UPFDA forges a path forward in 2021


February 3, 2021



As I reflect on last year, I am thankful for two things:

  1. We’re so fortunate to work in this industry. Despite a pandemic that brought tragedy to many people and businesses, our industry, deemed essential, was able to continue to conduct business, employ our people and even saw some growth in certain parts.
  2. 2020 is over! While we may still have challenges ahead, we’ve found solutions over the past year that will give us the ability to respond to challenges a lot faster in 2021.

Throughout 2020, the United Producers, Formulators & Distributors Association (UPFDA) board continued to work full steam ahead. Under the direction of Immediate Past President Scott Riley, a subcommittee conducted a review and update of the UPFDA bylaws. The work of the Bylaws Committee modernized the bylaws, which were last updated in 1994. Some of the changes were made to conform with non-profit organizations’ best management practices and the Georgia State Corporation Commission. Other amendments allowed for UPFDA to conduct business electronically, redefined the board composition, allowed the executive director to act as an agent of the secretary/treasurer, and added some standard conflict-of-interest language and removal of “board and/or executive director” policies.


On Oct. 12, the day before the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) virtual PestWorld event got under way, more than 40 UPFDA members connected through our online event, “UPFDA Shaking Things UP Before PestWorld.” This two-in-one event combined UPFDA’s annual membership meeting with a fun social.

First, we conducted a little business, including elections and approval of the above-mentioned bylaw amendments and committee reports. We then switched gears and enjoyed some virtual social time together. UPFDA morphed our typical in-person cocktail reception into a cocktail demonstration! Members were mailed an UPFDA cocktail glass and party mix ahead of time, and given recipe cards to follow along with our mixologist from Fancy Sips, who showed us how to concoct a “Metamorphosis Vodka Mule” and a “Cinnabug Maple Bourbon Sour.” After our drinks were stirred, members sipped their buggy-themed mocktails or cocktails — or another favorite standby beverage — and visited for a bit. While the event wasn’t as grand an affair as our typical PestWorld receptions, we made the most of our time together, given the circumstances.

The camaraderie of our members and member companies is a big part of the value that UPFDA membership brings. While an in-person spring meeting is unlikely at this writing, we are dedicated to finding the most viable way to meet in 2021. Details will be posted on the event page at UPFDA.com once they are solidified.


A year like 2020 proves that an organization can’t be stagnant. We must chart our path, but be prepared for detours and roadblocks. I am looking forward to the next two years serving as UPFDA’s president, and working with a fantastic board that volunteers time and talent for the betterment of our industry.

My first objective as president is to chart UPFDA’s path forward. I have named an ad-hoc committee to work on updating, defining and creating — if needed — a clear vision, mission and core values for the association. By assessing where we are and where we want to go in the future, we can lay out goals for UPFDA’s future. Once those goals are established, we can chart our course for how to accomplish them.

UPFDA is all about improving our businesses and the industry. Most UPFDA members have been in the industry a long time. We have witnessed growth and evolution, and I believe the industry will continue to grow and evolve. UPFDA will be there alongside its members, at the ready to help that growth and evolution.

FORSHAW is president of Forshaw Inc., Charlotte, N.C., and current president of the United Producers, Formulators & Distributors Association. He may be reached at thomasf@forshaw.com.

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