Responsible Reflections

with the National Association of Chemical Distributors

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Are You Resilient on the Job?

By Lucinda Schofer, COO, NACDAW8A3202

Have you ever gotten into a routine that felt old and tired, or just felt like you were barely making it through your “to do” list, let alone plan for the future and strategize on more efficient ways to run your division or company? We’ve all felt the stress of a monotonous routine, email overload, and some of us, even job burnout. In those moments, it’s important to reflect on the work we’re doing and the ways we can maintain our mental resilience. In doing so, we can learn to manage the stress of an increasingly hectic work life.

Recently, I read an article from the Harvard Business Review that outlines five key tips to help combat those feelings of stress and burnout through more mental training practices leading to more mindful work. You can read the full article here, but one of the pivotal quotes has to do with how we make mindfulness a priority. The author writes, “Implementing multimodal learning and skill development solutions — including a combination of mobile learning, onsite training, webinars, and peer-to-peer learning networks — promotes the greatest chance for mindfulness to become a core competency within an organization. Participants report statistically significant improvements in resilience, and say that mindfulness tools and content delivered in these ways are highly useful for managing stress, improving collaboration and enhancing well-being.”

To me, NACD is the perfect example of this type of “multimodal learning.” Whether it’s at our ChemEdge conference in two weeks or our monthly webinars or in our executive education courses like the Emerging Leaders program, peer-to-peer learning takes place throughout the year and fosters growth for all stages of careers and all types of responsibilities.

This year is an important year at NACD. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of NACD Responsible Distribution® and the commitment all our members have taken over the years demonstrating their efforts to continuously keep their workers and communities safe. I’m sure that many of you – whether you’ve been with us since 1991, when Responsible Distribution launched, or whether you just joined NACD – have felt stress around leading your companies while also going through the verification process for Responsible Distribution.  The good news is that we have exactly the types of tools and resources to help you that are mentioned in the quote I mentioned above. You are not in this alone. There are people, programs and advisers in place to not only help you be more mindful in your approach but to allow you to tap in to these multimodal opportunities as you see fit.

Being mindful about the work we do and finding ways to manage stress in our professional lives is critical to ensuring we perform our jobs in the best possible way. We must take time to think about how we, and how our staff, can combat the feelings of professional stress to make sure the safety and security of our workers and communities remains a top priority.

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Stay Informed with NACD’s Regulatory Compliance Preferred Provider Blogs

By Matt McKinney, Manager, Public Affairs, NACD

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Did you know many of NACD’s Regulatory Compliance Preferred Providers have blogs and other resources on their websites to provide you with the information you need to run your businesses more effectively?  From environmental law to workplace safety to the latest regulatory requirements and much more, these providers offer up-to-date information on issues that impact the chemical distribution industry. Below is a list of some of the resources these companies offer – I highly encourage you to check them out!

  • Connell Foley Environmental Law Blog
    The Connell Foley Environmental Law Blog offers great articles on a variety of issues, like OSHA exposure limits, updates to TSCA, comments on specific EPA rulemakings and more. While it covers a broad range of topics, there are some great nuggets for chemical distributors.
  • Environmental Resource Center Tips of the Week
    The ERC Tips of the Week Archive is another fantastic resource covering primarily EPA and OSHA-related topics. They typically post twice a week and cover both environmental and safety issues.
  • ICC Compliance Center Blog
    This blog provides some fantastic resources for chemical distributors. The ICC Compliance Center staff takes an in-depth look at a host of issues, including truck safety and other transportation-related concerns, hazmat regulations, process safety management issues, import/export topics, and much more.
  • Kestrel Management Insights & Updates Blog
    Kestrel has a thorough blog that delves into important topics like food safety, internal audits, hazmat, and process safety among other issues. For chemical distributors, this is a valuable resource worth reading.
  • NSF International Newsroom
    While not a traditional blog, the NSF Newsroom covers broad topics about consumer and personal safety, water treatment, FDA regulatory updates, and more. It’s well worth the time if those are the markets you distribute in.

These are just a few of the great resources some of our preferred providers offer, and there are many more that are just as valuable. Take a minute to check out the complete list of NACD’s Regulatory Compliance Preferred Providers and the resources they provide. I expect you won’t be disappointed!

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Learning on the Go: Why We Developed NACD U

By Matt Glaser, NACD VP, Membership and Education

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Last week, I had an interview with a reporter who was writing an article on innovative tools and resources the chemical industry is leveraging to ensure their employees are up-to-speed with the most current best practices and regulatory requirements. She told me that the article would explore a company that sells an app for safety training, another organization that recently released a virtual reality safety training course, and NACD’s online educational platform NACD U. It’s clear that organizations are looking to develop new resources that utilize technology to train their employees in a way that is digestible for these employees and ultimately saves the company time and money—that’s exactly why we launched NACD U last year.

