The Edge of 17 – Celebrating a Strong Partnership


By: Rachel Luoma, MS, CAE

As Partners in Association Management celebrates our 20th anniversary in 2018, we are looking back over the last 20 years as a way to help us learn from the past and navigate the future.  For anniversaries, a 20th is often celebrated as it marks a major milestone. When it comes to age, 18 is usually a big celebration as it means the transition from child to adult.   But oftentimes, celebrating a 17th anniversary is overlooked – that ends today! 

Celebrating (3)Today, we celebrate 17 years of partnership between the National Association of Dental Laboratories, the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology and Partners in Association Management working together to further the dental laboratory industry and certification and standards within the profession.

BNapier.jpgI still remember hearing about the story when the National Association of Dental Laboratories and the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology signed with Partners in Association Management almost 17 years ago.  The way our owner and CEO Bennett Napier, CAE, tells it, a semi-truck pulled into our parking lot and was filled to the top with boxes and boxes of materials as far as the eye could see.  I bet he had way more hair back then.

IMG_3358.JPGStaff literally spent weeks unpacking, going through historical data and organizing materials. It’s hard to believe how much has changed during our work together – industry growth, a major recession, industry consolidation, the incorporation of digital technologies, increased offshore, venture capitalists getting into the industry, changing business models, generational shifts, job task analyses, item writings, certification standard changes, launching a new certification, launching a mentorship program and so much more. It has been one great ride and we continue to work for positive change and to help these associations and the members they serve grow.  One thing remains the same –change is constant and you must adapt to ride the waves of change.

As such, it is important every few years to ensure that the organizations are still appropriately serving and messaging the organizational missions, identifying and meeting the needs of the association constituents and reviewing strategies and tactics for delivering the mission.  Last year, both organizations began an eight month journey to do this.plan-1725510__340

The process was meticulously planned out and began with collecting market research.  From there, both organizations with the help of SalterMitchell, worked to organize personal interviews, hold idea generating sessions, identify key audiences, their needs and wants, refine messaging, select tactics, create a timeline for implementation and finally implementing the plan.

Overall, the process helped the association leadership and staff focus efforts to better serve our industry and constituents.  In just the five short months of 2018, the associations have:

  • Launched a new ambassador program at their annual meeting to welcome first-time attendees and new members to the NADL community.
  • Created a new mentorship program to help individuals interested in becoming certified to navigate the examination process.
  • Hosted their first ever CDTFest, celebrating certification in the dental laboratory profession.
  • Launched a new webinar series, focused on business management topics related to dental laboratory technology.
  • Created a series of social media ads targeting dentists about the important role a dental laboratory plays in oral healthcare and the importance of certification and standards.
  • Hosted a series of regional workshops aimed at supporting dental laboratory owners and managers by providing information about industry updates and regulatory changes that may impact them.

The exciting thing is that there is much more planned in 2018 and beyond! So, in 2018 we celebrate – our 20 years as an association management company and our 17 years of partnership with NADL and NBC! And at Partners we look forward many more years of partnerships and continuing to evolve, learn and grow to better serve our clients and their constituents.

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary indeed!


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