San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
A record 215 attendees flocked to Florida last week for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers' Annual Meeting, held here at the Ocean Reef Club.
Aside from the draw of the venue, the record turnout also reflected an expanded floor-care contingent. The group's Annual Meeting was the first to be held following the merger last January of the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association (VCMA) and AHAM's floor-care division, which brought the latter's membership up to 20 companies.
The meeting was highlighted by keynotes from Hal Stratton, Jr., chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Tina Settecase, VP/general manager of Sears' home appliances, who broke down her company's white-goods business in fine detail (more about that in the May 17th issue of TWICE). Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion about how the appliance value chain brings innovation and consumer satisfaction to the market, led by Emerson's Robert Brown, VP/sales and marketing, cooking platform; Hoover marketing VP Annette Bravard; and Sub-Zero corporate marketing manager Paul Leuthe.
In his annual review, AHAM president Joe McGuire said he was "heartened" by the record attendance, which included 19 CEOs and demonstrated members' confidence in the organization. He said recent staff consolidations have left AHAM leaner but on more solid financial footing, and recounted the year's accomplishments — including the Bush Administration's lifting of tariffs on imported steel — and challenges, including state level energy efficiency initiatives.
Other highlights included the naming of new board members, including officers Liston Durden, Viking senior/VP, marketing, as chairman; Barbara Garrett, senior/VP, Applica, as first vice chair; Chris Wignall, senior VP/sales and marketing, Maytag, as second vice chair; and Jerry Ryder, president, In-Sink-Erator/Emerson Electric Co., as treasurer.
Other newly elected board members include Mark Bissell, president/CEO, Bissell Homecare; Robert Scaglione, VP/marketing, Sharp Electronics; Franz Bosshard, president/CEO, BSH Home Appliances; and Thomas Briatico, president/CEO, Hoover.
In-Sink-Erator's Ryder was doubly honored at the meeting as the recipient of the Home Appliance Industry Leadership Award (HAIL). He will be serving his third consecutive term as treasurer. Ryder was "hailed" for establishing new financial reserves and an investment policy that helped put AHAM back on sound financial footing, as well as creating a board finance committee. A second HAIL Award was presented to John Balough, a retired Hoover engineer and floor-care historian who was instrumental in the merger of the VCMA and AHAM.
The trade group also announced the creation of a new industry honor, the Michael C. Thompson Public Policy Award, named after the late Whirlpool lobbyist, which will be bestowed for the first time at next year's Annual Meeting to be held April 17-18 at the Willard Hotel in Washington.