You Can’t Succeed Without Love & Passion

President's Message

You Can’t Succeed Without Love & Passion

I am grateful for the opportunity you have
given me to serve this great industry.

As I near the end of my term as SBCA President, I find myself reminiscing a lot over the last few months. It’s finally starting to set in that my time is almost over, and lately, I wonder if I really did anything to make a difference for the organization and the industry. I’m sure other past presidents have had similar thoughts near the end of their terms. However, a reality check at our last Open Quarterly Meeting (OQM) in Madison, WI, gave me a new perspective.

When I took over the presidency from Steve Stroder in 2012, I knew I had some very big shoes to fill. Past presidents have created new programs, conquered mountains of problems and experienced the joy of changing our industry through the market development initiatives or technical work that SBCA is so good at implementing! My role was much simpler than that, but nonetheless, important. My heart, as always, was to serve our members and SBCA staff to the best of my ability. My vision was to somehow begin to help bring the group together again, and my message was very simple: Support this wonderful association because you make it great!

Support SBCA with your membership, your donations, your time, and your love and passion for our industry. I’ve always said, as hard as our business is, you cannot succeed without a love and passion for it. I’m so very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to serve you. I appreciate those of you who had the courage to speak up and tell me what needed to be fixed. I’m excited about our renewed energy and vision for SBCA. I’m also excited about those of you who have committed to come and participate at our quarterly meetings. It is hard at first. You don’t know many people, if any. It’s a little expensive to travel, and it takes up a portion of your valuable time. But man, is it worth it. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the knowledge, friendships and support that I’ve gained from becoming involved. Our association needs you. It IS you!

It’s not just the board, or the executive group or staff. It’s all of us united together to make a difference on behalf of each small improvement that we undertake. Why? Because we all provide a different frame of reference and set of experiences. My experience is that, when our group uses all the knowledge of members and staff, and gets all the issues on the table, it is not hard to create a united goal and objective and move the industry forward in a positive way. I have seen it in each meeting in which I have been involved. While at times there are heated debates, they always result in important information coming to the surface, which has allowed the best decision to be made on behalf of our industry.

I’m very thankful to those who served before me and made my job so easy. We have been blessed, as an association, to have great leadership from our founding members and past presidents. We are also so fortunate to have a staff that is sold out to our cause—a staff that has the same love and passion for our industry that we do. I don’t care what the differences are at times; no one will ever be able to convince me that this kind of relationship could be easily duplicated. Thank you to everyone on SBCA staff for their dedication, knowledge and passion for our industry. You guys are great!

I’m turning this over to one of my great friends and mentors—a man who I have so much respect and admiration for, Mr. Rick Parrino. He represents the best of what members can do in their local markets and through their chapters. I have absolutely no doubt that he will be a great president and servant to this association.

I would like to thank my wife Ellie for being so very supportive during the past two years. I think she knows more about our group than I do! Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the one person who helped make it possible for me to serve, my father, Bob Ward. You are a great man, leader and someone who I always strive to imitate. Without your vision and passion for our association and this industry, I would have missed out on one of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had. Thank you, Dad. And thank you all. It was a great two-year term!

SBC Magazine encourages the participation of its readers in developing content for future issues. Do you have an article idea for an upcoming issue or a topic that you would like to see covered? Email your thoughts and ideas to