsed our moving forward — not approving anything — but just moving forward with further exploring the concept,” Blackman said. “It was handed off to our executive committee in which the executive committee worked closely with Bill and the leadership team to further refine, make recommendations — really contemplate all the different implications of what was being considered.”
“And ultimately, this led to an approach and a structure that we felt made the most sense,” Blackman said. The board and leadership teams each addressed their concerns and ideas, he added.
“That was all integrated into a final approach, which was then brought to each of the division boards — OESA, MEMA, AASA and HDMA — for input and ultimate approval,” Blackman said. “And then finally, it was brought to the MEMA board and by this point everybody was fully on board with it, understood it and it went through unanimously with the MEMA board.”
“I just congratulate, first of all the leadership team, and then secondly, our wonderful suppliers and board members with the input and and really the collaboration that was behind us,” Blackman said. “And I can tell you the supplier community is fully on board with it.”
“I congratulate Bill Long for his vision and really for the management of pulling this together,” Blackman said. “As one of those 65 percent smaller members… There is absolutely no way that a smaller member can really see the fullest potential of their own business and the market potential without an association like MEMA… and what these changes have enabled.”
“Gold Eagle was really focused on the automotive aftermarket side at AASA. We now have exposure and understanding of all the different issues that are coming about with the heavy-duty side, with the remanufacturing side and all those communities,” Blackman said. “And also we have exposure now to the OE side.”
“We will have exposure to much of the ESG (Environmental, social and governance) initiatives in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily have had before because that was all coming through MERA.”
“And so it’s just a great example and there’s just so many different ways that a company like ours can interact now more fully and and frankly have exposure to more of the great minds in the industry,” Blackman said.
“The one thing that I’ve learned is that these large companies — they’re here to help, they have expertise, they have staffs,” he said. “They have all kinds of things that the smaller companies do not have. And they share that knowledge and that’s very valuable for the smaller companies and for Gold Eagle specifically and we’re very fortunate and appreciate being involved. It’s an honor for me to be in this position. So, thank you.”
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