While I can’t speak to the reasons why other organizations might pursue online training, NACD decided to launch NACD U because of several observations we made about our industry. First, we’re seeing the regulatory burden on our members continue to increase over time. What we’re hearing from these companies is a need for more resources to help them comply as quickly and thoroughly as possible, and that was a big part of the decision to make sure NACD U included courses not only on management skills and leadership, but also on Responsible Distribution and federal regulatory requirements.

Second, many leaders in the chemical distribution industry are poised to start retiring over the next decade. That means younger people, more accustomed to using technology, are going to be entering leadership roles. Given that dynamic, we saw a need in our industry to create forward-thinking resources that will help foster the next generation of leaders.

Third, in today’s fast-paced and technologically-driven world, people more and more want to be able to learn on the go. As Eric Byer noted in a blog post in January, employees are itching for training opportunities that help them do their jobs better, expand their skillset, and ultimately advance in their careers.

Obviously, a company can’t close its doors for an entire day or period of days to hold in-person training sessions. By taking advantage of online educational opportunities, workers can get valuable training on their own timeframe and in the most cost-effective way so that they can continue to operate in their facilities day in and day out.

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Responsible Distribution Celebrates 25 Years: How Has It Benefited You?

This week, more than 90 representatives from NACD member companies came to Washington D.C. to meet with their lawmakers and tell them about the issues impacting their businesses and other important developments happening in the chemical distribution industry. One of the things they shared with elected officials was the 25th anniversary of Responsible Distribution.RDanniv_notag_rgb

We as an industry have a tremendous amount to be proud of regarding Responsible Distribution. Whether being the first industry association to incorporate security into our EH&S program following the attacks on September 11, or making sure that third-party verification is a pillar of the program to ensure objectivity in the verification process, or that we have signed Memorandums of Understanding with both American and international industry associations in an effort to better harmonize Responsible Distribution with other environmental, health, safety, and security programs – NACD has definitively improved industry performance since the inception of Responsible Distribution.

To celebrate these incredible achievements and many more, over the course of the year NACD will be incorporating the anniversary into our events and programs. At ChemEdge, we will be releasing a keepsake issue of the Chemical Distributor magazine dedicated entirely to Responsible Distribution, including its history and evolution over the last 25 years, interviews with people that helped launch the program, and much more. We will also be featuring best in class stories from all around Responsible Distribution at ChemEdge discussing ways that you can leverage the resources the program provides to improve your operational performance.

At Annual Meeting, we’ll be celebrating the anniversary throughout the entire week. We’ll be recognizing the companies that have been members of NACD since Responsible Distribution was launched a quarter-century ago, and commemorating this astounding milestone in many other ways. I know I’m looking forward to attending, and I hope you do too!

We should be proud every year of the great strides we’ve made through Responsible Distribution, but this year is particularly special. I hope you join me and the rest of our industry in celebrating 25 years of improving safety and performance. We’d like to hear how Responsible Distribution has benefited you.

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Off to the Races…Engaging Lawmakers This Election Season

After Tuesday night’s primary election results, it appears that Mr. Trump will prevail as the Republican Party’s nominee this fall. It’s also pretty clear that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic Party’s choice. To ensure that our members are up-to-date on the positions of each presidential candidate, NACD will be providing members with a comprehensive analysis on issues important to the chemical distribution industry. We will also be providing analysis on the top ten most important House and Senate races to NACD member companies.

With so much at stake in this unconventional election season, it is clear our members are eager to engage their elected officials. We have record attendance once again for this year’s NACD Washington Fly-In from May 17-18. We are quickly approaching 100 participants – a fantastic showing for sure!  I am thrilled to announce a slate of great speakers including Congressional Chemistry Caucus Co-Chairs John Moolenar (R-MI) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) along with Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO).  If you have not registered yet, there is still time! Please click here to learn more.

Just as we’re chomping at the bit to engage lawmakers, they too are eager to tout their support for American businesses back in their districts during their reelection bids. Last week, the Congressional Chemistry Caucus formally launched with 14 Congressmen adding their names to a growing list of participants. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to invite your congressman to join. Given the incredible role of chemistry in our daily lives and the need to invest in STEM education initiatives, I’m sure that many lawmakers would consider being a part of this group if they were invited. The more we get to join, the greater awareness lawmakers will have of the importance of chemistry to the national economy and to life in the 21st century. Visit our Chemical ReACTions site to learn more about how to invite your representative to join the Caucus.

