The Laboratory Products Association (LPA) held its spring meeting in Austin, TX on May 2-4, 2022. The meeting attracted record attendance of 115 people, including 29 first time attendees. The LPA enables manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of lab products and services to improve their success through networking, market information, professional education, and government affairs advocacy. The LPA has more than 100 years of supporting science and works on growing the important role played by laboratory products in the development of modern science.
The spring meeting offered significant networking opportunities. The schedule featured time to talk with other attendees to share experiences and conduct peer networking. There was real energy among the attendees to re-establish friendships and professional contacts in-person, as well as share experiences of how they managed life and business through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agenda also provided excellent learning opportunities. The speakers were carefully chosen to provide value to the LPA members across a wide range of topics. Joe Hanson, the creator of PBS’ “Be Smart” show, talked about the often convoluted and unpredictable path of innovation and the importance of innovation to address some of the key challenges in the world, like ending the current pandemic. He discussed the scientific roots of the key innovations that led to the COVID-19 vaccines and how those developments occurred when people and ideas came together differently than before. Hanson also drove home the need for curiosity to drive innovation.
Rob Smith and Pat Rose from Mercury PR provided detailed updates on government and regulatory affairs. They highlighted current issues and activities in Washington, DC that can impact science and laboratory products. A key lesson in their presentation was the concept that headlines distract from legislative activity. They provided keen insight on government activities that were welcomed by the attendees.
Josh Waldman from the Cleveland Research Company provided detailed economic data on different sectors pertaining to the laboratory products market. These data were highly valued by attendees to plan their approaches in different markets. A key conclusion from this presentation is that despite higher demand, rising costs are likely to limit margin potential for the rest of 2022.
Lisa Ryan, founder and chief appreciation strategist at Grategy, spoke on the power of gratitude to drive engagement and staff retention. She emphasized that relatively simple activities can have a significant impact on the workplace culture, and that the responsibility to make these changes starts with each of us. Her seven “grategies” (gratitude + strategy) were easy to understand, relatively simple to execute, and can produce enormous benefits. To help the attendees, she provided concrete examples of each one during the presentation. The take-home message was, “Thank your people. When you change your language, you change your culture.”
The final presentation was given by Shawna Suckow, an award-winning motivational speaker. She presented on new ideas to improve the effectiveness of marketing. She emphasized a more personal, human approach to marketing. In the end, people trust people much more than they trust organizations. To reach potential customers, marketing needs to come from real, potentially imperfect people. By reaching out as a human being, instead of a faceless organization, we have greater chance to make a lasting connection. She emphasized that we need to “Get them to notice, then care, then they remember you.”
After a very successful meeting, members are looking forward to the LPA Annual meeting to be held in Scottsdale, AZ on October 1-4, 2022.