Our most visible event is the annual OSDA Advocacy Day. This year, over 100 beverage industry ambassadors briefed legislators on pertinent industry facts and issues. Although scheduling appointments with individual legislative offices is staff intensive, we believe it maximizes member time in Columbus. These conversations are important, visible first steps in establishing and maintaining relationships with the Ohio General Assembly.
Many participants take a day off work, drive 3+ hours to the Statehouse and invest significant time preparing for their visits. In exchange, we want to give our members as many appointments as they can do in a day. Every year, our members amaze me with their poise, energy and enthusiasm for the day.
When fierce competitors like Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper Snapple put aside their “partisan” differences for a day, their collective presence resonates throughout Capital Square. From the fun beverage gift bags to substantive legislative discussions, many elected officials and staff members look forward to the day and renewing acquaintances. When legislative offices have questions or request facility tours, OSDA moves quickly to follow up.
My favorite part of the day is seeing many of our members who work in the trenches whom I don’t normally see during the year or outside facility tours. They never fail to impress me with their industry knowledge, passion for their jobs and customers and amazing people skills.
Finally, I can’t say “thank you” enough to our members who made the time to join us, the legislators who graciously meet with our folks every year, the hard working legislative staff who juggle multiple meetings, our team at OSDA for keeping the schedule and keeping it fun, and to our OSDA Board whose leadership ensures that we have all of the resources we need for a successful day.