In today’s world of social media outreach, it is important that we all play a role to keep our elected officials informed of the latest issues and developments important to the chemical distribution industry. As they seek reelection, lawmakers will become even more active on social media to interact with their constituents. This gives us all a great opportunity to foster relationships with them, whether that’s after the Fly-In to continue building on the contacts we made or to invite them to join the Chemistry Caucus. If you and/or your company do not have a Twitter account, I would strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to sign up and follow me @EByerNACD.  The fact is policymakers use Twitter all the time to communicate nowadays.  Let’s make sure they know who we are so we can engage them on the important issues impacting our industry!

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Support for Chemistry Can Be Found on Capitol Hill

Did you know that the business of chemistry touches 96% of all commerce in the United States? Did you also know that chemical distributors generate $30 billion in economic output, employ more than 70,000 people, and contribute $5 billion to the local, state, and national tax base? As these numbers show, chemical distributors play a pivotal role in the U.S. economy and in the supply chain that produces the consumer goods we use every single day.

Unfortunately, many of our elected officials are completely unaware of the way chemistry impacts our everyday lives in the 21st century. That’s why NACD joined with the American Chemistry Council and the American Chemical Society to work with Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) to launch the Congressional Chemistry Caucus. The purpose of this caucus is to put forward polices that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and ensure the continued growth and success of chemistry-related industries.

Last night, I attended the launch event for this caucus on Capitol Hill with over 80 people and let me tell you, the energy in the room was electric. Congressmen and industry representatives alike were energized to show how important chemistry is to everyday life in America. The caucus already has 12 members, and I’m confident we’ll continue to grow those numbers and raise the profile of chemistry in Congress so that lawmakers understand the importance of this industry to their local communities and the American economy.

For NACD, the Congressional Chemistry Caucus will serve as a useful tool in our advocacy efforts here in Washington. We now have a group of lawmakers that we can automatically reach out to regarding legislation that impacts our industry. While they may not support every idea we put forward, they can serve as a focal point for our efforts to get language introduced into legislation that is beneficial to our industry.

I thank Reps. Moolenaar and Lipinski for their commitment to the science of chemistry and related industries, and I look forward to working with the members of the Congressional Chemistry Caucus to make sure that policymakers appreciate the importance of chemical distributors in American commerce.

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State Efforts Plays a Vital Role in NACD Advocacy

Over the last several years, NACD and our membership have made it a point to become more committed to advocating on behalf of the chemical distribution industry on the state and local level. With state legislatures increasingly drafting and passing legislation that places new environmental requirements and tax burdens on our members, I believe we must act both offensively and defensively to educate state policymakers about the immense value our Responsible Distribution program offers in ensuring the safe and secure distribution of your products.

These efforts have been highlighted by our quest to have  Responsible Distribution  recognized at the state level. In 2015, we began making inroads by working with the Indiana General Assembly to introduce and pass Senate Resolution 8, a resolution directing Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management to develop guidance to allow chemical facilities  verified as participants in Responsible Distribution to be recognized under the Environmental Stewardship Program.

This year, we’re continuing to move forward with our state efforts. With our focus currently on Ohio, NACD has been working with State Senator Frank LeRose to introduce Senate Resolution 358 applauding the best practices programs of NACD and the Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program. We are very optimistic this resolution will be passed in the coming weeks.

In addition to the proposed legislation, NACD – working with Ohio EPA – has recently developed a streamlined process to have Responsible Distribution participants rolled into Ohio EPA’s E3 program. One of our members based in Ohio has already completed the brief application process, and we look forward to statewide recognition by Ohio EPA soon.

NACD Chairman Mat Brainerd (right) with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

NACD Chairman Mat Brainerd (right) with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

Aside from pursuing further state-level initiatives solely through state legislative bodies, we’ve begun building relationships with U.S. governors. Just today, NACD Chairman Mat Brainerd and NACD Sr. Director of Legislative Affairs Ben Traynham are in Oklahoma City meeting with Governor Mary Fallin. They are discussing the importance of chemical distribution in the chemical supply chain as well as gauging the governor’s interest on a similar effort in Oklahoma recognizing  Responsible Distribution  as going above and beyond the norm to protect the health, safety, and security of employees, communities, and the environment.

As the year unfolds, I will report back to members on the progress of our state advocacy efforts. It is imperative we engage at the state level to ensure our industry remains a vibrant economic driver while maintaining the highest levels of safety, security, and professionalism.