A long-time contributor to Hose & Coupling World magazine, we had the recent pleasure of speaking with Debbie Mitchell about her role within NAHAD (the Association of Hose Accessories Distribution) in the United States, the importance of the Hose Assembly Guidelines, as well as the latest news within the Hose Safety Institute.
By Jody Hewitt
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your background and what brought you into this industry?
A: I spent most of my career with Hewlett Packard (HP) managing the piece of the Sales Training organization responsible for training Technical Sales Support personnel. When I took early retirement from HP in 2006, I moved to the association management business, working directly with NAHAD as the Standards Manager. This included managing an employee testing program for members, which evolved into the Hose Safety Institute.
Q: What is your current role within NAHAD?
A: I currently work with NAHAD’s Standards Committee which oversees that testing program; the Hose Assembly Guidelines on which the tests are based; marketing programs designed to help members leverage their investment in the Hose Safety Institute; and getting the word out to the industry in general—hose assemblies are more than sticking two connectors on the end of a hose and hoping it works correctly and safely. In addition to NAHAD, I work as the Executive Director of the International Sealing Distributors (ISD).
Q: What kind of challenges do you face in this role?
A: The primary challenge is managing a large group of volunteer members all committed to hose safety, quality and reliability—everyone has a perspective on key priorities for Institute work, not to mention having to balance the demands of their regular work loads. It’s often a challenge sorting through the wide variety of projects that could be done and coming up with what will have the most impact for the most members in a reasonable amount of time. Plus, the Guidelines represent a substantial body of knowledge that needs to be maintained and updated on a regular basis.
Q: What is NAHAD’s primary goals as an association and what value does it bring to its members?
A: Like most associations, the primary value of membership is in networking with peers in the industry. In addition to that basic role, NAHAD has also spent years developing the Hose Assembly Guidelines, a set of best practices agreed to by the membership and representing industry consensus on hose assembly design, specification and fabrication. Out of that work, the Hose Safety Institute was born.
To read the full interview with Debbie Mitchell, please contact the Editor.