MRO Magazine

Challenges of future discussed at bearing industry’s annual BSA convention

Fort Lauderdale, FL -- The Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) wrapped up its latest annual meeting last week fol...


May 3, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Fort Lauderdale, FL — The Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) wrapped up its latest annual meeting last week following a series of business meetings and networking sessions that saw both manufacturers and distributors in an unusually upbeat mood.

The association elected Craig Gipson of Gipson Bearing & Supply Co. Inc., as 2004-2005 president at its annual convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., April 24-28, 2004.

BSA is an international service and educational organization of distributors, representing more than 70 companies distributing factory-warranted ball-, roller-, and anti-friction bearings.

Other officers elected for the coming year are Douglas Savage, Bearing Service Inc., first vice-president; Tom Miller, Motion Industries Inc., second vice-president; Cam Lawrence, BDI Canada Inc, treasurer; and Jeff Ramras, Applied Industrial Technologies, chairman of the board. Ramras was president for the 2003-2004 term.


The association also elected three new members to the board of directors: Mark Stoneburner, Applied Industrial Technologies; Ellen Holladay, Motion Industries Inc.; and Howard Gainey, Bearings & Drives Inc.

Members continuing on the board include: Geoffrey Filker, Eastern Bearings Inc.; Ron Aupperle, IBT Inc.; Chuck Kitchen, Interstate Bearing Technologies; Eduardo T. Bichara, Baleromex, S.A. de C.V.; William F. DuComb, W.C. DuComb Company; and Stephen Durston, Jamaica Bearings Company, Inc.

The convention welcomed a record number of attendees in 2004. With a theme of “Experience the Influence,” it offered the opportunity to meet informally and take advantage of a programming lineup that featured six presentations.

BSA convention speakers included Tom Winnger on “Full Price: Creating Distinctive Value on the New Economy” and Jim Pancero on “Seven Questions to Evaluate the Competitive Marketing Health of Your Business.”

The convention’s business program began with an update from Sten Malmstrom, president SKF and vice-president of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA), on the state of the bearings industry.

Hank Cox, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reported on the status of the Coalition for the Future of Manufacturing. The coalition, which BSA joined earlier this year, is a grassroots effort which now includes nearly 800 members and is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of a strong manufacturing base to U.S. prosperity, the challenges facing U.S. manufacturers, and to seeking pro-growth public policy changes that will ensure a vibrant U.S. manufacturing base in the future.

Another speaker, John Cassis, rolled his experience as a professional baseball player, minister, and director of special projects at World Relief into a talk called “Catching a Second Wind — Building a winning Team.” Nascar driver Jeff Burton also took the podium to share his winning philosophy.

The sessions highlighted several of the challenges faced by the bearing industry and offered solutions that were overheard being hotly discussed in informal sessions after the speeches were over.

One of the highlights of the BSA convention was a Conference Table session. The prescheduled one-on-one meetings between distributors and manufacturers were enhanced in 2003 with advance, on-line registration.

The convention also featured a host of informal networking opportunities at social and sporting events, including golf and tennis tournaments and a closing dinner dance.

In a departure from traditional certification presentations made at member companies, BSA presented Bob Lewis, vice-president and general manager of branch operations at US Bearings & Drives, Vancouver, Wash., with his certificate as the 200th person to receive the Certified Bearings Specialist (CBS) designation at a ceremony during the convention.

The CBS documents value added service provided by industrial distributors to the end users of bearings and bearing related products. Because BSA’s CBS is the only program of its kind in the industry, Certified Bearing Specialists are readily recognized as experts and problem solvers. The CBS test is available throughout the year at NICET test sites in the US. Canadian testing is available on a similar schedule.

“They also told me I had the highest mark seen in the program,” Lewis whispered to Machinery & Equipment MRO at the meeting.

The 2004-05 convention will be held May 15-17, 2005, in Vancouver, B.C.