Chemical Management Best Practices Drive Forward

At ChemEdge 2022, Indianapolis
Hundreds of chemical distributor, manufacturer, warehouse and service support companies gathered in Indianapolis August 16-19 for the ChemEdge conference and trade show. The show features opportunities to network, share best practices and learn from both formal and informal educational opportunities.

The event is crafted to both inspire and inform. Keynote speaker for the Opening General Session was Chad E. Foster. The title of his talk and related book is “Blind Ambition: How to go from Victim to Visionary.”

Speaker Chad E. Foster at ChemEdge event sharing stories and best practices

Speaker Chad E. Foster

Afflicted with a rare chromosomal condition that resulted in him going blind in college, Chad shared with the audience insight he’s learned that could help those in attendance handle the challenges of their lives and what they might encounter in the business of chemical distribution.

Chad had to figure out how he was going to move forward without his sight. Would he be a victim or a visionary?  As he embraced his situation, he found himself doing programming to make software programs work better for him and in turn others. These efforts eventually resulted in innovations in customer relationship software for the visually impaired that ultimately generated over one billion dollars in revenue. Something was working through this “beautiful gift of blindness wrapped in this really ugly wrapping paper.

In his presentation, he shared five watchwords that have been guiding principles to help him embrace his reality and thrive. He recommended them for all at the conference to consider.

  • Reframe your situation and choose happiness.
  • Tell yourself the right story
  • Visualize your greatness
  • Get comfortable with discomfort
  • Take advantage of your disadvantage

When asked how he gets through the inevitable down days that everyone has, he said that he anchors himself in gratitude. Each day at dinner his family gathers and shares three things that they’re thankful for in the day. It reorients his perspective.

Chad encouraged everyone not to be a victim that stays trapped, but a visionary who finds a way to bounce back, achieving growth beyond what seemed possible.

These words set a positive tone for the conference to launch into full swing.

Eric Byer, President & CEO of NACD said that the recent signing into law of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) was cause for gratitude. It gives the Federal Maritime Commission more clout to make ocean carrier firms accountable for their actions that resulted in freight price hikes and demurrage charges, port congestion and disruption to supply chains. NACD members have been severely negatively impacted and while NACD calls for the swift implementation of the law, it sees this as a very positive step forward. (See more in NACD’s July-September 2022 Chemical Distributor.)

On the challenge side, Byer said next up is the Superfund Tax.

Here’s a bit of background reported by Thomson Reuters.

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA; PL 117-58) brought back the tax on sales of taxable chemicals under Code Sec. 4661 and the tax on specified sales or uses of imported taxable substances under Code Sec. 4671. The levies, known as the Superfund excise taxes, become effective July 1. 2022. The Superfund refers to the hazardous-substance cleanup program created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).”

The challenge for the chemical distributors is that they will now have to pay a significant excise tax. Thompson Reuters goes on to say that “the Superfund excise taxes would cost the U.S. chemical sector over $1.2 billion per year because cost pass-throughs are unlikely in a globally competitive environment. According to the researchers, foreign companies not subject to the taxes would have an advantage over U.S. companies as domestic costs would increase and be passed onto customers. This could potentially lead to plant closures and job losses, particularly in the East Coast region and in Texas.”

Says, Byer, “These are challenging times, but our members always figure it out and move forward successfully. We’re here to bring the support they need.”

In a regulation update Jennifer Gibson, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, gave an excellent overview of what NACD is doing in regulatory advocacy. To see a fuller picture of resources, see the NACD Government Affairs web page.

ChemEdge also features its Tradeshow where chemical distributors can interact with suppliers who support the industry. Quantum had the opportunity to connect with its partner Reliance Label Solutions on the show floor. The Reliance team was actively sharing their label solutions with customers and also more about Quantum’s Q-SDS which is integrated with Reliance label solutions.

Attendees Tori Shireman, James Pfaff, John O’Connor from Reliance for Chemical Management Best Practices Drive Forward

Pictured here Tori Shireman, James Pfaff, John O’Connor

Quantum left with a fresh reminder of how dynamic this industry is and a renewed commitment to provide “Smart Software” for NACD members to use to make “A Safer World.”

Look for the national NACD conference November 7-10 in Coronado California.


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