NACD’s 2015 Washington Fly-In is just around the corner! Nearly 90 representatives throughout the chemical distribution industry are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., April 28 and 29 to share their stories with their elected officials. To help attendees prepare for this invaluable event, we sat down with Jeanette Glose Partlow, current NACD board member and president of Maryland Chemical Company, to get her perspective on the Washington Fly-In. And, if you haven’t yet registered for the Fly-In, there’s still time! Click here!
NACD: Jeanette, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. You’ve been attending the Washington Fly-In for many years. Why do you think this event is such a critical component of NACD’s advocacy efforts, and why should chemical distributors of all stripes get engaged in the policymaking process?
Glose Partlow: On my first visit to Capitol Hill, I saw the legions of visitors from every cause and every walk of life, and realized if we were not there to voice our concerns and talk about who we are as an industry, as leaders, citizens and voters, then we were invisible.
If we do not get engaged with the policymakers, then we do not have a voice. We have to make our voices and views heard to create viable futures for our companies, employees, customers and communities.
NACD: What would you say is the biggest value attendees get from this event?
Glose Partlow: Learning how to advocate for our right to do business and how to educate our legislators to know who you are and why you and your company matter to them and to the home district!
Each Fly-in, I think to myself, only in America do we have such individual access to our legislators to express our views.
NACD: Building relationships with lawmakers is an important aspect of the Fly-In. How have you continued the conversation with your policymakers after the event?
Glose Partlow: Invitations for a plant tour/ribbon-cutting/anniversary celebration; building relationships with staff by offering to serve as a resource; providing You Be the Chemist® materials to the education staffers. Also, showing up year after year in their offices at the Fly-In helps to build the relationship.
NACD: What advice would you give first-time attendees to help them get the most out of their meetings with lawmakers and regulatory officials?
Glose Partlow: Have confidence, and remember, you are making a “sales call” to educate your legislators why you and your company are important: providing jobs with family-supporting wages and good benefits and contributing to economic vibrancy in your communities.
Prepare and bring your company economic stats such as number of jobs, annual payroll, annual sales, use, property taxes paid, and charitable contributions. Hand deliver your thank you letters at the time of your visit and include these stats in your letter.
NACD: Thinking back over the many years you’ve attended, what is one of your favorite memories of the Fly-In?
Glose Partlow: A favorite memory is a visit with our Congressman the year I had two nephews and my niece and my Mom with me. Our Congressman greeted us in his office, offered us refreshments of sodas and water, and then proceeded to engage the young teenagers in genuine conversation about their interests and sharing his story about coming to Washington, D.C.! We wrapped up the visit with a “photo opp” and a decade later, both my family and the Congressman (now Senator) still remember and remark on that visit to Capitol Hill.
NACD: Thank you again for your time, Jeanette. We look forward to seeing you in Washington in a couple of weeks!