John Buckley, the Executive Director of the Industrial Supply Association (ISA), died suddenly of a heart attack on February 12th.
John became the Executive Director of ISA in June 2004, when IDA and ASMMA merged to form one combined association for industrial supplies’ distributors and manufacturers. While he came from “outside” of our industry, he was a skilled and experienced association manager.
As a past president of IDA I was excited about the merger of the two associations and the new directions that ISA was going to take. John came in without any of the “baggage” that someone from inside our business might carry. He was really a breath of fresh air, who was not afraid to ask “why do we do this” or “did you ever think of doing it this way?”
I experienced this first hand late in the summer of 2004 when I met John in Buffalo along with Tim Tevers of Columbus McKinnon and Tom Berger of Fuchs Machinery, both of whom helped engineer the merger. At that time NetPlus Alliance was two years old. Not knowing about the earlier negative feelings of buying groups in IDA, John invited me to bring NetPlus to the association’s annual convention. He created special aisles for NetPlus distributors and gave our members special ribbons for their convention badges. We also hosted a luncheon meeting for our members in space provided by the ISA. This creativity on John’s part did a lot to cement our credibility within the industry and gave us a true forum to grow our distributor and supplier membership.
John and I established a great working relationship and used each other as a sounding board for our respective groups. I will miss his intellect, his passion and his great sense of humor. He was a true friend.
Requiescat in Pace, John Buckley.