Recognizing Generational Leadership - Alex Millar

Get to know the next generation of district leaders

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
By: Randy Kish

For more information, please contact Randy Kish

Alex Millar, District Chair, PMA Cleveland

Sales Manager, Lapham-Hickey Steel 

Alex started his leadership path through the PMA Cleveland District back in 2017, when Doug Tisch asked him to volunteer as a member-at-large to help out with the suppliers nights and other district events. 

This was the easiest sale Doug ever made,” jokes Alex. “I’m a believer that the better we can network, the better we can see the industry 20 years from now. And the districts are where you get to create that value as a network, upstream and downstream (service center) in the supply chain. So, I told him I’m in.” 

Next generation as a priority

Two years later, the Cleveland District started a succession plan to replace tenured officers with next generation leaders. Alex was voted unanimously to take over as District Chair. Since then, the motivation to invigorate the district with young leadership has only grown.

Here, Alex shares his ideas about engaging the next generation in PMA district activities: 

“The pandemic put a pause on our efforts, but we are back to adapting our programming to how younger generations engage and receive information. Things are different, time is at an even greater premium, and you need activities that reflect a more diverse workforce. A good example of a successful activity that many districts have tried is a Top Golf Social Night. You don’t need to be a golfer to have a good time and the venue is built for socializing.” 

"We need to make things hybrid..."

When it comes to presentations and roundtables, Alex cuts to the chase that learning needs to be hybrid, with in-person and virtual components, and content needs to be accessible on demand. "I think it’s great that with the remodel of the PMA HQ, the new training center is equipped with A/V technology where we can produce hybrid events. Presentations have to be interactive."  

"I could see a “Next Generation” series viewing party, where pre-recorded webinars can be broadcast during a social activity. This would be a way to get like-minded younger people together in a relaxed and more interactive setting, listening and talking about a topic, but also involved in a social activity."

Peer mentoring programs and a pathway

Another hurdle to overcome is that Millennials are the largest workforce, but they need the older generation to teach them. We do need to be setting up peer and mentor programs, and a pathway for understanding the industry and promoting it. I believe that repurposing PMA’s METALFORM EDU online training platform can help in this effort. We (Cleveland District) have used this resource for our own continuous learning, have given away licenses at different events, and taken part in some of the basic courses to get familiar with industry terminology, technologies and practices. It is a great resource for continuing education and something that younger people in our industry would appreciate having as a structured way to reinforce their career development.” 

Alex and the Cleveland District officers invite you to join them at their Suppliers Night on April 28—an ideal event for networking and seeing what’s new in the industry!