2019 IOPFDA Small Business Advocacy Fly-In Recap

On March 26—27, 2019 the Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association (IOPFDA) converged on Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of the industry's needs. They met with Senators and Congressional Representatives to discuss issues of concern as leading business operators in their district. Many had great success and were able to network with other IOPFDA members during the event. Click here to read the follow-up article posted in the April issue of Independent Dealer magazine.

Here's what some of our attendees had to say:

Shelli Adair — TSRC Inc. dba Frank Parsons: "The IOPFDA Small Business Advocacy Fly-In is a worthwhile event. The caliber of the speakers and the information that was shared is invaluable. With all the information and material provided, I felt well prepared to take our small business concerns to The Hill."

Gordon Thrall — Guernsey Office Products: "Industry veteran, and current NOPA President, Mike Tucker, has the organization focused on advocacy and education with a clear vision of how it can best serve its members. Now more than ever, NOPA is a critical affiliation for all in the IDC with business interests impacted by the legislative process. It's a must membership."

Debbie Aron — EZ Print Supplies: "This Fly-In was extremely relevant to current concerns in our Industry and it is great to be able to have a voice and be heard. Also appreciate being able to ask questions directly to GSA on important topics and changes such as the topic to consolidate all schedules into one. Thank you, THANK YOU for being invited to this opportunity. It was a privilege to be part of this and it was even FUN! The city Bus tour was a very nice and appropriate touch."

Click here to view the full 2019 Small Business Advocacy Fly-In Survey!

2018 IOPFDA Small Business Advocacy Fly-In Recap

NOPA Storms Capitol Hill!

Last week [May 15-16, 2018] NOPA dealers from across the country stormed Capitol Hill in support of GSA’s new online marketplace.  NOPA originally opposed this concept because it was clearly written for and by Amazon.  However, due to NOPA’s efforts and others, significant changes were made to this bill, which has moved us to the cautiously optimistic category.  This led to NOPA hitting Capitol Hill with a simple message.  We think the new online marketplace potentially offers our industry tremendous opportunities, if and only if an industry task force is created to work hand-in-hand with GSA on ensuring this marketplace keeps pace with the rapid changes in technology, product offerings, pricing, how resellers go to market, the needs of the government buyer, and costs.  

NOPA does not want to see the same problems and challenges that Federal Strategic Sourcing has encountered.  These problems nearly tore our industry apart.  In an effort to avoid these pitfalls, NOPA is asking that Congress include language in its FY’19 National Defense Reauthorization (NDAA) bill a provision establishing an industry task force that would work with GSA to ensure the marketplace is a success for all involved. 

Over the course of two days NOPA met with members of the House of Representatives and United States Senate in an effort to educate them on the industry, our interest in the new marketplace, and the need to make sure small businesses have a voice and seat at the table.  NOPA members met with over 90 offices and the results were very positive.  So positive that we left the fly-in with bi-partisan efforts by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), a longtime industry supporter and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a staunch small business advocate, agreeing to offer an amendment to the FY’19 NDAA bill, which calls for the creation of an industry task force.  

We also were able to work with Home Depot on getting a second amendment submitted for consideration, which say’s that if you are selected to be a platform provider under the new marketplace, then you cannot sell any of your own products on it.  You must be an independent platform provider.  This is important because NOPA has a solution that it is offering the government, which does fit this criteria. Best of all, it meets all the buying requirements of the federal government – Amazon cannot make that claim, nor are they will to adhere to the current federal requirements. 

Independent dealers had there week in Washington and they made the most of it.  We had our voices heard and with a continued effort by NOPA lobbying team and our grassroots army, we will continue to push this issue forward.  With your help we can and will ensure our industry has a permanent seat at the table when it comes to current and future decisions on how this marketplace operates.  That is the power of this annual event and the power of your voice. 

Be part of the effort and join NOPA’s grassroots efforts.  This issue is not just for those selling to the federal government.  Everything we are doing in Washington will trickle down to the state and local level, where you are already feeling the squeeze of Amazon.  We can compete with them.  We can do everything they do.  We just need to band together and speak together and that is exactly what NOPA members did during last week’s fly-in.

 2017 Small Business Advocacy Fly-in Recap

Representatives from both the National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) and the Office Furniture Dealers Alliance (OFDA) converged on Washington, D.C. last week where they advocated strong messages to the nation's lawmakers on issues ranging from tax reform, needed healthcare changes and much more. Next year, the organization hopes that this year's successes will result in even more participants in the 2018 Small Business Advocacy Fly-in.

The fly-in was comprised of an afternoon briefing session on Tuesday during which independent dealers were updated on current issues impacting the industry and small business, in general. The session was led by Paul Miller, the association's director of legislative affairs, and offered key insights into how lawmakers are currently eyeing key issues, such as tax and healthcare reform, and GSA-related initiatives.

For the past 18-years, NOPA has had a strong voice and presence on Capitol Hill, but what we saw this year during our fly-in was so different in terms of energy and excitement. NOPA discussed prior to its Capitol Hill visits whether to present Congress with a laundry list of items impacting our businesses and industry, or focus on two that could have the most immediate impact. We chose two issues that we knew would have an immediate impact on our businesses and which were the focus. This year we focused on two core issues in our meetings:

1. Healthcare reform

2. Tax reform

It’s not that the other priorities for NOPA aren’t important, it’s just we wanted our messages to resonate and coming in with a huge laundry list will dilute any success we hoped to achieve for this event and our agenda. NOPA continues to work toward full repeal of the Obama Administration’s overtime wage provisions, not because we oppose increasing wages, but this increase would triple the current rate, which would have had a devastating impact on small businesses and their ability to grow in a global economy. We continue to push for regulatory reform.

These are just a few of the priorities NOPA continues to talk about and is excited about with a Republican controlled Congress and White House. NOPA isn’t a partisan organization, nor does it advocate that way. NOPA continues to work in a bi-partisan manner because for us and our members, running a small business isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. We support members of Congress who are willing to work with us and support small business in their communities grow and thrive. With your help, support, and vision, we will continue to be a strong voice for independent dealers using our annual fly-in as one key way to be heard. You are ready to join us in this fight!

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