MRO Magazine

Will the PTDA change its name?

When the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) was formed in 1960, over 40 years ago, its name made sense to industry. But doubt about how well the moniker defines the association of toda...


Industry

September 1, 2003
By Bill Roebuck

When the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) was formed in 1960, over 40 years ago, its name made sense to industry. But doubt about how well the moniker defines the association of today has often been raised over the years. In fact, it’s a conflict faced by many industrial associations these days.

Developments in technology and innovations in machinery and equipment and the way the industrial supply chain operates have created many new words and confusion over old association names (and the names of many companies as well).

But should a company or association forgo years of brand identity and equity just to make its name more meaningful for today?

As far back as 1988, the PTDA seriously considered a name change to better reflect its focus, but in the end it stuck with what it had. Still, says current president Carlos Ingram, “I think that most members — even the strongest supporters of the current name — would admit that it’s not ideal. Certainly it’s a mouthful. It’s open to misinterpretation: Do we represent the automotive industry? The power generation industry?”

But earlier this year, with the results of a consultant’s study and a member survey in hand, PTDA’s board of directors voted unanimously to retain its current name.

“Our members, our industry and our association all face significant challenges as we try to position ourselves for success today and in the future,” says Ingram. “We can no longer afford the distraction of emotional debates over whether our name should be changed. It is time to put this issue behind us and move on.”

Some other associations that have changed their names in the past decade have ended up with a moniker that is confusing, both to insiders and outsiders.

Power transmission was probably tough to define 43 years ago and remains so today. A new name might only reflect a portion of what the association’s members really do. And even an effective definition might only reflect the industry for a decade or two. Who knows what new motion technology or terminology we’ll be using in 2025, for example?

Power transmission still means something to everyone in the machinery and equipment industries. It’s a name with power, which transmits meaning to us in industry. We think PTDA’s board has made a wise and enduring decision.